Holy Island

An island in Lamlash Bay off the east coast of Arran, Holy Island has an area of 263 ha (625 acres) and rises to 314m (1030 feet) at Mullach Mor. It provides shelter to the bay which is one of this country's finest naval anchorages. The island is associated with the 6th-century Irish missionary St. Mo Las who occupied a cave on the west shore near a spring known as St. Mo Las' Well. This cave contains runic and early Christian inscriptions. Its population fell to 7 (1961), 10 (1971) and by 1981 was uninhabited. Formerly owned by the Duke of Hamilton, the island was purchased in 1991 by Scottish Buddhists of the Samye Ling Tibetan Centre and dedicated to world peace, inter-faith spirituality and ecological sustainability. A permanent population was re-established and its population recorded as 13 (2001) and 31 (2011). There are two lighthouses on the island; the Inner and Outer established in 1877 and 1905 respectively. Native plants, trees and shrubs have been introduced to the island, which is a designated nature reserve, and there are flocks of Soay sheep and feral goats.

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