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Handbook for travellers in Scotland online

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Lochlea. Spittalside farm was the
residence of David Sillar, the poet's
friend and correspondent.

The antiquary will find opposite
Montgomerie some well-preserved
Roman trenches, and, near the farm
oflSces, the supposed grave of Coil or
Kyle, king of the Britons, who was
killed in a battle with the Picts. It
certainly was a burying-place, for, on
being opened in 1837, it was found
to contain several urns and burnt
bones. From Montgomerie to
Mauchline it is 3 m. (Rte. 9).]

[c. To Dcdmellingfon by rail. The
branch leaves the main line near
Dalrymple Stat. (Rte. 11). 4 m.,
turning off to the left and crossing a
small stream that joins the Doon
from Loch Martnaham, a consider-
able sheet of water 2 m. in length.

6 m. at Hollyhush Stat., the rly.
approaches the banks of the Doon,
and from thence keeps alongside of
it for the remainder of its course.

At 10 m. Patna, the hills begin
to close in, and ironworks and pits
to show themselves. I



12 m. Water side, to the right of
which, extending for several miles,
is the dreary moorland plateau of
Keir's Hill, 1005 ft,

15 m. DalmeUington Stat., a town
of 1299 inhab., dependent on the
DalmeUington Iron Co. (Messrs.
Houldsworth), who have 5 furnaces
here. It is neat and compact, and is
situated about | m. from the Doon,
and overhung by a lofty Mote hill.

The principal attraction in the
neighbourhood is the scenery of the
romantic narrow glen called the
A^'ess, leading to Loch Bomi, which
lies 4 m. to the S., and from which
issues the Doon. The owner of
these beautiful grounds, permits
visitors (except on Sunday) to
skirt the river for the whole dis-
tance. Loch Boon is one of the
largest lakes in the south of Scot-
land, From the foot of Ness Glen
to the Loch head, Avhere the Gala
Lane flows into it, it is 5h m. in
length, though seldom above I m. in
breadth. The scenery is tame, ex-
cept near the head of the loch, where
the Wee Hill of Craigmulloch, 1381
ft, and the Black Craig, 1730 ft.,
rise up directly from the water's
edge. On an islet underneath Craig-
mulloch are the ruins of Loch Doon
Castle, Avhich appears to have been of
soine importance in the 14th cent.

The lake is a tolerable fishing
locality for trout, which, however,
are small, only averaging about 4 or
5 to the pound. The innkeeper at
DalmeUington will provide a boat,
and give every information. The
pedestrian will find a path skirting
the lake the whole distance to the
head on the W. side, and, if a geolo-
gist, should notice the striated rocks
and boulders on its shores, exhibiting
the effects of glacial action.

The country to the S. of Loch
Doon is exceedingly wild, and
almost untrodden, save by the shep-
herd or the sportsman. Two lofty
and rugged ranges of hills run



120



Route 12. — Ayr to Glasgow — Prestwkk Sect. I.



nearly due S. towards the coast of
Kirkcudbright, giving rise to the
northern rivers of the Gala, Carrick,
and Stinchar, and to the southern
ones of the Dee, Carsphairn, Cree,
Minuoch, and others, which find
tlieir way into the Solway Firth.
The most westerly of these hills is
the Merrick range, the highest
point of which is 2764 ft.

Underneath their stern and savage
escarpments lies Loch Enoch, at an
elevation of 1650 ft, together with
some smaller tarns, encompassed by
a wild entourage of hills and rocks,
which will well repay the scenery-
loving pedestrian, who can, without
much difficulty, ascend the stream
of the Gala from Loch Doon to
Loch Enoch, the distance being
about 6 m.

To the E. of Loch Enoch is a
mountain valley watered by the
Cooran Lane, which issues from the
little loch of the Dungeon, and soon
joins the Dee. Then still farther E.
rises the Kells range, the highest
point of which, Meikle Millyca, is
2446 ft. It is a pity that this ro-
mantic district is not better known,
as at present the utter want of ac-
commodation precludes any but very
good walkers attempting it.]

d. Dunure and Greenan (Ete. 11).

e. Maybole (Rte. 11).

Ayr to Glasgow — FmU.

From Ayr Junct. the rail to
Glasgow runs due N"., crossing the
river, and passing rt. Craigie
House (R. F. F. Campbell, Esq. ) 1^
m. are the ruins of Kingsivell, an
hospital founded for lepers by Eobert
Bruce, who is said to have been cured
of lepro.sy by di-inking the waters.

