Ailsa Craig
and
curling stones

Ailsa Craig, c. 1700 From A Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides, MDCCLXII, by Thomas Pennant. For the first half of the 20th century practically all curling stones were made from granite from Ailsa Craig, a rock off the Ayrshire coast near Girvan. Quarrymen won the stone during the summer months, living in camps on the rock. The roughly shaped stones were then shipped to the harbour at Girvan and transported to curling stone works in Ayrshire; mainly at Mauchline. There the stones were shaped into perfectly standard and matched pairs for use throughout the world.

By the 1950s the granite from Ailsa Craig was exhibiting a persistent fault which resulted in much higher amounts of wastage. A new source of stone was discovered at Trefor in North Wales and this supplies most of the curling stones now being made. Quarryman on Ailsa Craig, 1961 Blocks were shipped to the harbour at Girvan in this form.

Making curling stones, Mauchline, c. 1975 Turning the block on a stone cutting lathe Geological Note

Curling stones are NOT strictly granite
Ailsa Craig stone is granophyre, and Trefor stone is granite porphyry; made of a fine grained ground mass in which the large felspars, consisting of orthoclase and plagioclase feldspar lie, often intergrown with quartz.

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