Sunday, 8 February 2015

A late afternoon in Ayr, South Ayrshire

Ayr Town Hall GJC_016405
Ayr Town Hall.
At the end of a busy day (The Maritime Museum in Irvine during the morning and Alloway Burns sites in the early afternoon), I just had time for a few classic building shots back in Ayr before going on the hunt for some kind of Happy Hour evening meal and a drive back to Irvine.

There are so many great shots that can be taken from the river of the title image of Ayr Town Hall but the sun, clouds and photographic light can be both a friend and enemy as you can't be everywhere at the same time. Those wanting the definitive photographic guide of the town centre may be disappointed as I only had a few hours here.

The 1820's Town Hall dominates the skyline with the steeple reaching a height of 225 ft, the historic building is mainly used as a concert venue.

Pirate Pete's  GJC_016380_edited-1
water fountain and Ayr Pavilion (Pirate Petes)
Always on the look out for something a little different, it may come as a surprise to you that one of the quirky buildings that has always photographically fascinated me ever since I first saw it back in 1992 is The Ayr Pavillion. Situated next to the sea, the building was designed as a seaside entertainment venue in 1911 no doubt playing host to a generation of early 20th century Glasgow holiday makers. Times change and yet the building has been utilised in a similar fashion since 2004 by the current owners Pirate Pete's Family Entertainment centre. Activities include adventure play area, a Golf putting course (An Ayrshire tradition)

Little Brother  GJC_016352
Pirate Pete's , Ayr
... and an outdoor play park that gives a feel of being the little brother !!

Pirate Pete's and cloud  GJC_016365_edited-1
Ayr Pavilion
I was severely reminded of the North Ayrshire weather I left behind in the morning,

Cloud trail  GJC_016358_edited-1 (1)
Cloud trail, Ayr Pavilion.
but the cloud formations in the vast open spaces near the sea front gave me plenty of photographic scope ...

Time for an Ice Cream  GJC_016366

... and an excuse to wait a little longer to enjoy the ... err ... sunshine and other things.

Ice Cream  GJC_016376
Firth of Clyde Ice Cream
Back in the early 1800's, the glorious beaches helped Ayr become the resort it is today, firstly helped by The River Clyde steamer boat services and ...

37 518 Ayr  GJC_019671
37518 Ayr (NER / SRPS railtours) 27.09.2014
... the later arrival of the Glasgow to Stranraer railway line in the 1840's.

(Just to add that I returned here for an enforced one hour break later in 2014 on a Scottish Railway Preservation Society / North East Railtours charter trip to Stranraer.)

Footprints sign  GJC_016371_edited-1
The Lang Scots mile, Ayr
With regards to the ornate signs that I mentioned in the previous Alloway post, this is the sea front effort that that the local authorities have created !!

County Court  GJC_016382
County Buildings and Courthouse, Ayr
Speaking of which, the 1822 County buildings and Courthouse sits alongside Pirate Pete's Empire on the sea front.

War Memorial  GJC_016386
World War II War Memorial, Ayr
...  with a small war memorial in front representing mainly World War II demonstrating the appropriate military attire.

County Court Green  GJC_016401
County Court Green, Ayr
The main War Memorial is in a park to the rear of the County buildings. This view was taken from the edge of the town centre depicting the proximity to the architectural seafront sites.

Tam O' Shanter Inn GJC_019677_edited-1
Tam O' Shanter pub, Ayr
 The Tam O' Shanter pub that sits in the High street was originally a brewery / public house and later a Museum dedicated to the local poet Robert Burns. There is some doubt over the conception and accuracy of the Tam O'Shanter poem but this was the inspirational intoxication location often frequented by Burns, Tam O'Shanter and Souter Johnny.

The Auld Brig  GJC_016443
The Auld Brig, Ayr
The Auld Brig was built between 1470 and 1525 with major repairs in 1910 and has survived testing floods where other bridges failed. It is now used as a walk way across the river into the town from the north. Originally the River Ayr was crossed by a Ford slightly downstream before a 1215 wooden structure which pre - dates the scene of the current Auld Brig. As you've guessed, The New Bridge on the site of the old Ford crossing was washing away by floods approximately 90 years after it was built in 1788. It took less than 10 years for the new bridge to be built in 1878 to carry all the traffic into town from the north to this day.

The History of Ayr is a bit vague but it appears to have been well established with the oldest borough charter in 1205 before the Magna Carta. The Castle built in 1197 by William I was replaced by a Citadel built by Oliver Cromwell in 1654. The first Scottish Parliament was held in St John's Tower with Robert The Bruce in 1315 before he became king with later Governments of Cromwell controlling Scotland from governing Scotland from his Citadel.

