Approaching Ailsa Craig Gulls spying a meal from a fishing boat by the island This page continues Picture Posting's amble down the west coast of Scotland with a visit to Ailsa Craig. This 240 acres island rises to just over 1,100 feet (338m) and is conspicuous from all directions around where the Firth of Clyde's waters meet those of the North Channel. Thus it appears as a pivot between the Mull of Kintyre, Arran, the Ayrshire coast and Northern Ireland, sticking sharply up out of the sea. Now uninhabited apart from its lighthouse, and a large gannet colony, it boasts a tower house and some small holiday cottages. The whole was for sale for many years, but with no takers. Its geological interest is considerable as it is formed of magma that converted to a specially hard granite leaving it standing while all around the rocks were eroded away. Holiday cottages are the only houses, above them on the hill is the old tower house The lighthouse is not part of the suggested £1.5 million
sale price for the island
The tower house was built in the late 1500s
Looking down from beside the tower at the lighthouse
The tower was built to deter Spanish invasion but then used by a number of catholic families fleeing...
...persecution by the militant protestant forces of the time. Later it became a prison
The Lighthouse looks out across towards the Ayrshire coast some 9 miles distant
The view towards the north, and Arran, with Holy Island just peeping over its southern tip, is not that different...
...from the view to the south looking up Loch Ryan which lies next to the Rhinns of Galloway
The basalt columns on the southwest...
... of the island form perfect sites for...
...Britain's third largest gannet colony
No doubt the primary reason the RSPB leases the island...
Below the cliffs guillemots swim (with one razorbill)
...is this population of the birds. The RSPB estimate that there are upwards of 70,000 gannets on the island.
The scale of these large sea bird colonies is always exhilarating - and each individual gannet
is itself magnificent
Pebble beaches does seem a strange name for these two foot boulders. Compare these with a similar form...
A yacht lazes a little way out - fortunately - as the photographer got left behind and this boat picked him up!
...but where it is hard to judge their size. In fact this is on the hillside and they are hundreds of feet in length
Evening light casts those undulations into protrusions on the dome that is Ailsa Craig
The next Picture Posting page
takes you across Britain to the Farne Islands, off Northumberland's coast.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Music and Metaphor'.
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