Curling stone island Ailsa Craig available to buy for £1.5 million
Saturday, 08 February 2014
February 8 - The island that has produced the curling stones for competition at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is available to buy with an asking price of £1.5 million ($2.4 million/€1.8 million).
Ailsa Craig is an uninhabited island which lies around 10 miles (16 kilometres) off the Scottish Coast in the Firth of Clyde and is owned by Scottish peer Archibald Angus Charles Kennedy, the 8th Marquess of Ailsa.
The Marquess originally put the island up for sale in May 2011 reportedly due to the escalating costs of its upkeep with an asking price of £2.5 million ($4.08 million/€3 million).
However, a lack of serious offers has led to £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) being knocked off the sale price.
The island has a two mile (3.2km) circumference and rises more than 1,100 feet (300 metres) above sea level, and is home to one of the largest gannet colonies in the world, with about 36,000 breeding pairs.
Ailsa Craig is also famous as the source of the majority of the world's curling stones which are hewn from common green granite, red hone granite and the special blue hone micro-granite used for the bottom running layer of quality curling stones.
Specialist stone manufacturers, Kays of Scotland, have an exclusive lease to harvest granite from the island for the next nine years.
The company extracted 2,500 tons in 2013, some of which was used to produce the Sochi 2014 stones.
"It's the only island to have won a gold medal in the Olympic Games," said Farhad Vladi, a spokesman for the property agent involved in the sale process.
"Anybody can purchase the island.
"Any interested party is free to make an offer but I know that the owner is very selective."
Vladi added that any decision to issue permits to continue harvesting precious granite for the stones would be the prerogative of whoever buys the island.
A spokesman for Kays of Scotland revealed that the company has enough granite from the island to fulfill orders for the next 12 years and suggested that the firm would be interested in taking up a renewal option with the new owner until 2050.