Culzean, Maidens & Turnberry

To the south of Dunure is Culzean Castle, the jewel in the crown of the National Trust for Scotland, where there is another opportunity to access the shore. Blue and white agates have been found sparsely along the shoreline at Culzean. Two miles further south, Maidens is a small town on the coast in the southern reaches of the Firth of Clyde and possessed a harbour, a few small shops and one of the best restaurants in Scotland down near the harbour called Wildings.

The agate-bearing andesitic lavas outcrop around Culzean Castle and from Maidens harbour to about a mile south of the village beyond the lighthouse and adjacent to the world-class Trump Turnberry golf course. Although it is possible to walk the whole length of the shore from the north to the southern end of the lava at low tide this can be a rocky scramble across rough terrain in places, bisected by volcanic dykes and pitted by large precipitous and sharp edged holes caused by uneven erosion of the lavas.

Culzean Castle from the air in 2010 Maidens looking from the south in 2010

Although many of the agates in this stretch of coast are similar to those found at Dunure, Maidens also produces some very specific beautiful and complex multicoloured vein and moss agate, completely unlike the Dunure examples. The lava flows in which these occur seem to be particularly hard and unyielding to the chisel. Although the agate-bearing rocks end immediately south of the Turnberry lighthouse, agates can be found in the shingle deposits as far as Girvan, five miles further south and also in some offshore rocks and shoals.

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