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Even as a native Scot,
I find the island of Arran utterly breathtaking.
It's hard to believe that all this rugged magnificence
is a stone's throw from the urban sprawl of Glasgow.
Over two million people live across the Firth of Clyde from Arran,
just a 55-minute ferry ride away.
For an isolated island it's very well connected.
That's the sort of contrast that Arran takes in its stride,
with its dramatic variety of landscapes.
Jagged peaks tower above peaceful shores.
Apparently Arran owes its mountainous landscape to the time when, 60 million years ago,
two vast continents that had been stuck together started to drift apart.
And Scotland was right on the fault line.
The continent that would become America and Greenland went one way,
Europe went the other,
and in between the Earth's crust was stretched to breaking point.
That created volcanoes.
And it's molten rock that shaped Arran's spectacular mountains.
The upshot of all this wild geology is that Arran's become a very popular place to be -
and not just for tourists.
Arran has the feel of a wild island refuge.
With Glasgow only 30 miles away as the crow flies,
is it any wonder that many mainland folk
want to make it their own bolt-hole from the rat race?
'Fiona Laing, who's giving me a lift down Arran's west coast,
'couldn't resist the island's pull.
'She uprooted here 13 years ago.
'Like many coasters, she juggles umpteen jobs,
'from fire-fighting to farm help. And she delivers the newspapers.
'Fiona's learned that people might come to Arran for peace and quiet,
'but they like to do it on their own terms.'
-Is that you?
-That's me finished.
So what's this with the newspapers? I thought island life was about getting away from all of that.
By and large it is, but there's a strange obsession.
I've heard of people that wouldn't come to live here
cos they don't get their newspaper till after 11 o'clock in the winter,
and that stops them coming.
I guess getting away from it all is different for everyone,
but some things you just have to get used to.
It's an island, and every now and then it's truly an island, because there is no communication by boat.
That's it. You're stuck here. You get on with it, and I like that.
I like to know the weather's still in control sometimes.
And what are the qualities that make the perfect islander?
Impervious to rain and wind?
It's not always like this.
Most of the time! No, not always like this.
You just have to relax and accept things the way they happen,
and don't be so headstrong about doing things.
And, because it's a small community
everybody interacts a bit more with each other.
So maybe that's the quality that makes it a wee bit special?
Yeah. A different kind of person, a special kind of person, lives here.
I'd be foolish to think of life here as idyllic.
Making a living and coping with the weather, it's no piece of cake.
And yet Arran reminds me of what I love about the coast from here down to England.
It feels as remote and wild as anywhere in Scotland.