Wayfarer Column- Ayrshire Coast has many interesting tales

Well the shortest day is past and along with it the longest night. Christmas is upon us and it is a time for family gatherings and the telling of tales.

Strange things happen all the time and a good raconteur can bring them to life.

Back in 1932 an Aberdeen trawler was drifting with its nets out when the mate saw what appeared to be a shadowy figure climb out of the sea onto the trawlers stern. He alerted the captain and they went to investigate this apparition, their fears were raised by finding wet footprints at the stern of the vessel which in some trepidation they followed down to the crew’s quarters. There lay a pile of wet clothes on the floor and with Alfred Middleton one of the crew lying in his bunk shivering an explanation was required. No doubt by this time the captain and mate had the hairs standing on the back of their necks but their fears were allayed when it appeared that Alfred Middleton had sleepwalked overboard during the night, been woken up by the shock of the cold North Sea and fortunately had the presence of mind to grab a rope as the trawler drifted by and hauled himself back on board. He was so embarrassed by this that he hoped that he had not been seen. So there you are the sea has many tales to tell and I am sure that that was one the mate would not readily forget.

If you travel down the Ayrshire coast you will come across many places of interest which must have a tale to tell. Apart from the Electric Brae which I covered last week along that stretch of coast is David Bedan’s Loup, Kati Gray’s Rocks, Fairy’s Well, Patrick’s Well and the Dead Knowe to name but a few. I am sure that there is a tale to tell about each one and I will try and find out if the tale is worth the telling. I do know that Girvan Mains is well known throughout Carrick as it has stood there long before Girvan became other than a few fishermens’ cottages. Girvanmains as it has become known, was in those very early days held by a notable branch of the Kennedy family who had the power to sentence reprobates to be hanged. This was done on Gallow Hill which can be seen just to the north of the farm and by hanging them high it became a warning to others that it was not in their interests to upset the laird. But then these tales are well in the past but interesting enough to be remembered as we should always try to understand the life and circumstances of the people who came before us. See you next week.