Ailsa Craig

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A volcanic plug over 1000 feet high and 10 miles to the west of Girvan, in mid channel of the Firth of Clyde. Once famous for it's granite used in the manufacture of curling stones, it is now noted for it's sea bird life.

Ailsa Crag taken from Girvan Harbour

Ailsa Craig related web sites
Ailsa Craig


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Located just to the south of Ayr this is the birth place of the Bard, Robert Burns. Also near by is the Auld Kirk and the Brig of Doon, both of which feature in the poem 'Tam O Shanter'. There is also a Burns Monument which looks over the Brig, and the Burns Visitor Center has just be re-opened.


Burns Cottage and Burns Monument

Burns Cottage on morning of 21 July 1996, decorated with thousands of flowers to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Robert Burns


Burns Monument from the Brig o' Doon and the Brig O'Doon from the new bridge


The Auld Kirk at Alloway


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Originally a mining community in two parts, Annbank is located in attractive countryside among diary farms and near the River Ayr where, at Enterkine Estate, there is a Wild life Reserve. The second part of the community was Mossblown


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A well known deep water harbour with full port facilities, the town has extensive views over the Firth of Clyde, particularly fine towards the island of Arran.

A car ferry operates to Brodick on Arran.

There are extensive beaches to the north and south of the town, which attracts many visitors.

Ardrossan South Beach, looking towards the town centre with the Isle of Arran in the background.

The origin of the name of the town is from two words ard meaning height and rossan a small rocky promontory.
Prior to the 18th century, the location comprised of only a few houses along the side of the old highway.

During the 18 and 19 centuries the town developed rapidly.

One of the early industries around Ardrossan was smuggling. The Castlecraigs, a ridge of basalt rock, provided safe shelter for the landing of the illegal cargoes of brandy and rum.

William Wallace featured here when he managed to distract the english occupants of the Castle by setting fire to a near by dwelling house. This enabled min to capture the castle and slay the occupants.

The castle was largely destroyed in the 1650's, allegedly by some of Oliver Cromwells men. They pulled the walls down and the stones were transported to Ayr to build the fort there.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the 12th Earl of Eglington proposed a seaport be built at Ardrossan plus a canal to connect the town with Glasgow. Thomas Telford was commissioned to survey Ardrossan Bay, in 1805 an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the work and on 31 June 1806, the foundation stone was laid.
The harbour was not completed until 1864. Work on the canal was eventually abandoned because of the competition from the railways, although part of the canal workings were used for the rail link for the Glasgow and South Western Railway.

In 1834, steamer services to the Isle of Arran started, in 1884 a service to Belfast was started and in 1892, the Isle of Man was added as a destination. Cargo exports were mainly coal and iron ore from the local mines and iron works with destinations of America, France and Mediterranean ports as well as Belfast, Dublin and Liverpool.

By 1886, the harbour could not cope with the use age it was having and the Ardrossan Harbour Company was formed and in April 1892 the Eglington Dock was opened. The new dock was well equipment with hosts and cranes for moving cargo. A 1320 feet breakwater was also built at the same time.

In 1846 Ardrossan became a Burgh of Barony.

In 1853 the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald was published by Arthur Guthrie. The paper still goes strong today, albeit under new ownership.

Shipbuilding was vital to the growth and prosperity of Ardrossan. By the second quarter of the 1800's there were numerous small yards in the town. On occasions Ardrossan launched what were some of the largest wooden ships built in Scotland at the time. As business boomed, large companies such as the Ardrossan Dry Dock & Shipbuilding were formed. But by the 1950's the competition from foreign yards led to a decline in the towns shipbuilding industry.

However in 1972 William McCrindles opened, but it was short lived and closed again an 1987.

The beginning of the 20th century saw new industries being attracted to the town.Shell Mex opened an oil refinery, there was a foundry, a gas works and a chemical company.

At one time the town had five railway stations, today only South Beach, Town and Harbour remain.

The Isle of Arran Ferry, "The Caledonian Isles" at Ardrossan Harbour.

