» Places To Visit Just another WordPress weblog Mon, 02 Nov 2009 09:43:53 +0000 en hourly 1 Local author weaves a spell with tales of Wee Cumbrae Thu, 01 Oct 2009 08:56:17 +0000 admin The meeting of Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Rotary Club was chaired by Vice President Archie Macintyre due to the absence of President Bob Sharpe. The chief guests were John Steele, local author and speaker for the evening and Greta Murray, visiting rotarian from Canada from a Toronto club, Forest Hill.

John Steele, introduced by Donnie Shedden, is hardly a stranger to the club, having spoken here on at least two previous occasions. Today, the subject of his talk was Wee Cumbrae, an island in the Firth of Clyde, which his most recently published book is all about, detailing the island’s history.

The island of Wee Cumbrae is a beautiful place which first came to prominence in the 7th century when it was settled by an Irish saint and missionary. It subsequently became a place of pilgrimage which rivaled even Iona in its heydays. It was also extremely popular with royalty, particularly of the kings Richard I and II.

Since the island was located in the Firth of Clyde, many ships ran aground in storms or foggy weather in the 17th and 18th centuties, which led to the erection of a lighthouse on the island- a round tower with a coal-fired brazier on top which had to be lit and tended by the keepers. Unfortunately, there was no way to keep the brazier burning through heavy rains and storms, when ships were most likely to run aground, so it was eventually replaced by a proper light- at present, an automated beacon does the job.

The island has not been well known for a long time, since the owners never encouraged visitors, but it has recently been acquired by an Indian lady who plans to develop it into a holiday resort and connect it by ferry to Largs.

Mr. Steel also passed on copies of his book to several club members who took this opportunity to purchase them.

]]> 0
The Famous Eglington Country Park Sun, 23 Aug 2009 15:11:10 +0000 admin Just east of Saltcoats, on the outskirts of the picturesque town of Kilwinning, is the enchanting world that surrounds you when you enter Eglinton Country Park. Trails for horses, bicycles and pedestrians wind through the property. These trails take you through woodlands, along rivers and streams, and fields exposing you to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Changing seasons bring new delights to the environment and you may never tire of visiting this delightful park.

Eglinton Country Park is a spectacular place located on the old Eglinton Castle estate. The park occupies a huge parcel of land totaling 988 acre. Close to two hundred acres alone is prime woodland and provides a great area for bird and wildlife watching. In the heart of the park is the old Eglinton Castle and estate that once belonged to the Eglinton family.

Nestled among its acreage, is the gorgeous Clement Wilson Gardens. These gardens are an ideal spot to have an intimate picnic or leisurely stroll with the family. There are children designated play areas and no one is at a loss for parking. If you are wondering where everything is located within the park, you can easily find it by visiting the visitor center. At the visitor center you will also find an exhibit that tells the story of Eglinton Country Park’s history. For those wishing to buy a souvenir to remember their visit to the park by or other novelty items, the park houses a gift shop that should meet your needs.

A restaurant, the Tournament Cafe, is located on site and allows you to purchase, food, drinks and any other supplies that may be needed. Eglinton Country Park and its facilities are handicapped equipped and loans out wheelchairs and other items that may be needed for handicap individuals. For anyone wishing to extend the visit beyond a day trip, there is also a cottage that can be rented any time of the year. Campsites with overnight facilities can be rented for a small fee.

The ranger service offers guided treks through the park and last anywhere from one to two hours. Throughout the year, Eglinton Country Park is home to many events and celebrations. Although the park is fully functional all year round, the visitor center is only open from the beginning of Easter until late October. Many groups and school children visit the park annual as a field trip and to gather a learning experience. If the weather turns inclement, there are covered shelters for visitors to seek refuge in. In addition to the outside play areas for children, there are also inside play areas so children can be occupied if they are forced inside by the weather.

]]> 0