Cock of Arran

The northern tip of the Isle of Arran is called the ‘Cock of Arran‘.

Just to the east of the promontory is a sandstone large boulder that is supposed to resemble a cockerel. Or it did until someone knocked its head off.

When that happened is lost in history. It was certainly history in 1932 when a visitor failed to find it, describing it as “nebulous1The Cock Of Arran | Port-Glasgow Express | Friday 30 September 1932 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0002706/19320930/063/0004 [Accessed 4 May 2022]..

Nowadays, opinion is divided as to whether the Cock refers to the rock or the headland. In my view the rock, even as a headless bird, is but an insignificant boulder. More likely the headland is more pronouced as a navigational feature for sailors.

Support of this comes from the 31 August 1793 edition of the Caledonian Mercury which, in its report of a new lighthouse opening on Cumbrae Island, gives the bearing from the Cock of Arran along with several other locations2New Lighthouse on Cumbrae Island | Caledonian Mercury | Saturday 31 August 1793 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000045/17930831/005/0001 [Accessed 4 May 2022]..

But what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Ruins associated with 18th-century production of salt from sea water.

Just east of the Cock, are ruins where salt was manufactured intermittently between 1710 and 1735. The location was chosen because a seam of poor quality coal outcrops here, which was quickly exhausted3Canmore.org.uk. (2022). Arran, Cock Of Arran | Canmore. [online] Available at: https://canmore.org.uk/site/39803/arran-cock-of-arran [Accessed 4 May 2022]..

Cock Farm, abandoned in 1912.

About 90m above the shore lies the ruins of Cock Farm4Canmore.org.uk. (2022). Arran, Cock | Canmore. [online] Available at: https://canmore.org.uk/site/275068/arran-cock [Accessed 4 May 2022].. There is not much level ground yet around about is evidence of rig and furrow field system and down on the shore are lazy beds.

For the children of Cock Farm, they had a daily walk of three miles to school in Lochranza over the 263m pass Bearradh Tom a’ Muidhe — except in winter when a teacher stayed with them5A Walk Through Lochranza’s History. (n.d.). [online] Available at: http://www.arran-campsite.com/images/Files/History_Walks.pdf [Accessed 4 May 2022]..

Cock Farm was the birth place of the grand-father of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, in 18136Scran. (2019). Scran Web Site. [online] Available at: https://www.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-000-114-616-C [Accessed 4 May 2022].7Paul (2022). 15 April: Sannox to Lochranza via the Cock of Arran. [online] Blogspot.com. Available at: http://earlyooters.blogspot.com/2015/04/15-april-sannoz-to-lochranza-via-cock.html [Accessed 4 May 2022]..

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