The Isle of Arran lies in the Firth of Clyde between the Ayrshire coast and the Kintyre Peninsula. The island is approximately 20 miles long and 10 miles wide. The main road, the A841, circumnavigates the island close to the coast. A round island trip is about 60 miles. There are two cross island routes by the String and Ross roads. The island has a resident population of about 5,000.
Regularly referred to as “Scotland in miniature” because of the varied landscapes and seascapes the main economy is tourism which attracts more than half a million visitors each year. The northern terrain of the island is mountainous with spectacular ridges. Goatfellis the highest peak at 2,866 feet. The southern part of the island has rolling hills and meadows. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream create a mild oceanic climate with the result that snow seldom falls and lies at sea level. Rainfall is higher in the northern part and in the mountains. May and June tend to be the sunniest months.
Brodick, where Little Wellingtonia cottage is situated, is a great base for exploring the whole island. From Ardrossan the ferry arrives in Brodick where there are tourist facilities, a variety of shops , places to eat and a large Co-operative supermarket.
Historic Brodick Castle lies just north of the village. The castle, with its gardens, country park, cafe and shop are a major tourist attraction. On the way to the castle you pass the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum and Home Farm where you will find Arran Aromatics and the Arran Cheese shop. The Arran Brewery is at Cladach which is also the location for an outdoor sports shop, leather goods and a pottery. All of these places of interest are within easy walking distance, approximately 1 mile, from Little Wellingtonia and the start of the Goatfell path at Cladach. The distillery at Lochranza is also a popular tourist attraction and those interested in history should visit the standing stones and stone circles near Machrie. The Balmichael Visitor Centre, with various tourist attractions, is on the String road near Shiskine.
Walking is seen as the main activity for visitors the island being a magnet for hill walkers and coastal low level walkers alike. There is an abundance of high and low level walks including the Arran Coastal Way. Walking books are readily available on the island.
The island is well known for its many golf courses which can be found at Blackwaterfoot, Brodick, Corrie, Lamlash, Lochranza, Machrie and Whiting Bay.
There is plenty of wildlife to look out for. Over 200 species of bird have been recorded on Arran including golden eagles. Red deer can regularly be seen on the northern hills. There are red squirrels (there are no grey ones), badgers, otters, seals, dolphins and basking sharks.
The Auchrannie Hotel and Leisure Centre is located on the outskirts of Brodick and houses a public swimming pool and a gymnasium as well as three restaurants. Adjacent to this complex is the Arran Adventure Company where one can book guided outdoor activities such as kayaking and gorge walking. Mountain bikes can also be hired.
Other activities include fishing and sailing.