Isle of Arran
The Isle of Arran is a little more cultivated, and tamed in general appearance, than other agate-bearing islands of the Inner Hebrides. However, its mountainous heart remains steadfastly wild. Its easy accessibility from Ardrossan probably accounts for that apparent docility, at least on the surface, however it is undoubtedly a beautiful place. Despite what I have just noted too, certain coastal localities are not easily explored, particularly the area south of Lamlash, and so here too, surprises can be found.
I don't pretend to have any profound knowledge of Arran at all, as I have visited but once. I do have my appreciation intact however. It has been noted elsewhere that supplies of easily accessible agates have been exhausted, presumably by local collectors. However, few photographs of such specimens exist. This is a sad fact.
I did not have a bountiful trip, although several small and largely colourful specimens were eventually procured, yet again, the coveted Clyde Coast Agatized Coral (known locally for many years as "Red Coral") eluded me.
As you might expect, fortification agates are the most common type of agate found here. Onyx or water-level banded specimens also occur, as well as agates of the stalactitic variety. Colours tend to appear frequently, and blue-greys, pinks, oranges, reds browns and their intermediate shades are all to be seen in stones from this area. More uniquely, and visible in certain specimens below, are shades of blue-green or turquoise, sometimes trending into bottle-green and usually seen in conjunction with the usual grey colouration.
Of course, weathered sections of Clyde Agatized Coral can be anything up to (or beyond?) 20cm in diameter. Agates here tend to be under 4cm, and rarely larger.
I would like to thank Steven Pierotti for sharing his knowledge of this area, and for his very fine photographs of 3 of the pieces below.
If anyone reading this is in possession of any fine Arran agates, I would be very happy to see them, so please get in touch.