Ayr was important as a main south west Scottish coastal port in The Firth of Clyde long before it relinquished that title to Glasgow. In the late 1770's it was thought that 300 ships were exporting and importing slate, bottles, tobacco and salt to all parts of the Globe.

Shopping Centre light  GJC_016428
Arran Mall, Ayr
Late in the afternoon, the long shadows and pedestrian shoppers made photography difficult in the town centre so I thought it best to concentrate on photographic strengths in peripheral shopping centre walkways.

Preparing for a night out  GJC_019674
L.G. Nails Ayr
Getting ideas about being spruced up for a night out on the town  :-)

Souter Johnny GJC_019678
Souter Johnny on Tam O' Shanter pub, Ayr
Souter Johnny spruced up on the exterior wall of the Tam O'Shanter pub. Immortalised in stone after several drinks too many.

Ayr India  GJC_016455
Ayr India
Time for that evening meal and this caught my attention. Not so much a travel company but more an Indian restaurant about to take off.

Thought I'd opt to eat inside as the customary seaside bag of Fish and Chips in a courtyard seemed a little more dangerous .... :-)

I bide my time  GJC_016446
You're on my patch so ... if you eat here ... beware !
(I bide my time, Ayr)


  1. I find that first shot to be fantastic. The colors, the sky, and the spire, all work well together.

    1. Thanks Michelle, apart from trying to get decent composition, I probably only saw it as a title shot for Ayr.

  2. Another excellent set of photos. I ddon't often visit this bit of coast so it was an interesting look round.

    1. Thanks Adrian, Ayr is not somewhere I frequent either but I suppose it had to be done as I was in the area. The light, shadows and the amount of people were a bit disappointing in the town centre.

  3. Such gorgeous shots, J!! The one with the pavilion and its little echo, plus the pavilion and amazing clouds make me smile. The first one with its beautiful tall spire makes me homesick for Ayr, but of course that's ridiculous, since I've never been there - ever. Food for my Anglophile soul.

    1. It's strange to say that the main reasons I stopped here was to photograph the Pavilion in digital for the first time. I remembered it from years ago and was looking forward to seeing it again. Apart from the train and the Tam O" Shanter scenes, the rest of the post just happened on a wander around before tea.

  4. P.S. Anglophile used in the broad sense, of course.

    1. You need to use 'Anglo' anything with caution when referring to north of the border, CM! :-)

    2. Agreeing with Mike here as the the more appropriate word that I learned from Abby Rogers (Picture Britain) was "Britophile" !

  5. A fabulous series of photographs. The clouds have are stunning and spectacular.

    1. Thanks CherryPie, the clouds seemed to give some of the scenes an edge.

  6. Great post; great photo tour. It's a place I've passed - need to go back and explore. Amazing county building. And interesting uniform on the war memorial - looks like a para or more recent helmet.

    1. Thanks Mike, The County building is impressive and difficult to understand why it has been built so near the sea other than the vast open space available at that location.

  7. I too can see a certain photographic attraction for the Ayr Pavilion.... An interesting looking building.
    A wonderful set of images......

    1. Thanks Trevor, Due to it's originality and maybe humour, the Ayr Pavilion has to be one of my favourite buildings in south west Scotland, I'm pleased I caught it on a good day.

  8. What a mixture of different styles one can see in the town! I especially like the town hall which looks medieval...

    It is easy to notice that the ice cream pleasures were really inspiring, I love those two - landscape versus portrait - versions of the place. Actually, I couldn't say which version I'd prefer, they both look very interesting.

    As for the last photo, is there any idea behind why that phrase "I bide my time" is displayed in that place? Apart from that obvious meaning in your capture, of course... :)

    1. Thanks Petra, It was very difficult capturing the essence of Ayr and just had to focus on what was available with the light and time I had. The High Street is just like any other average High Street although there is additionally a large tower celebrating William Wallace and of course Tam O'Shanters pub. There was also an Art Deco cinema down a side street that I couldn't quite capture correctly for a number of reasons.

      "I bide my time" is the motto of a historic dignitary (Campbell of Loudoun) who had links with the town. History is essential to some readers visiting here, but as Art and Technical Drawing were my specialities in my youth, I like to try and keep it a bit light. I didn't have any other image to refer to earlier in the post about Campbell and didn't feel it appropriate to finish with.

      I think you can see the problem I had with the light in the last image. Thought it was worth keeping it in the post for the humour element though.

  9. I like traditional pubs like Tam O' Shanter! You find ever nice places like this, J_on_tour! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Traveling Hawk, Unfortunately I didn't have time to go into the Tam O'Shanter pub on this occasion ... maybe next time.

  10. Hey J - I see you're a bit behind with blogging, like me. I have just down loaded photos from Durham. Do you want to email me so I have an email address for you? And did you make Seven Sisters (so to speak)?


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