AILSA CRAIG, an island rock at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde.
You can see the brief outline of the Craig from as far away as Largs and as you drive through Ayrshire it changes shape and size , but its not until you arrive at Girvan that you really marvel at this lump of volcanic plug.
From Girvan the craig is only 10 miles offshore,and indeed Girvan has claimed it self to be the home of Ailsa Craig,at the moment a visitor centre is being built in Girvan were you will be able to watch the sea birds via cameras on the island itself.
In the summer of 1818, John Keats and a friend named Brown undertook a pedestrian tour through Scotland. They travelled along the Ayrshire coast from Ballantrae northwards, Ailsa Rock being constantly in their view.
At the King's Arms Inn in Girvan, Keats wrote his fine sonnet on Ailsa Craig.
Hearken, thou craggy ocean-pyramid!
Give answer from thy voice-the sea-fowls' screams!
When were thy shoulders mantled in huge streams?
When from the sun was thy broad forehead hid?
flow long is 't since the Mighty Power bid
Thee heave from airy sleep, from fathom dreams?
Sleep in the lap of thunder, or sunbeams,
Or when grey clouds are thy cold coverlid?
Thou answerest not, for thou art dead asleep!
Thy life is but two dead eternities-
The last in air, the former in the deep-
First with the whales, last in the eagle-skies,
Drowned wert thou till an earthquake made thee steep;
Another cannot wake thy giant size.
As well as being famous for its puffins and other sea birds ,its probably more famous throughout the world for its rock, which is made into some of the best quality curling stones in the world. The stones are popularly known as "Ailsas" or "Ailsa Craigs."