Who was Iain Johnston, much-loved businessman who turned around the tourism fortunes of a top island resort in the Firth of Clyde?

1 It is the Glasgow holidaymaker’s go-to luxury resort on costa del Clyde, and the man behind it has a fascinating story going all the way back to his Knightswood and Shawlands roots. As a very young child, Iain Johnston and his family survived an incredibly near miss during World War II, when a German bomb landed around 200 metres away from their tenement flat.


2 Iain was born in 1933, and left Shawlands Academy at the age of 15 to work for the Union Bank of Scotland in Mount Florida for £100 a year. According to his obituary in our sister title The Herald, Iain completed two years of national service in the RAF, stationed at Dyce near Aberdeen, and went on to work for Customs and Excise around the UK.

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3 His weekends were spent on his beloved Arran, where his family had been holidaying since he was a child. After turning down promotion after promotion, because they involved relocating to London, Iain left Customs and Excise and moved to the island in 1978, where he helped to run the post office and shop.

Glasgow Times: Iain Johnston

4 In the mid-80s, the small, relatively unknown Auchrannie Hotel came on the market, and Iain decided to take it on, in partnership with his wife Linda, and Ronnie Mann. Linda was the local PE teacher and like Iain, was determined to provide indoor sport facilities for the island. The couple’s drive and determination transformed Auchrannie into a hugely successful and popular resort, which is now community owned and home to two four star hotels 30 five-star self-catering luxury lodges, 14 retreats, three restaurants, a shop, two leisure clubs with pools, a destination spa and an outdoor adventure centre.

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5 Iain was instrumental in forming the Arran Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He received an MBE for services to tourism in 2011. Sadly, he died in 2015, aged 82.