Ailsa Craig

Ayrshire Walking Goat Fell Isle of Arran
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Where: Ailsa Craig
When: 20 June 2010
Who: Irene, Dotty, Robin, Fraser, Charlene and the rest of the North Ayrshire crew.
Why: Organised walk
Weather: Sunny Total ascent: 1,110 ft (338 m) Total time: 2hrs (not including boat trip).

Irene had contacted me a few weeks before to see if I would be interested in coming along to visit Ailsa Craig as there was room on the boat for another two. Having seen Ailsa Craig from the summit of Beinn Narnain, I done a bit of research and thought why not, something a bit different from the usual well-trodden Munros. It was an early start, to get through to Girvan for 9:15am to meet the others for the boat leaving at 9.30am.

We arrived at the harbour car park early and the first views I noticed were obviously Ailsa Craig and Arran.

Girvan Harbour:

Girvan Harbour

We met the others, and got introduced to everyone before walking round to board our vessel and head over to Ailsa Craig.

Ailsa Crag from Firth of Clyde

We were all pre-warned to wear waterproofs as there would be spray… Charlene was the only person to heed the warning. Right enough the sea was a tad choppy and we all got soaked, and mostly me being at the front. Lol. It took an hour and twenty minutes to cross the ten miles of sea before we finally reached the jetty, much to Dotty’s delight.

The skipper spoke with Irene to confirm we had three hours on the island. This would give us plenty time to reach the summit and a quick explore before heading back for mainland.

The jetty and the boat, M.F.V. Glorious:

Aisla Craig Jetty

The path climbs diagonally up directly behind the lighthouse and gains height pretty quickly:

Aisla Craig path to top

You then reach the castle:

Ailsa Craig Castle

A view back to the lighthouse:

Ailsa Craig Lighthouse

Didn't take too long to reach the summit, the views over to Arran were fantastic:

View from Ailsa Craig to Arran

Back over towards mainland:

View from Ailsa Craig to Scotland

Summit trig point, guarded by nettles:

Ailsa Craig Summit

Charlene and I:

Aisla Craig Summit Climbers

Everyone else, minus me as I was taking the piccy:

Ailsa Craig Summit tour party

We all took in the views had a bite to eat but with our time constraints on the island we didn't hang about too long so set off to head back down. We got back down fairly quickly so had around 40 minutes to explore the lighthouse grounds, the old living quarters are now derelict with some interesting items kicking about:

Ailsa Craig Lighthose front

It was nearly 2pm, so it was waterproofs on and ready for our tour around the island to see the bird colonies:

Aisla Craig Tour Boat

and away we go…

Aisla Craig from Tour Boat

Heading round the island:

Ailsa Craig Cliffs

The boat slowed down almost to a halt, when all of a sudden someone shouted ‘seals, seals’. It was a mad panic searching my bag as the boat rocked awkwardly from side to side, I finally got the bigger lens on and got snap happy, hoping some photos would come out… and some did

Ailsa Craig Seals

The rock formation with roosting sea birds:

Ailsa Crag Birds nesting

I think it is here, where they quarry for the granite to make curling stones:

Ailsa Craig Granite Mines

We had now circled round the whole island so it was time to head back to mainland:

Ailsa Craig Close Up

Bye bye Ailsa Craig:

Ailsa Craig from Tour Boat on return

The sea was a lot calmer coming back so some of us managed to get a wee sleep on the boat as we all looked shattered from a great day out.

We got back to Girvan, where a couple libations were on offer but both Charlene and myself decided to head home as we had the longest journey back.

What a fantastic trip out to Ailsa Craig, I would recommend it! A boat trip, hillwalk and wildlife spotting rolled into one day.

Cheers Robin

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