Ailsa Craig, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

This evening, I am focusing on Ailsa Craig, an ancient volcanic plug which sits in the Firth of Clyde (S.W.Scotland) about nine miles west of the town of Girvan on the Ayrshire coast.

Ailsa Craig viewed from Ayrshire Coast

The name Ailsa Craig translates from Gaelic into English as ‘Fairy Rock’.

More information:

  • Uninhabited and covers an area of two hundred and twenty acres, is two miles circumference and one hundred and ten feet high.
  • Formed from the plug of a Paleogene volcano, between 66 million and  23 million years ago.
  • Now effectively a bird sanctuary and home to colonies of gannets and puffins.
  • Historically, the island is best known as a source material for curling stones. There are reports that Ailsa Craig’s very smooth blue hone granite is used in 70 pct. of the world’s curling stones.
  • Kays of Mauchline have the sole lease to remove the only known source of the following three  granites: Ailsa Craig Common Green Granite, Ailsa Craig Blue Hone Granite and Ailsa Craig Red Hone Granite in the world. Extraction of between 1600 tons of Ailsa Craig Common Green granite and 400 tons of Ailsa Craig Blue Hone granite is an operation that takes place as required.The granite is transported to the mainland by boat to be stored and subsequently transformed into finished curling stones.

Curling on Lake of Menteith, Scotland

  • A mecca for bird watchers and naturalists. There are boat trips from Girvan. The paddle steamer, Waverley sometimes includes Ailsa Craig in its itinerary.
  • A good subject for photographers who can capture the island in the ever-changing light conditions. Sometimes the island disappears completely when shrouded in mist. Joke: ‘If you can see Ailsa Craig it’s going to rain, if you can’t see Ailsa Craig it is raining!’.

Ailsa Craig viewed from Isle of Arran

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