Ancients knew of waters that make the lean fat and the fat lean

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Always on the lookout for tales I came across something recently which may be of interest.

Girvan golfers may remember a few years ago that whilst playing the 6th and 7th holes they perhaps noticed that just up the shore opposite where the Ladyburn flows into the sea a number of seagulls were performing in a very peculiar fashion, in fact they were as near as to being drunk as any seagull can get. One can only assume that some spirit had been accidentally spilled into the Ladyburn and the seagulls were taking full advantage to have a party.

It is interesting to note how birds and animals know where to find nature’s medicines. This brings me to the Bloak Well near Stewarton which was first discovered when it was noticed in around 1810 that pigeons were want to flock around the area. Testing the water of the well it was discovered that it was in fact a chalybeate spring which means that the waters were impregnated with iron of a medicinal quality.

It was thought important enough for the local landowner William Cunninghame of Lainshaw to erect a well house in 1833,and appoint a well keeper to supply water to those in need.

The well cottage still survives and the well is still believed to be there under the cottage. William Cunninghame seems to have had an appreciation of mineral springs as next to his home at Lainshaw House was a chalybeate spring whose waters were known to have curative powers.

The water was known to ‘Cure the colic, the melancholy and the vapours; making the lean fat and the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain’. One wonders whether he was referring to cures for humans or cattle, but no doubt both used it.

Between Barr and Barrhill lies the Shalloch Well on which the Reverend Stephen Young of Barr in around 1790 referred to in his account as ‘The virtues of the water are well known in this country; it is pretty strong chalybeate, and partakes of the sulpher also to no inconsiderable degree.

The waters have been rarely known to fail in giving relief to persons afflicted with stomach or scorbutic disorders.’

There you are, we are surrounded by wells containing water which can help all those who have perhaps over indulged during the festive period.

May the new year bring you all peace, health and happiness - see you next week.