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Tour Ayr and Kilmarnock

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Robert Burns
Robert Burns

Brig O'Doon Alloway

Crossraguel Abbey

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Old Annbank

Auchenharvie Colliery

Old Auchinleck

Old Ayr

Old Beith

Old Catrine

Old Cumnock

Old Dalry

Old Darvel

Old Girvan

Old Kilbirnie

Old Kilmaurs

Old Kilwinning

Old Muirkirk

Old Newmilns

Old South Ayrshire Villages

Old Stevenston

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Wheels Around Ayrshire

Ayrshire Mining

Ayrshire Steam

Ayrshire Lost Railways

Clyde Coast
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William Murdock

Tour Ayr and Kilmarnock

The Gulf Stream's warm currents bring the blessings of a mild climate to the Ayrshire coast, with its holiday resorts dotted among rocky coves and sandy beaches. Inland are lofty hills cut by rivers flowing through wooded valleys. Here, too, are ruined strongholds, reminders of old feuds, and the landscapes, towns and villages that inspired Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns.


Robert Burns born in thatched cottage 1759. Some original furniture. Museum has manuscripts, letters. Close by are Auld Brig 0' Doon and Alloway Kirk, mentioned in ballad Tam O'Shanter, and Burns Monument. The Land o' Burns Centre depicts his life and times. Tour Alloway.

Town of stone houses planned by Earl of Eglinton in 1805 round sandy South Bay. Terminus for Arran shipping services. Old Ardrossan.

Main west coast resort with sandy beaches. Two bridges the 13th century Auld Brig and New Bridge of 1788, span River Ayr. Dominated by 1828 Town Buildings, with octagonal turret and 126ft steeple. Burns mementos in Tam O' Shanter Museum. Ayr Hotels. Ayr Remembered. Holy Trinity Church, Fullarton Street, Ayr. Dedicated 1888 and built to a design by J. L. Pearson, architect who later designed Truro Cathedral. Very fine stained glass windows and a pulpit of Caen stone. Ayr Castle.

Ballantrae Parish Church. Main Street, Ballantrae, South Ayrshire, Scotland. Built 1819. Memorial to Lord Ballantrae. Regency pulpit. Nephew of Robert Burns was Minister, 1826-30. Kennedy tomb beside church.

Bargany Gardens
Azaleas and rhododendrons surround lily pond in woodland setting. Fine trees, rock garden and walled garden. Picnic area.

Craigie Castle
Stonework of 13th century former Lindsay seat features Gothic ceiling and barrel-vaulted cellar.

Crossraguel Abbey
Ruins of 1244 Cluniac house. Turreted gatehouse, abbot's tower and dovecote are of the 15th century. Crossraguel Abbey.

Once prosperous handloom weaving centre beside Water of Girvan. Single-storey cottages line main street.

Culzean Castle
Cliff-top mansion designed by Robert Adam in 18th century for 10th Earl of Cassillis. Lavishly furnished. Oval staircase and round drawing room overlooking Firth of Clyde. Park contains terraced gardens, woodland walks.

Cumbrae Islands
On Great Cumbrae, reached by ferry from Largs, is Millport resort with Cathedral of the Isles, Scotland's smallest. Museum and aquarium. Little Cumbrae has lighthouse and ruined castle. Old Cumbrae.

Dalgarven Mill
Water mill housing Ayrshire Museum of Countryside and Costume. Farm machinery, tools, photographs; local costumes.

Dalquharran Castle
Set in the Girvan valley and much ruined is the little-known castle of Dalquharran. It was built in the 16th Century in the heart of the Kennedy country and is one of a group of five castles including Killochan, Bargany, Penkhill and Kilkerran.

Former ironworks, now open-air museum. Rows of miners' cottages. Industrial railway centre with locomotives and rolling stock. Visitor centre inside the old weaver's cottage. Old Dalmellington.

Dundonald Castle. The hill of Dundonald not only dominates the surrounding countryside near Troon in South Ayrshire but offers distant views as far as Ben Ledi and Ben Lomond over 40 miles away to the north. Seawards, it looks out across the Firth of Clyde to Arran and beyond to Kintyre and the Paps of Jura.

Tiny yachting harbour lined with fishermen's cottages. Overlooked by mined castle where in 1570 4th Earl of Cassillis roasted abbot of Crossraguel alive to make him hand over abbey lands. Dunure Castle.

Built 1790s on A-shaped plan by 10th Earl of Eglinton. Streets of weavers' cottages enclose park called the Orry beside river.

Eglinton Country Park
Large park round former Eglinton Montgomery estate. Natural history displays in visitor centre.

Monument where Burns is said to have parted from Mary Campbell, his 'Highland Mary', after exchanging vows. She died the following autumn.

