Little Cumbrae

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Little Cumbrae (Scottish Gaelic: Cumaradh Beag) is an island in the Firth of Clyde, in North Ayrshire, Scotland. The island is known locally as Wee Cumbrae.



Cumbrae (and its Gaelic equivalent Cumaradh), the common element of both Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae shares the same root as Cymry ("Britons"). It is a reference to the old Brythonic inhabitants of Strathclyde.[1]

The name Cumbrae may derive from Cymri or Kymry meaning 'fellow countrymen' or from Kil Maura meaning 'cell or church of a female saint'.[5]

Little Cumbrae was recorded as Kumbrey circa 1300, Cumbraye circa 1330 and Litill Comeray in 1515.[5]


Little Cumbrae lies barely a kilometre to the south of its larger neighbour, Great Cumbrae. The islands are collectively referred to as The Cumbraes. In stark contrast to its neighbour, green and fertile Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae is a rough and rocky island. With its many cliffs and rocky outcrops, Little Cumbrae bears more of a resemblance to a Hebridean island than to some of its neighbours in the Clyde.

A number of uninhabited islets skirt the island's east coast, Castle Isle, the Broad Islands and Trail Isle.

Today the island's main settlement is at Little Cumbrae House on the eastern shore, facing the Scottish mainland.


Robert II is said to have built a castle on the island which was demolished by Cromwell's soldiers in 1653.[6]

Little Cumbrae was privately purchased in 2003 and there were plans for its development as a memorial park, nature reserve and corporate escape, but the island was sold again in July 2009 for £2 million.[7] The buyers of the island, Scottish millionaire couple of Indian extraction, Sarwan and Sunita Poddar, opened there a yoga and meditation centre with the help of yoga guru Swami Baba Ramdev[8][9]. There have also been rumours of the new owners planning to rename it "Peace Island", but those have been denied[10][11].

Little Cumbrae is the birthplace of James Archbald, the first mayor of Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

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