3 Stop ND Grad used to hold in the setting sun.
Ailsa Craig (Scottish Gaelic: Creag Ealasaid) is an island in the outer Firth of Clyde, Scotland where granite was quarried to make curling stones. "Ailsa" is pronounced "ale-sa", with the first syllable stressed.
The island is located approximately 16 km (10 miles) west of Girvan. 2 miles in circumference and rising to 338 metres, the island consists entirely of a volcanic plug of an extinct volcano that might have been active about 500 million years ago.. It belongs to the administrative district of South Ayrshire, in the ancient parish of Dailly.
There is a lighthouse on the east coast facing the mainland and a ruined keep of uncertain origins perched on the hillside above.
Ailsa Craig is a volcanic rock that rises 1,114 feet (340 m) from the middle of the Firth of Clyde, readily visible from the Turnberry golf resort. With the Ayrshire town of Girvan being only ten miles east of the Craig, some local boat owners offer trips around the rock.
Ailsa Craig was a haven for Roman Catholics during the Scottish Reformation. In 1597 the Catholic supporter, Hugh Barclay of Ladyland, took possession of Ailsa Craig, which he was intent on using as a provisioning and stopping off point for a Spanish invasion which would re-establish the Catholic faith in Scotland. He was discovered by the Protestant minister Andrew Knox and upon being discovered he either tried to escape or deliberately drowned himself in the sea off Ailsa Craig.
In 1831, the twelfth earl of Cassillis became first Marquess of Ailsa, taking the title from the Craig, which was his property.
From the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, the island was quarried for its rare type of micro-granite with riebeckite (known as "Ailsite") which was used to make curling stones. The floor of the Chapel of the Thistle in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh is also made of this rock.
Ailsa Craig is now uninhabited, the lighthouse having been automated in 1990 and the quarry long since disused. The island is now a bird sanctuary. Huge numbers of gannets nest here and following a pioneering technique to eradicate the island's imported population of rats a growing number of puffins are choosing to return to the Craig from nearby Glunimore and Sheep Islands.
The name of the island is an anglicisation of the Gaelic, Aillse Creag, or Creag Ealasaid, Elizabeth's rock. However as a result of being the most conspicuous landmark in the channel between Ireland and Scotland the island features in a number of early Celtic texts and is known by a number of different names;
A' Chreag: "the rock"
Creag Alasdair: "Alasdair's rock"
Ealasaid a' Chuain: "Elizabeth of the ocean"
Carraig Alasdair: Also "Alasdair's Rock", used in the Madness of Sweeney
The name Elizabeth is actually a corruption of Elspeth, and refers to Elspeth McCrudden, daughter of Alexander "Sawney" Bean who planted The Hairy Tree in the Ayrshire town of Girvan (which is visible from Ailsa Craig). Local legend holds that Elspeth tried (unsuccessfully) to swim to Ailsa Craig to escape the mob who later hanged her from The Hairy Tree.
The island is sometimes known as Paddy's Milestone, being approximately the halfway point of the sea journey from Belfast to Glasgow, a traditional route of emigration for many Irish labourers coming to Scotland to seek work.
The Bass Rock is sometimes nicknamed "the Ailsa Craig of the East", but its prominence in the Firth of Forth is not as great as that of Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde.