From the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, the island was quarried for its rare type of granite, known as "Ailsite" which was used to make curling stones. The floor of the Chapel of the Thistle in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh is also made of this rock.
Ailsa Craig is now uninhabited, the lighthouse having been automated in 1990. The quarry is still operated from time to time, but there are no resident workers. The island is now a bird sanctuary managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) . Huge numbers of gannets nest here and following a pioneering technique to eradicate the island's imported population of rats a growing number of puffins are choosing to return to the Craig from nearby Glunimore and Sheep Islands.
The only way to reach Ailsa Craig is by boat.
Although there is a narrow gauge railway line once used by the miners, there are no actual trains on the island, so the only way to get around is by walking.
Bring everything you want to eat with you, as there are no catering facilities on the island.
Plans have been mooted to convert the former miners cottages into luxury holiday accommodation, but this has been opposed by conservation groups, so at the moment there is nowhere to sleep on the island.
Boats that operate trips to the island are generally open, or only partly covered, so it's important to take warm, windproof, waterproof clothing, at any time of year. The island is surrounded by steep cliffs, so care should be exercised at all times.