In the Herald - April 8th - Ailsa Craig

Date Published 
Sun 12 Apr 2020

The Club's in the local paper again this week. Many thanks to all the photographers, Clive Watkins and The Irvine Herald.....(click on images below to view full screen)

It’s the time of year when Irvine Camera Club would usually be about to embark on a spring & summer programme of field trips around the South West of Scotland.  After months of dark evenings being confined to our club rooms at Townend Community Centre in Dreghorn, our keen photographers would be itching to get out to put into practice all of the advice given to them over the winter by judges and guest speakers.  As we all know, that just is not possible this year.  So, despite the lighter evenings and the clement weather, we find ourselves limited to our gardens and short walks for our daily exercise.  I would still encourage everyone to take their cameras with them because, even by adhering to social distancing, photographic opportunities still abound.   In the weeks to come I hope to feature some of our members photographs taken during the lockdown just to show you what is possible and what a creative lot they all are.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to look back to almost a year ago when a group of us chartered a small boat and headed across the sea from Girvan to Ailsa Craig.  It’s perhaps the best-known Ayrshire landmark, punctuating the horizon between the south tip of Arran and the heads of Ayr.  “Paddy’s Mile Stone” is such a well-known sight that sure many of us take it for granted and don’t give it a second thought.  Relatively few folk ever make the trip over.  For photographers it offers a host of wildlife, wild cliffs and desolate shores.  It is also rich with history.  Most notably it was a source of curling stones and much of the mining paraphernalia is still present on the island.  It has a magnificent Thomas Stevenson lighthouse which is now fully automated but once was manned.  The lighthouse keeper’s cottages lie derelict but with some of the worker’s belongings still left as they were when they finished their final shift.

We visited in May as the seabird breeding season was in full swing and as we approach the island the sky was filled with squawking gannets.  The site of these handsome birds sweeping back their wings and diving into the water at tremendous speed is something to behold.  Puffins, oystercatchers and cormorants also nest and breed here in abundance.  As we explored the lighthouse and derelict buildings we noticed seals sunning themselves on the pebbly beach.  We only had a couple of hours on the deserted island but it was a fascinating place to visit and it certainly inspired some creative photography from the club members who made the trip.   I can safely say that Ailsa Craig will definitely be on our agenda for a return visit next year.

All being well we will be starting the 2020/2021 season in September but until then we will be operating online with regular activities and even some virtual meetings!  

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Clive is not only a creative photographer, but he is also creative in his writing. Perhaps it's not surprising to learn that people who are creative in one area are almost certainly creative in others. We are fortunate to have Clive in the club.

I'm sure I can speak for all members and express a big thank you for helping us through these unusual times. Not to be too negative  - but I think we are in this for a long trip. Hopefully with sensible social distancing we will enjoy periods together at various times over the coming months.

Well done Clive, as ever a great advert for the Club also it was a most enjoyable and informative outing.