3 m. Prestwick Stat. This town
(on right of rly.) was the property
of the Abbey of Paisley. The Scot-
tish game of golf is keenly pursued
on the extensive links at this place.
As the line winds along the shore of



A}T Bay the traveller will, if it is
tolerably clear, get good views of the
opposite coast of Arran, with Goat-
fell and the hills of Bute.

4 J m. Monkton Stat. Soon after
leaving Monkton the rly. passes
right Fullarton House, a seat of the
Duke of Portland, and in 1801 the
residence of Louis Philippe, King of
the French.

6^ m. Troon Junct. Stat. {Inns :
Portland ; Hotel ; Commercial), 2427
inhab., is a thriving seaport, with
good harbour, and warehouses to
correspond. In fact it is the ship-
ping port of Ayrshire, from whence
a veiy large quantity of Scotch coal
is exported to Ireland. It is also a
quiet watering-place, particularly
popular with excursionists from Kil-
marnock. It stands on a neck of
land projecting into the bay, at the
end of which is a lighthouse. 3 m.
on right is Dunclonald Castle, now a
mass of uncouth masonry, all the
wrought stones having been taken
out from the doorways and windows,
and even the corners of the build-
ings carried away. The castle stands
in a prominent position, occupying
the whole summit of a hill. The
dining-hall is entire, and the kitchen
beneath is nearly so ; something is
also left of the chapel above. Robert
Stewart lived here before he came to
the throne under the title of Eobert
II. The property was afterwards
granted by James V. to a member
of the "Wallace family, who in 1638
sold it to Sir W. Cochrane. The
land passed, in 1726, to Lord
Eglinton, but the castle and 5 roods
of land are still the property of Lord
Dundonald. Boswell, who with
Johnson vi-sited the ruins, says —
"Dr. Johnson, to irritate mj old
Scottish enthusiasm, was very jocu-
lar on the homely accommodation of
King Bob, and roared and laughed
till the ruins echoed. "

Between Dundonald and the Kil-
marnock rly. is Auchans Castle, a



S. Scotland.



Route 12. — Eglinton Castle.



121



castellated manor-house of 1644, re-
markable architecturally for its
crow-stepped gables. It is, like
Duudonald, a tire -proof habitation,
and was built principally of mate-
rials from its great model. In the
adjoining orchard was raised the
celebrated "Auchans" pear.

[From Troon a branch rly. of 9 m.
runs to Kilmarnock, passing the sta-
tions of Dryhurgh, Barassie, and
Gatehecul, none of which need detain
the tourist.]

11 m. Irvine Stat. {Inns : King's
Arms ; Wheatsheaf ), another of the
Ayrshire boroughs and ports, prin-
cipally occupied in the shipment of
coals. Pop. 6866. It takes its name
from the river, on the N. bank of
which it stands, and which rises near
Newmilns. The town contains an
old ruined mansion, said to have
been the residence of the Montgome-
ries. Earls of Eglinton. It was also
the birthplace of James jMontgomery
the poet (1771), and of the novelist
Gait (1779), and for a time the resi-
dence of Burns, who was occupied in
flax-dressing here, until his shop was
burnt down. At Irvine, 1296, Robert
the Bruce "yielded himself up to King
Edward I. 's 'peace,' " i.e. surrendered
to the English army under Percy.

The traveller will perceive that he
has arrived at an ugly countrj^, save
for the picturesque outlines of the
Arran mountains on left. It is one
of the busiest districts of the Ayr-
shire coalfield, a proof of which is
visible in the 'Hazing ironworks of
Eglinton, where there are 8 furnaces
in blast, belonging to the Bairds.
They should be seen at night, when
they have a grand effect, very dif-
ferent from the smoke and dust of
the daytime.

144 m. Kilwinning Junct. Stat.
[Inns : Winton Arms ; Commercial;
both poor. ) The archaeologist should
visit the ruins of Kihvinning Priory,
founded in 1140, for Tironensian
monks, by Hugh de Moreville, to
\^Scotland.'\



whom also Dryburgh Abbey is attri-
buted. The remains are reduced to
the W. doorway, a door of the S.
aisle, and the S. transept, a fine front
with an E. pointed 3-light window,
and a circular one in the gable above,
and an archway leading to S. tran-
sept aisle. Outside the transept was
the Chapter-house, entered by a
circular door, and flanked by a win-
dow on each side. A modern bell-
tower, erected in 1815, stands within
the enclosure. Freemasonry' was in-
troduced into Scotland by the build-
ers of Kilwinning Priory, and Mother
Kihvinning was for some centuries
the parent lodge of the society in Scot-
land. St. Winning, or Winnin, the
patron saint of the ch., was of Irish
extraction, and landed on the coast
of Cunningham, as this northern
district of Ayr is called. Finding
starvation rather near at hand, he
went to fish in the Garnock, the river
on which Kilwinning stands ; and,
being unable to catch anything,
cursed the stream, and forbade fish
ever to enter it — a fate which it
escaped only by diverting its course.
The upper part of the totvii cross has
been restored, but the shaft is pro-
bably of the 15th cent.

