Irvine and the Scottish Maritime Museum

Scottish Maritime Museum
Scottish Maritime Museum
A bright, sunny day in Scotland at the moment is worthy of note. Two in a row are as rare as hens’ teeth – this lovely day was the same weekend as last week’s Monday Walk. We started our visit to Irvine with a wander round the Maritime Museum – separately as John wanted to look at the great hulking engines and boats …

… whereas I preferred the items with more human interest.

I particularly liked the “shipbuilders” working high up in the roof.

The Harbourside area around the museum is picturesque.

Across the road is the café (what do you mean, did we go in? of course we did!) and more boats.

As we walked downriver, we noticed a series (we spotted seven, there might have been more) of special paving stones with Scots words. Each stone was themed: here are two – any guesses what the themes are? Bonus points for defining any of the words.

We passed The Ship Inn and a sculpture of a carter and his horse.

Then we came upon a flock of swans and a very aggressive goose who advanced, hissing, on John when he pointed his camera at it. No wonder some distilleries use them to protect the whisky.

Next, we came to The Big Idea, a museum devoted to Scottish inventors which was opened to celebrate the millennium and closed through lack of custom in 2003. It’s rather sad looking, and its massive carpark seems to be its main legacy – although John enjoyed photographing the footbridge with the names of some of his heroes.

By now we had reached the sea – I thought this picture made me look quite sinister, as if I was standing on the edge of the world. That was the intended effect anyway.

On the jetty at Irvine
On the pier at Irvine
On a previous visit, we walked from this point along the beach to the next town, Troon – see Twixmas at Troon. There be dragons! This time, we retraced our steps to the museum and headed home to Glasgow.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks.

Twixmas at Troon

Ok, I hate the term “Twixmas” too, but I like alliteration! We set off for three nights of relaxation by the Ayrshire coast between Christmas and New Year, our stay at the Marine Hotel, Troon, being quite a bargain. And the sun shone on us again, especially the first day.

Irvine to Troon

On Day 1, we caught the train one stop to Irvine and walked back along the beach. Irvine is one of Scotland’s 1960s New Towns, but the Harbourside retains the charm of an older world. It also has a cracking view of Arran.

Leaving the Harbourside, we soon came across a dragon – a red sandstone one, anyway – which we stopped to admire before making our way along the sands back to Troon.

Dunaskin

The next day, we drove inland to the old ironworks at Dunaskin. A relic of the Industrial Revolution, the works had previously been open as a museum but that failed about a decade ago and the site is now used by the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group. Climbing the hill behind Dunaskin, in the path of an old horse-drawn tramway which was used to transport the iron ore, you come to the ruins of two old villages, Lethanhill and Burnfoothill (collectively known as the ‘Hill) which were built close to the mines. They were only abandoned in the 1950s and are now being absorbed into the forest. The plateau is crossed by several old railway tracks – we followed one of these for a while before descending back down to Dunaskin.

The way down was very boggy and didn’t please me much – especially when it transpired that the last part of the route we were following was blocked by a new landowner. Fortunately, there were people in the ironworks working on the trains so we were able to find our way out through an open gate.

Troon at dusk

Finally, we had some beautiful sunsets. The volcanic plug rising from the sea in the first picture is Ailsa Craig.