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1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

ARRAN, an island, in the county of Bute; comprising the parishes of Kilbride and Kilmory, and containing 6241 inhabitants. This island, called Glotta Astuarium by the Romans, is situated in the Firth of Clyde, between the coast of Ayrshire, which is on the east, distant about thirteen miles, and Cantyre, in Argyllshire, lying to the west, and distant about six miles. It is of an oval form, indented by bays, and extending thirty miles in length, and fifteen in its greatest breadth. The surface throughout is rugged and mountainous, and intersected with mossy glens, whence streams, flowing from the heights, make their course to the sea. Arran is highly interesting to the geologist, on account of its presenting, within a narrow space, an epitome of the whole geological structure of Scotland; while its pathless glens and picturesque hills commend it equally to visiters in general. There are several safe and commodious harbours, of which that of Lamlash, on the east side, will afford good anchorage to several hundred vessels; and the Cock of Arran, on the northern extremity, is a well-known landmark. The higher parts of the island are rocky and sterile, and generally covered with fern and heath; but in the valleys, and in the vicinity of the lakes, which are five in number, the soil is moderately fertile, though not well cultivated. Coal and limestone are said to exist; freestone, ironstone, and marble are abundant, and jasper has been found on Goat-Fell, a hill above 3000 feet in height. There are several cairns, some remains of Druidical edifices, ruins of ancient fortresses, and some natural caves remarkable for their great extent; and various places exhibit marks of volcanic fire. Arran is the property of the Duke of Hamilton, and gives the title of Earl to his grace. See Kilbride, and Kilmory.