COUNTRYSIDE OF ROBERT BURNS
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.
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.
Town of stone houses planned by Earl of Eglinton in 1805 round sandy South Bay. Terminus for Arran shipping services.
Main west coast resort with sandy beaches. Two bridges -- 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.
Azaleas and rhododendrons sur-round lily pond in woodland setting. Fine trees, rock garden and walled garden. Picnic area.
Stonework of 13th-century for-mer Lindsay seat features Gothic ceiling and barrel-vaulted cellar.
Ruins of 1244 Cluniac house. Turreted gatehouse, abbot's tower and dovecote are 15th century.
Once prosperous handloom weaving centre beside Water of Girvan. Single-storey cottages line main street.
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.
On Great Cumbrae, reached by ferry from Largs, is Millport resort with Cathedral of the Isles -- Scot-land's smallest. Museum and aquarium. Little Cumbrae has lighthouse and ruined castle.
Water mill housing Ayrshire Museum of Countryside and Costume. Farm machinery, tools, photographs; local costumes.
Former ironworks, now open-air museum. Rows of miners' cot-tages. Industrial railway centre with locomotives and rolling stock. Visitor centre in old weaver's cottage.
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
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.
Red-sandstone buildings include Barr Castle and tower. Church of St Sophia built 1886, in two-coloured brick imitating Haghia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Sixteen acres of walled garden, woodland and picnic area.
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.
Vitrified Iron Age fort on rocky ridge overlooking Girvan valley.
Burns monument in Kay Park houses first edition of his poems. Dick Institute has collection of Scottish broadswords. Restored Dean Castle has arms and armour, musical instruments and country park. Guided tours of Johnnie Walker whisky-bottling plant.
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.
Colour-washed houses of early 19th century. Cask and barrel-making industry. Sailing and canoeing on loch in Castle Semple country park. Nature reserve.
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.
Restored 17th-century Maybole Castle was town house of Kennedy family. Earls of Cassillis buried in 14th-century church, now in ruins.
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 castie 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.
Georgian mansion in 96 acre park. Woodlands, sculptured gardens, nature trails, wildfowl pond. Local history displays.
Seaside resort. Good fishing. Sea wall built 1686. Harbour contains fossilised trees seen at low tide. Museum in 18th-century church.
Village laid out 1770 on Ayr banks. Castle with 15th-century tower: 1650 church has outside staircase.
Former weaving and mining vil-lage. Burns founded Bachelors' Club debating society, now museum with relics of poet.
Turreted red-sandstone Victorian buildings look across Ayr Bay. Five golf courses. Sandy beach, marina and harbour.
Silver sands backed by dunes run for 1½ miles. Two golf courses. Robert Bruce said to have been born at Turnberry Castle.
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