For a small island there is a surprising variety to see…
For a small island of just over 10.5 miles in diameter, the Isle of Great Cumbrae offers a surprising variety of options for the visitor. Situated in the estuary of the Firth of Clyde it offers a commanding view across the waters to the Island of Arran. Every vessel entering or departing the Clyde must pass through this channel and during WWll, the ‘Hush Hush’ on the west side of the island was the centre for a ‘listening post’ which monitored the passage of ships and in particular kept a watch for enemy submarines. With their base at Faslane, further up the Clyde, nuclear submarines may be seen regularly taking this passage to and from the Atlantic. Cruise ships are now regular visitors to the port of Greenock and can be clearly seen from the island.
For those with a historical interest, the Standing Stones provide a link to the early history of the island, but even older are the rocks that form the base of the island itself and these date back some 350 to 400 million years. The Cathedral of the Isles (take the road to the right of The Garrison) was initially opened in 1891 and is reputed to be the smallest cathedral in the UK, if not in Europe. A visit is highly recommended and the attached accommodation building offers B&B accommodation throughout the year and musical events take place in the Cathedral during the summer months.
Garrison House, Millport. The recently refurbished Garrison House building houses an excellent library and coffee shop. The latter, opening out in to the Garrison courtyard offers both indoor and outdoor eating and provides a ‘dog friendly’ facility. The building also incorporates a new museum and is and ideal way of learning about the island’s past. Another museum well worth a visit is at the Marine Resarch Station situated just at the start of the town, coming from the ferry. It incorporates a fascinating aquarium and museum.
You might not have noticed it but the island has its very own railway – well in model form at least. Situated just to the west of Garrison House it can be found in two wooden buildings which contain a facinating rail network along with detailed models of many of Millport’s main buildings. It is a must see for railway enthusiasts of all ages . Click here for more details.