Hunterston nuclear power station nearby has video displays. Iron ore complex. Boatyard where Sir Thomas Lipton built racing yachts in l890s. Waterfalls, gardens, nature trails and adventure course at Kelburn Country Centre. Old Fairlie.

Red-sandstone buildings include Barr Castle and tower. Church of St Sophia built 1886, in two-coloured brick imitating Haghia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Old Galston.

Greenbank Garden
Sixteen acres of walled garden, woodland and picnic area.

Heads of Ayr
Cliffs topped with grazing land. Ruined 16th-century Greenan Castle. Inland, picnic areas on Brown Carrick Hill look out to Arran, Ailsa Craig, Kintyre and Firth of Clyde.

Miles of beaches. Water sports. Harbourside display of historic vessels. Museum on harbour traces shipbuilding history. The Autobiography of John Galt. Old Irvine.

Vitrified Iron Age fort on rocky ridge overlooking Girvan valley.

Robert Burns monument in Kay Park houses first edition of his famous poems. Dick Institute has collection of Scottish broadswords. Restored Dean Castle has arms and armour, musical instruments and country  park. Guided tours of the Johnnie Walker whisky-bottling plant. Kilmarnock Memories.

Yachting centre. Long esplanade and stony beach. Monument to 1263 defeat of Norse fleet. Hill walk to Douglas Park offers panorama over sea and mountains. Italian-baroque Skelmorlie Aisle erected 1636 as mausoleum for Sir Robert Montgomerie. Old Largs.

Loch Doon Castle, originally known as Balliol Castle, was built after 1275 on a small island in the middle of the loch. Its unusual eleven sided outline stems from the fact that its curtain wall simply followed the shape of the islet, near Dalmelliington, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Colour washed houses of early 19th century. Cask and barrel-making industry. Sailing and canoeing on loch in Castle Semple country park. Nature reserve. Castle Semple Collegiate Church.

Museum in house where Burns and wife, Jean Armour, set up home has displays of granite curling stones made locally. Poosie Nansie's tavern was the setting for The Jolly Beggars. Old Mauchline. Mauchline Epitaph. Mauchline Parish Church, London Street, Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland. Present church, dating from 1829, stands on site of St Michael's Church founded in 13th century. Associations with Covenanters and Robert Burns, many of whose contemporaries are buried here.

Restored 17th century Maybole Castle was town house of Kennedy family. Earls of Cassillis buried in 14th-century church, now in ruins. Old Maybole. Maybole Collegiate Church. The roofless ruin of a fifteenth century church, built for a small college established here in 1373 by the Kennedies of Dunure. The remains include a rich door in a revived First Pointed style, and an Easter Sepulchre which is also an imitation of early work.

Muirshiel Country Park
Nature trails in broad leaved woodland, also conifers and rhododendrons. Waterfall and moorland view from Windy Hill.

Hamlet on Farland Head with ruined 15th century castle and vitrified Iron Age fort.

Promenade runs round curve of Ayr Bay. First Open golf championship played here 1860. Mercat Cross is 13th century, ruined Church of St Nicholas 12th century. Robert Bruce said to have taken waters of Bruce's Well to relieve skin disease. Old Prestwick. Prestwick Golf Breaks.

Rozelle House
Georgian mansion in 96 acre park. Woodlands, sculptured gardens, nature trails, wildfowl pond. Local history displays.

Rowallan Castle. This house is a fine specimen of a superior Scottish mansion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is distinguished architecturally by two imposing round towers with conical roofs which flank the entrance at first floor level. The outer entrance to the castle forecourt is through a fine sculptured doorway in the Renaissance style. The castle has a very pleasant situation in a well-timbered park on the banks of the Carmel stream. Located three miles north of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire Scotland.

Seaside resort. Good fishing. Sea wall built 1686. Harbour contains fossilised trees seen at low tide. Museum in 18th-century church. Old Saltcoats.

Village laid out 1770 on Ayr banks. Castle with 15th-century tower. Sorn Parish Church, Main Street, Sorn, was built in 1656 and much reconstructed in 1826. Outside stairs to three galleries. Jougs on the west wall. East wall memorial to George Wood, last Covenanter to die in 1688. Sorn Gravedigger.

Former weaving and mining village. Robert Burns founded Bachelors' Club debating society, now museum with relics of poet. Old Tarbolton. Tarbolton Epitaph.

Turreted red-sandstone Victorian buildings look across Ayr Bay. Five golf courses. Sandy beach, marina and harbour. Old Troon. Troon Golf Breaks.

Silver sands backed by dunes run for 1 miles. Two golf courses. Robert Bruce said to have been born at Turnberry Castle. Turnberry Golf Breaks.

If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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