Burns' Country

I managed 36 hours in South Ayrshire before I caught a bug and spent the rest of my trip in bed.. but what a lovely 36 hours they were! Having the car with me for the first time ever (massive personal accomplishment!) gave me the kind of freedom that I never had when I lived in the area and it was such a delight to get from A to B so quickly and to be free just to explore.

I managed to fit in a drive along Ayr and Prestwick seafronts (where it was sadly too grey to see the usual stunning Arran/Ailsa Craig views); a cosy visit to Beanscene; a trip to the cinema to see 'The Book Thief' (which was amazing - go and see it, but read the book first); a lengthy lunch with a friend; a spot of Geocaching in Belleisle Park; and a nice long wander around Alloway.

Now thought of as an affluent suburb on the South end of Ayr, Alloway was once a village of its own and is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Scotland's national poet - Robert Burns.

Born here in 1759, the area still overflows with references to the man and his work. There's the little thatch-roofed cottage where he lived out his earliest days; the tombstone engraved with the name of his dad; and the still-standing landmarks that set the scene for 'Tam o'Shanter' - perhaps his most celebrated piece.

I didn't visit the inside of the cottage this time (though I have done in the past), but I did take a wander around "Alloway's auld haunted kirk" - where Tam saw witches dancing with the devil himself! - before strolling across the Brig o' Doon, where Tam's poor horse Meg lost her tail to the hands of a witch!

View from the Brig.

These days there are more contemporary references to Burns too - from small details like his face on the local area signposts, to the more notable Robert Burns Birthplace Museum run by the National Trust. In the summertime the memorial gardens are worth a visit too, with a climb up the (almost) 200 year old Burns Monument to take in some pretty landscape views; and on this visit I discovered the 'Poet's Path' - a pedestrian walkway from the cottage to the kirk, full of sculptures and works of art which reference Burns' poetry.

The Burns' monument.
Glenriddell's Fox
Not such a "wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie."

It doesn't matter how many times I visit, I still find Alloway such a pretty place to explore and I'm glad that this was the way I spent my only fit-and-able afternoon in South Ayrshire!

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  1. Beautiful photos of a lovely, almost magical, place. I often think of what a great treat it is to be able to explore by car. Hope that bug is soon gone, Laura. Take care xox