Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A day out in Ayr

Yes, it's the return of "tourists in our own country" although in this case, it's a more familiar destination.  Ayr is the most popular seaside town, situated on the Ayrshire coast in South-West Scotland.  It has a beach, a river, and lots of good shops, restaurants and cafes. 

Recent weeks have been very unusual indeed, as we have enjoyed uninterrupted spells (i.e. more than one day) of dry, bright, warm weather.  "Summer" or as near as we get, came early.  Bringing with it all the joys of summer weather...
  • that familiar smell of burning food, a.k.a. 'the barbecue'
  • that familiar smell of burning flesh, a.k.a. 'the suntan'
  • that familiar sight known as 'taps aff' a.k.a. "Taps-Aff (Scots Vernacular) Literally "tops off." The removing of one's shirt in the event of warm weather, a phenomenon rarely seen in Glasgow. Now an expression describing good times being had". (definition courtesy of
All of these came together, on Ayr beach on 8th June, on a beautiful warm sunny day.  Footballs being kicked could have been Copacabana beach.  Bathing beauties in big could have been the French Riviera.  Bottles of MD 20-20 being passed around between under-age drinkers at 11.30 am....Ayr beach. Which is a shame really, as there were a lot of people enjoying a family day out.  The combination of alcohol and hot weather proved lethal later that day, as a major disturbance took place on the beach:  (We didn't actually see this happening as by that time we were on our way home). 

In spite of all this, however, Ayr is a great little town to visit in summer.  Away from the beach there's activities like crazy golf and an indoor and outdoor playground.  Those of us who prefer more adult pursuits like eating out and shopping are spoilt for choice.  There's a number of cuisines to choose from - everything from Scotland's favourite Italian, Chinese and Indian to Greek and French, and traditional Scottish cuisine.  Those who prefer a small beverage without getting sand in their shoes have a number of bars to choose from.  And although Ayr, like every other Scottish town in the depths of recession, has 'for sale' and 'to let' signs where shops once traded, it's holding up better than most and also boasts the Ayr Central shopping centre with a number of big-name stores:

Ayr is also a scenic little town and if you walk down to the bottom of the Sandgate it will take you on to the main traffic bridge across the River Ayr.  But there is also a nice little footbridge further along, which you can enter from just off the foot of the High Street, and from where I took this picture of the river, the main bridge and the redeveloped harbour area in the distance.

We always try to visit Ayr once a year, and when you go there you actually feel like you've "been somewhere", it's a great little day-trip destination.  However, they maybe need to up the marketing a little, as I couldn't resist taking a picture of these two juxtaposed signs which I spotted out of the bus window on our way out of town....

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