Posted in Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures

The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond – a wee Scottish break: Part Two

The view from Ayr

Thanks to two previous holidays – one with the school and another with my family, both times at a Butlins Holiday Camp – I tend to associate Ayr with seaside fun. But because of the Covid restrictions only recently lifting, there felt a sense of shops, cafes and restaurants in the town centre just starting to reopen again. A sense of emerging from a spell of hibernation.

Ayr is not just about sea, sand and shops though. There’s a lot of history here too. The Scottish Bard Rabbie Burns was born in nearby Alloway in the 1700s. And the story of Ayr itself stretches back to 1197, when the Scottish king, King William the Lion, demanded a new castle should be built between the Rivers Ayr and Doon. Eight years later in 1205, the same king established Ayr as a royal burgh and market town.

Ayr

There were a lot of curious heritage signs which illustrated Ayr’s long history. One such noted the oldest house in Ayr, an early town house, tucked away off a side street. It was called Loudoun Hall and dated from the 1500s. A plaque said Mary Queen of Scots stayed here in the 1560s.

Loudoun Hall
Loudoun Hall history
Loudoun Hall
The oldest pub in Ayr

Unlike Loudoun Hall, the thatched-roofed Tam O’Shanter Inn is situated prominently on the High Street. It’s the oldest pub in Ayr, dating from 1749, and could well have been frequented by Rabbie Burns himself. (One of his poems is actually called Tam O’Shanter, was his eponymous character drinking here?)

An old passageway takes the visitor from the main street to the 1650s Auld Kirk (parish church). Before one enters the churchyard, there is a lychgate with iron grave-covers. A sign explains that these were to deter body snatchers which were common in the 1800s. Why would anyone want to steal bodies of all things? Well, these grave robbers wanted to sell them to medical schools. More grisly horror than Butlins fun but fascinating to discover.

There’s a lot more to see in Ayr, we only had a quick preview over a couple of hours, but we still managed to fit in a wander along the wide esplanade, enjoying the scenic sea views. After all, this is why tourists come to Ayr in the first place.

Ayr

Our next stop was a little seaside town called Troon, famous for its golf course. We didn’t have loads of time so the choice was explore or have a bite to eat. But it was lunchtime and our stomachs won the battle – it was time for food. We ate at the popular Swan Restaurant where we had a very reasonably priced lunch and dessert. The potato soup was nice but a little too spicy for me personally. The apple pie was scrumptious. Mum was rather startled to see the rather large size of her trifle dessert! My stomach was pleased but I will have to venture back to Troon to explore the town in more detail.

Loch Lomond was the highlight of our short break and the next day we would have the full day to discover Luss and Balloch, situated on the shores.

To be continued…

Author:

Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is https://mysabbatical2014.wordpress.com/ and the other, more recent one, is - https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/ ☺️

7 thoughts on “The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond – a wee Scottish break: Part Two

  1. Enjoyed this, Claire. I am from Ayr and also know Troon well. Alloway is also really worth a visit on your next trip- lots of Rabbie Burns related stuff there. Your blog makes me want to pay a visit to my brother. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Helen, I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 It’s a lovely part of the world, I definitely want to go back. I remember visiting Rabbie Burns’ cottage when I was at school, so a long time ago. I can’t remember it very much so it’s time for another visit! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds very enjoyable Clare. Once again I love the quaint shops, etc. – last time it was the blacksmith’s shop and this time the Tam O’Shanter pub. I like the masonry at Loudoun Hall and how they had the miniature Loudoun Hall at the plaque memorializing Mary Queen of Scots’ visit. Very nice. I will await the next installment.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve mentioned Andy the U.K. photographer to you in the past. He likes to visit and write about the history of old buildings – our buildings over here are not so well built with character as you have there, be it castles or inns or just shops/taverns. It’s like that saying goes: “if only these walls could talk, the stories they’d tell.”

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s