Own the Craig

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IT’S CARRICK’s most recognisable landmark - and it’s up for sale!

Ailsa Craig, ten miles off the coast of Girvan and currently owned by the 8th Marquees of Ailsa, is being sold for a staggering £2.5 million by specialist agents Knight Frank and Vladi Private Islands.

And the Gazette understands that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds are already in discussions to purchase the nature reserve.

It’s home to the one of the world’s largest colonies of gannets, guillemots, herring gulls, razorbills, kittiwake and puffins and it’s already on the Knight Frank website which describes it as a “unique Scottish landmark”.

The website states: “An iconic island lying in the outer Firth of Clyde, 10 miles off the shore. Home to the world’s best known curling stone quarry. Annual rental of £26,000. One attractive cottage and three former cottages. In all about 219.69 acres.

“Ailsa Craig was formed from a volcanic plug from a long extinct volcano believed to be over 500 million years old. It is an archetypal island mountain; a symmetrical cone of primitive rock thrusting from the sea 10 miles west of the south Ayrshire coastline and a symbol of great natural grandeur.

“It extends to about two miles in circumference and rises to an elevation of over 1,100 feet above sea level.

Ailsa Craig is known particularly for two main assets. Firstly, it is the breeding ground for one of the largest colonies of gannets in the world and secondly it contains a most important ‘blue hone’ granite quarry, known the world over as the source of granite for curling stones.

The lighthouse was built from 1883-6 by Thomas Stevenson and there is a small cottage at the foot of the cliff on the east side and a ruined castle.

Ailsa Craig is for sale for the first time in many generations.

With Ayrshire’s world class golf courses at Turnberry and Troon a magnet for golfers worldwide, Ailsa Craig is also burned intio the retinas of those sportsmen. It is visible from the second green at Turnberry.

Arguably, Ailsa Craig’s liveliest period in history was the 16th century during the Scottish Reformation when Philip of Spain tried to take it – leading to the building of the defensive castle – and the island became a sanctuary for Roman Catholics.

Ailsa Craig has the Stevenson lighthouse, a ruined castle and four cottages. It has not been inhabited since 1990.