Activities Scotland

Between A Rock And A Campervan: A Trip To Ailsa Craig

In this case I was faced with two equally desirable alternatives as opposed to the undesirable kind, explore in the camper or leave it behind and head to the rock in the Firth of Clyde. On this occasion the rock won! A day trip to the island of Ailsa Craig nestled halfway between Scotland and Northern Ireland did not disappoint.

Read on the for information on things to see and do, how to get there and the best place to camp in your camper van when visiting Ailsa Craig.

 

Ailsa Craig - view from the east
Ailsa Craig – view from the east

Ailsa Craig is a tiny island ten miles west of the small town of Girvan in Ayrshire, Scotland. Famous for being quarried for a rare type of micro-granite, which is used to make stones for the sport of curling.

Things To See And Do On Ailsa Craig

You’ll disembark the boat on to a small jetty and immediately you will be able to establish the location of all the main features of the island.

Arriving at Ailsa Craig
Arriving at Ailsa Craig

The lighthouse is less than a 200 metre walk from the jetty. It was automated in 1990 and benefited from a refurbishment in 2001.

The lighthouse at Ailsa Craig
The lighthouse at Ailsa Craig

Walk to the castle on Ailsa Craig
Walk to the castle on Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Castle can be accessed via a very steep and narrow footpath. Built in the late 1500s to protect the island from King Philip II of Spain. It’s well worth the hike up for the views as much as to see the castle. Although a ruin it is possible to go inside and have a look round the three storey structure.

If you’re feeling super energetic you can continue your walk to the summit of Alisa Craig which is 340 metres above sea level.

16th Century Castle at Ailsa Craig
16th Century Castle at Ailsa Craig

 

 

Railway line and abandoned buildings
Railway line and abandoned buildings

There are various old buildings still standing which can all be explored. The remains of the old railway tracks are still visible, these were used to take supplies to the lighthouse and to transport stone from the quarries.

Abandoned buildings on Ailsa Craig
Abandoned buildings on Ailsa Craig

The quarries at Ailsa Craig are best viewed from the boat as are the thousands of birds that nest on the island including gannets and puffins!

Ailsa Craig Quarry
Ailsa Craig Quarry
Quarry at Ailsa Craig
Quarry at Ailsa Craig

 

How To Get To Ailsa Craig

The only tourist route to the island is via a boat from Girvan.

A friendly local guy called Mark runs daily boat trips to the island from Girvan harbour on his boat ‘Glorious’. It takes just over an hour, Mark then gives you two hours to explore the island by foot before collecting you. He then takes you on a sight seeing trip around the beautiful island before setting off back to Girvan.

Ailsa Craig Boat 'Glorious'
Ailsa Craig Boat ‘Glorious’

The price is £35.00 per person and he can take twelve people per trip plus dogs.

Mark can be contacted on: 07773794358 or 01465713219

Check out his website at: www.ailsacraig.org.uk

Where To Stay The Night In Your Campervan Near Girvan

Camping near Girvan
Camping near Girvan

Ainslie carpark is one and a half miles from Girvan Harbour so perfect for an overnight stopover. However, the A77 can be a little noisy. It’s a functional place to stay rather than a spectacular remote location. The views of Ailsa Craig are fabulous.

 

Aisla Craig at sunset from Scotland
Ailsa Craig at sunset from Scotland

Check out my blog from travelling around Dumfries and Galloway:

Forget The NC500, Head To Scotlands Forgotten Corner For Camper Van Solitude

 

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