1 m. from the town is Eglinton
Qastle, the seat of the Earl of Eglin-
ton. The grounds, which are open to
strangers, are tastefully laid out.
But in the castle an attemj)t is made
to combine the style of the feudal for-
tress with the light and conveniences
of a modern dwelling-house ; and the
appearance of its bold round towers
is spoilt by the rows of sash windows.
The house of Montgomerie has for
upwards of 600 years held a pro-
minent position in the history of
Scotland. Pvobert de Montgomerie,
descended from the great ISTorman
house of that name" in England,
died about 1180. A descendant of
his, Sir John, married the heiress of
Eglinton, who was also niece of Ro-
bert 11. ; and Hugh, the fifth Lord



122



Boiite 1 2. — Ayr to Glasgow ; Ardi



'ossan.



Sect. I.



Montgomerie, was created Eaii of
Eglinton in 1503. In 1612 the title
passed over to tlie Earl of Winton,
whereby the two became united.
The park is traversed by the river
Irvine, and contains some fine forest
trees. In 1839 the Eglinton tourna-
ment, held in the park, was an
attempt to reproduce on a large scale
the chivalrous forms and ceremonies
of the old times. Among the knights
was the Emx>ei'or Napoleon III.

Apropos of this, it may be men-
tioned that Kilwinning was noted for
the excellence of its archers ; and the
shooting at the popinjay, as detailed
in " Old Mortality," used, until late
years, to be an annual custom here.
The Kilwinning Company of Archers,
as it is called, claims an antiquity of
about 400 years. But the practice
of archery has now fallen consider-
ably into disuse in this part of the
country.

[A branch of 5 m., parsing through
furnaces and coal-mines, runs from
Kilvnnning Junct. at Saltcoats, a dirty
straggling port, where magnesia is
manufactured, in connection with
salt, salt-pans, and coal-mines, to

Ardrossan (inn : Eglinton Arms), a
well-built town of a few broad streets
at right angles to one another (3588
inhab.) It was founded 1806 by the
Earl of Eglinton. Great sums of money
have been expended upon the pier
and harbour ; and at one time it was
hoped to make it the port of Glasgow,
connecting it with that city by means
of a canal. This was completed as
far as Johnstone, when the introduc-
tion of railways arrested the project.
It is a flourishing .seaport, principally
occupied in the shipping of pig-iron.
On the height above the town are the
foundations of a chapel, and some
detached fragments of a strong castle,
one piece of which has an arelied
roof, still perfect. It was reduced to
its present state by Cromwell's troops.
There are fine views of Arran from
Lhe obelisk and the Fier head.



Steamers. — Ardrossan is a place of
embarkation for Arran, which is
15 m. distant (Rte. 23). The passage
takes about 1 h hour, and is sometimes
very ^ rough. There are also steam-
ers thither daily to Glasgow ; and
to Newry, on the Irish coast, once a
week.

18 m. Daley Junct. (Rte. 9) with
main line for Carlisle and Dumfries.
To the right of the line are the Blair
Ironworks. The geologist will find
in the Hye IToYcr good sections of
carboniferous rocks. The loAver parts
of the carboniferous limestone are
well exposed, as well as the tufts and
porphyries on which that series rests.

21 m. KUhirQiie Stat. The village
and iron furnaces overlook Kilbirnie
Loch, a rather fine sheet of water,
about 2 m. long. Here stands the
Castle of the Earls of Crawford, which
■tt^as burnt down in the last centy.,
and some large ironworks. The
Church, built after the Reformation,
has a gallery which belonged to tlie
Crawford family, containing some
good carved woodwork in Renaissance
style. In the ch. -5"d. is the monu-
ment, with effigies of Thomas Craw-
ford, who sealed and took Dumbarton
Castle, 1571. It is enclosed in a sort
of stone case, and is visible through
loopholes.

23 m. Beith Stat, is at the other
end of the loch. 3 1 m. to the right are
the ruins of Gyffen Castle, formerly
the headcpiarters of the Montgomerie
family. A great ho



Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 23 of 73)