Thursday, 23 May 2013

GREAT CUMBRAE



Great Cumbrae is an island which is accessible by ferry from Largs.  The island offers a variety of outdoor activities and a range of wildlife including eagles, polecats, seals, basking sharks and dolphins.  The island's main settlement is Millport, a resort set on a lovely bay.  The town's main claim to fame is that it is home to Britain's smallest cathedral, known as the Cathedral of the Isles, designed by the Gothic Revival architect William Butterfield and completed in 1851.  The miniature theme continues in Stuart Street with a building called The Wedge, which at a mere 47 inches wide has the narrowest street frontage in Britain.  The Garrison House in Millport houses the Museum of the Cumbraes, with fascinating displays of the history of the island through the ages, from coffins found on the island dating back 4,000 years, to smuggling tales from the 18th century and descriptions of life on the island during World War II.  The building itself has a smuggling connection, in that it once housed the crew of an anti-smuggling Revenue sailing ship, the Royal George.  The Robertson Museumand Aquarium showcases the island's marine life and local habitats.  Close to Millport is the National CentreCumbrae, Scotland's premier watersports centre, which offers powerboating, kayaking and windsurfing. About half a mile south of Great Cumbrae is its little brother, Little Cumbrae or the Wee Cumbrae as it is known locally, which itself has a little brother called Castle Island on which a ruined 16th century castle stands.  Little Cumbrae has two lighthouses, the older of which was the second lighthouse to be built in Scotland, dating from 1757.  The "new" lighthouse was built in 1793 by Thomas Smith and Robert Stevenson.

Map of the island 

File:Millportbay.jpg

©
  2007 Johh McLeish, via Wikimedia Commons

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