The days are stretching out, but the nights are still cold enough to gather around a warm fireside.
In the days before wireless and television this is where the art of conversation flourished as we at first exchanged news of what happened during the day which then passed on to tales we had come across. We now become infatuated with the continuing soaps on TV which tend to lead us to series of anti-climaxes.
Ayrshire has an abundance of tales and we have covered Sawney Bean, Sir John Cathcart, the Maid of Curragh,etc. etc. which are all well known as part of the history of Ayrshire. But there is more to come as. we all know that in spite of the east coast of Scotland being considered the primary area for golf when in its infancy, the first ever Golf Championship was held at Prestwick in 1860 and was followed in quick succession by eleven more before moving elsewhere. In all Prestwick hosted twenty four Opens the last being in 1924, but the county also boasts two other Open venues in Turnberry and Troon. Well known celebrities such as John Loudon McAdam famous for tarred road surfaces, John Boyd Dunlop who invented the pneumatic tyre to ride on McAdam road surfaces, Sir Alexander Fleming the inventor of penicillin, all these men of stature were born in Ayrshire and their tales are well known world wide. However there are many more facts about Ayrshire which are all there for the telling such as Muirkirk the first town in Britain to be lit by gas although the first house to be lit by gas was in Redruth, Cornwall which belonged to William Murdoch who was born in Lugar, Ayrshire. The American writer of horror stories Edgar Allan Poe spent some months during 1815 at a school in Irvine where as part of his writing lessons he had to copy the epitaphs on tombstones in the parish churchyard. No doubt this is where he got some of the ideas for his horror stories from. Now something of interest which is perhaps not so well known is that of Sir Thomas Brisbane who was born in Largs in 1773, became Governor of New South Wales in Australia where he set up the first observatory of any significance. The state capital of Queensland is named after him as is a cratur on the moon. An unusual fact about Sir Thomas was that he died 1860 in the same bed in in Largs that he was born in. He is buried in the family vault in Douglas Park.
So be proud of Ayrshire, a county that has bred so many worthy people of stature, see you next week.