The Wayfarer - The ‘roasted’ abbot and the Baron of Buchlyvie

Whilst considering the wealth of interesting facts surrounding this part of the coast it is perhaps time we took a look at Dunure.

You are immediately attracted to two significant features of the village, one the castle perched proudly on the cliff top now a ruin but with a history of blood sweat and tears, the other being the small, square very attractive harbour.

First to the castle which is well known to all locals as the venue where the 4th Earl of Cassillis roasted the Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey in the Black Vault.

The Abbot lived through his torture and the Earl merely got a rap on his knuckles for his attempt to take over the Crossraguel lands. The full detail will be well known to all the locals so I will pass on to the attractive harbour which was rebuilt in 1811 at a cost of £50,000, a very large sum of money in those days.

It was offered for lease as a most advantageous fishing station but without success, no doubt due to the harbour being tidal, but one wonders at such a large sum being expended without realizing its deficiency.

However some fishing craft did use the harbour and still do, but nowadays it is mostly used by pleasure boats. None the less it is a very pretty little village with a history all of its own. Both these features are well worth a visit, the castle has some walls in excess of five foot thick, no doubt the Kennedys anticipated some unwelcome visitors, but it is now open to the public with safe walkways. However when leaving Dunure travelling south you come across the Electric Brae where everything seems to run uphill. Various attempts have been made to locate a mythical reason for this, but the plain truth of the matter is that at the eastern end of the road the land rises 303 feet above sea level whilst at the western end it is only 286 feet giving a gradient of 1 in 85. It is difficult to believe when you come across it.

Before we leave Dunure perhaps I should remind you that Dunure Mains was the home in 1903 of the Clydesdale horse known as ‘The Baron of Buchlyvie’. This became a famous animal when the joint owners fell out over its ownership and the case went as far as the House of Lords. The horse was sold in 1911 for an unprecedented sum of £9500 and its skeleton was displayed in the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum for many years.

See you next week.