Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

National Trust of Scotland may buy Ailsa Craig with US help

Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig Castle

The National Trust of Scotland could launch a £1.5 million bid to buy Ailsa Craig thanks to the support of wealthy American donors.

An organisation based in Boston is calling on the NTS to acquire the South Ayrshire island to add to the charity's portfolio.

"Ailsa Craig is a world-famous island and it overlooks the jewel
in the crown of the trust's portfolio, Culzean Castle."

In order to facilitate the bid, the backers have reportedly offered to help bankroll the move.

The 220-acre island has been on the market since 2011.The original asking price was set at £2.5m but was recently reduced.

"Ailsa Craig is a world-famous island and it overlooks the jewel in the crown of the trust's portfolio, Culzean Castle."

The island is home to the largest gannet colony in Europe, a 500-year-old castle and a lighthouse. Most of the world's curling stones come from its granite quarry.

Source: The Herald


Not many SCA members will have visited Ailsa Craig Castle due to its remote location but if the NTS are successful it should facilitate access and secure its future.

NEWS Ailsa Craig-old-picture

An Edwardian landing  party pay a vist around 1900

It is a well preserved little 16th century tower house of 3 storeys situated high on a ledge above the sea. The ground floor is vaulted with walls 2.5’ thick. The tower is entered via an outer staircase to a door facing the ocean. The arms of Thomas Hamilton are situated high on the wall and placed there when the castle was repaired around 1580. The remains of a small courtyard are discernible. Water was stored in a tank fed from a source.

In spite of its inaccessible position the tower played a  part in Scottish history due to an unsuccessful attempt to secure Ailsa Craig  in the name of Philip II of Spain.

This ended badly when the leader of the plot was ambushed and fighting to the end tumbled off the rocks and into the sea - true Hollywood style!

Added: 07 Apr 2014 Updated: 05 Dec 2014
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