In 1974, Ardrossan was integrated into Cunninghame District Council and the massive Strathclyde Regional Council, and in 1986 with demise of the Scottish Regions & District Councils, control passed on to a new body, North Ayrshire Council.

Ardrossan related web sites

St Andrews Church, Ardrossan


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A small crossroads hamlet on the Irvine-Barrhead road some 6 miles north of Irvine.


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A College Community some 2 miles from Ayr on the Mauchline road, based on the 18th Century Auchincruive mansion house, it has now grown to a large complex of buildings in which the practical sides of farming are taught at the West of Scotland Agricultural College.


Some of the Buildings of Auchincruive College


Oswald's Temple and the Oswald Hall Conference Centre, located at Auchincruive.

Near by is Oswald Brig, named after the local landowner, who lived in the Auchencruive mansion.


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Originally a mining community, Auchinleck also was the home to a kitwear industry and the famous "Curries" mineral waters of yesteryear.


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A view of the harbour looking towards the steeple of the town hall

Ayr Harbour from New Bridge looking towards the harbour mouth and the new housing complex.

The old County Town and now the centre of the new local authority South Ayrshire. The harbour has its own fishing fleet but the fish market, which used to attract lots of foreign vessels, has moved to Troon. This is partially because of proposed building development in the vicinity of the harbour.

Ayr has a first class race course and is the home of the Scottish Grand National which takes place every spring. Ayr United, formed in 1910, is the local football Team and there is a rugby and cricket club in the town. The town also has a swimming pool, an ice rink and three golf courses as well as river and park walks.

The Sandgate

The shopping area, the High Street, was recently pedestrianised - a change which saw a drop of business initially, but the trade has now returned, but not before some local businesses had to close their doors.

The High Street and Wallace Tower

The town has strong links with Robert Burns who was born in the now adjoining village of Alloway. The Poem 'Tam O Shanter' was based on a boozy night in Ayr and depicts a story of Tam being chased by the gouls on his way home.

Burns Statue Square and the statue of the Bard

Building of interest include the Auld Brig of Ayr, the 300 year old Auld Kirk and the fragments of Cromwell's Citadel.

Loudoun Hall is one of the oldest houses in Ayr and one of the few from the 15th Century in any Scottish burgh. The house which comprised of a garden chamber, bake house and brew house was important in the civic life and history of Ayr.
Earliest records show the house was owned by a local ship owning family, the Taits, who later sold the property to the Campbells of Loudoun. Many important decisions were made, documents signed and justice dispersed by the Campbells as sheriffs of the area. Later the property was sold to the Moore family, all three families providing Provosts and Members of Parliament for the area.

Wellington Square and the County Buildings

The recorded history of the town goes back to 1197 when William the Lion order a wooden castle built between the mouths of the River Ayr and Doon. In 1205 the settlement beside the castle was granted a Royal Charter and the Royal Burgh of Ayr came into being.

The old Fishmarket in the High Street.

In 1263 the town was threatened by the Vikings and in 1296 was occupied by the English. This resulted in William Wallace taking action by setting site to the barns around town in 1297. Barnweil Monument, near Craigie is where Wallace stood and watched The Barns o'Ayr burn weil. A year later Robert the Bruce razed the castle to the ground to prevent it failing into the enemies hands.

The 15th century saw many changes in the town - many of the wooden houses were replaced by more substantial buildings and the olden wooden bridge across the River Ayr was replaced with a stone one - The Auld Brig of Ayr.

By 1600 the population had grown to some 2000 living in 400 houses. The south side of the harbour was greatly changed in 1652 when Cromwell built a huge fort or Citadel. Some of the stones used for the fort came from Ardrossan Castle which Cromwell had knocked down in 1650.

The next 100 years saw little progress within the burgh. In the late 18th Century, new links were forged with Glasgow with the introduction of mail and stage coaches, and a further 100 years saw the introduction of the railway.

Ayr was now expanding rapidly with commercial and industrial businesses being established and with the easy of travel to Glasgow, many elegant houses were built.

At the end of the 19th century the council set up it's own electricity generating company and in 1901 the opened a Tramway System which continued to run until Hogmany of 1931.

Author : -Bob McIntyre

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