Year 13 Geography students travelled to Arran in Scotland to collect data for their independent investigations, as part of their A level study. After a long journey, the students were happy to be welcomed to the Kinloch Hotel before the hard work of collecting the all-important data began.

Students investigated the impact of Brexit and the pandemic on the tourist sector on Arran, how the island has been shaped by glaciation, how the island is protecting its marine ecosystems and explored evidence of tectonic activity across “Scotland in Miniature”. 

Students had the opportunity to interview Sheila Gilmore from the local business improvement group ‘Visit Arran’ on the role of tourism to the island’s economy and the issues this brings. Sheila highlighted the community spirit that exists on the island and nearly tempted some of the group to relocate to Arran!

This visit saw our first ever trip to COAST Discovery Centre in Lamlash where students discovered how the Marine Protection Area and the No Take Zone have transformed Arran’s marine ecosystems. The group were particularly interested in learning about Blue Carbon from Jenny who had just returned from COP26!

The group explored the history of Brodick Castle and discovered career opportunities that exist in the Historic and Heritage buildings sector whilst finding out how the pandemic and Brexit have had an impact on the castle’s operations.

The group enjoyed the opportunity to visit the new Lagg Distillery to investigate the changing nature of the whiskey business on the island and how geography influenced the location for the distilleries. 

Students also attempted to find a precious ruby along Glen Sannox as they explored how the area was changed by volcanic activity, despite the lack of daylight!

By far the highlight of the trip was planting 101 trees, including the rare Arran Whitebeam, in Glen Rosa with the Arran Ranger Service. Despite the weather their spirits were not dampened as they made a small but mighty contribution to combating the climate crisis.