Photography

Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig, West coast of Scotland in Spring

By Robert K Wilson

“On a beautiful clear day, this little cloud formed perfectly above Ailsa Craig and stayed there for almost 3 hours changing shape all the time.”

I have taken many photographs of Ailsa Craig. It has become a bit of an obsession over the years. This shot is something quite a bit different because of the cloud above it. Ailsa Craig quite often creates its own cloud system but this is rather disturbing and the cloud appears to be full of malevolent energy. Most unusually it formed and stayed, changing shape over a period of three hours. Had I known it would hang around a time-lapse film would have been good. Many people have commented that they can see the faces of humans and dogs in the cloud.

Behind the Craig, to the right, you can see the bottom of the Isle of Arran. To the left is the Mull of Kintyre and the space is the entrance to Campbeltown Loch.

Set in the Firth of Clyde, Ailsa Craig is a Scottish island around 10 miles (16 km) off the coast of South Ayrshire and historically nicknamed “Paddy’s Milestone” for its location halfway between Glasgow and Belfast. About 0.75 miles (1.2 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide, Ailsa Craig rises to a height of 338 meters (1,109 feet). The name is thought to derive from Gaelic words meaning “Fairy Rock.”

The island is a volcanic plug, all that remains of the igneous rock formed over an extinct volcano from the Palaeogene period, active about 500 million years ago. This igneous core is made up of a rare micro-granite found in three colours, Ailsa Craig Common Green Granite, Blue Hone Granite and Red Hone Granite; and for over 150 years has been used to make curling stones. In recent years, over 60% of all curling stones have been made of granite from the island, and Ailsa Craig granite stones have been used for every single competition at the Olympic Winter Games.

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