Good Morning and Welcome to my Atlantic Adventures in Scotland 😊
So today, I'm taking you on one of my walks.....this one, to the beach and beyond!!!
With an extra heavy sweatshirt, running shoes and my snowboarding jacket (there may be no snow here at the moment, but I knew I would soon need the protection of the jacket against the coastal winds!), I was ready to walk.
Stepping onto the sand, smelling the salty air and seeing the Atlantic Ocean from my Scottish homeland again, as you imagine was rather an emotional experience…
I taste the fresh salty air on my lips…
And beach memories from the past wash over me
Picnics and Parties
Swimming and Sunbathing
Midnight strolls….Early Morning Runs
Long Hot Summers,
Longer Cold, Dark Winters
Family Time, Friends Time
My Happy Days, my Sad Days,
My Bright Days and my dark days…
My Atlantic Ocean knows me so well,
My Heart, My Soul, My Atlantic…
After a while my thoughts turned to the Gulf Stream, which passes by us in Hatteras and then winds its way across the Atlantic Ocean and up the West coast of Scotland, to where I'm standing now, (although where the Atlantic curls around the Isle of Arran and hugs the coast of Ayrshire is called the Firth of Clyde – the River Clyde (pictured from the air in my last blog) flows into this area of the Atlantic).
It’s a rather stark contrast to my Hatteras beach, Ayr may have our sandy beaches and dunes in common, but unlike Hatteras where I look out over the ocean with only the sand dunes providing much height to our landscape – on Ayr beach you look out to islands, and are surrounded by hills (the name Ayr can be traced back to a pre-Celtic word meaning "watercourse" or "strong river")
The "Heads of Ayr" in the distance
The Carrick Hills with Greenan Castle in the foreground
Isle of Arran in the distance
The "Heads of Ayr" and the island of Ailsa Craig
Isle of Arran with Holy Isle in the foreground
Thankful for my toasty warm clothing, the cold wind at the beach can be merciless, I chose to walk towards the harbor. Unfortunately, it was cloudy….and on days like these the islands of Arran and Ailsa Craig are shrouded in mist and make them more difficult to see, but I still managed to get some pics.
At this time of year in Scotland daylight is super short and the further north you go, the shorter the window of daylight gets – In Shetland (the most northerly part of Scotland) for example, in December, the sun rises at 9:10am and sets at 3pm, 13 hours shorter than in June, when it rises at 3:40am and sets at 10:30pm.
Along I walked until I reached Ayr harbor and pier. Having been born and lived here for my first 30 years, I wouldn’t even attempt to guess how many I’ve walked along this beach, and whereas the town of Ayr has changed quite significantly, my hometown beach remains pretty much the same….miles and miles of sand.
The Royal Burgh of Ayr was established in 1205 by King William the Lion, and has served as a port ever since. When I was younger, there were no safety railings along the edge of the pier - on one side was the beach, and on the other the deep harbor! I remember being envious of the kids that could stand close to the edge, it was about a 15ft drop to the deep waters of the harbor, and I was super scared of heights, so could never go very close to the edge.
The beach side of Ayr Pier
The Harbor side
After walking the pier and getting some pics, I headed to some of my other old haunts!!! 👻
It amazes me now, that I was surrounded by so much rich history when I was growing up and didn’t ever think about it….in fact, I just assumed that everyone had the same kind of historical places around them.
Here are just a few of places close to the beach where I played when I was younger...and when I was older 😁
St John's tower.....or as we called it "The old fort"
St John's Tower is the surviving bell tower from the Church of St John the Baptist, Ayr's original parish church which was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Ayr. Excavations of the site, carried out by Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (1984-1987), date the church to the late 12th century; however the building is not specifically mentioned in documents until 1233.
A citadel was built on the peninsula west of Ayr by Cromwell's troops between 1652 and 1654. It covered about 16 acres of land and was protected by a wall 10ft broad and 14ft high with six bastions and six curtain walls. It was protected on the north by the river, on the west by the sea, and on the south and east by a moat 50ft wide at the bastions and 90ft wide at the curtain walls. The barracks, which covered most of the ground, provided quarters for 800 foot soldiers and 200 horse soldiers, excluding officers, and there was stabling for about 220 horses
Ayr Pavillion, as seen from the beach
Ayr Pavilion was built in 1911 after plans by architect James Kennedy Hunter. In 1904 a competition was held, asking architects to design a pavilion that could represent Ayr and its position as one of the top holiday resorts on the west coast. An architect by the name of James Hunter Kennedy won the competition and seven years later, in 1911, the Ayr Pavilion as we know it, was built. For many decades it functioned as a theatre, music hall, dance hall, and concert venue among other things. In the 1950s and 60s jazz bands from all over Britain entertained the dancers.
In 1974 the stage area was refurbished to accommodate opera performances and the classical Ayr Concert Series with visiting orchestras, instrumentalists and choirs.
It also hosted chess championships. Later in the 1970/80/90's it was a series of night clubs which is when I remember it😉 ......and now functions as Pirate Pete’s, a children’s indoor play area.
In 1666, what is now Ayr's oldest house (which had for a time been owned by the Earls of Loudoun) was purchased by John Muir. John was at that time a member of a partnership of Ayr merchants trading across the Atlantic and importing West Indian tobacco on a ship disguised as being English-owned.
After my walkabout, it was time to head back along the beach, and home for dinner with Mom and Dad 😊
Now, it's almost lunchtime here, and you're probably beginning to get bored reading my blog....so I best go. Over the past couple of days, I've taken lots more pics of my adventures....including a day trip to Edinburgh 😊, so more to come!
Until Next Time...
Take care, Stay Safe and....Enjoy the world around you - we so often take for granted our everyday surroundings - like the history that was all around me when I was growing up 💕
Love and Hugs,
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