All aboard for the smugglers’ story

The smugglers land the goods. Picture credit Billy McCrorie.
The smugglers land the goods. Picture credit Billy McCrorie.

The last event in this year’s Ballantrae’s Smugglers’ Festival is on Saturday 23 September and involves a “Carrick Smugglers’ Road Trip” from Ballantrae to the Heads of Ayr ending with a book launch of “Carrick’s Smuggling Story”.

The coach trip with commentary - organised jointly by social historian and author Frances Wilkins, and the Ballantrae Smugglers’ Festival - will leave Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre in Ballantrae at 10.30am prompt and make its way to the Heads of Ayr via Turnberry, and Culzean to the Heads of Ayr. The return trip will be via Dowhill outside Girvan for the launch of the book “Carrick’s Smuggling Story”, returning to Ballantrae by 5pm. Tickets for the coach trip cost £15. Copies of “Carrick’s Smuggling Story” (also £15) will be available to purchase. For more information, to book a seat on the coach (essential), please email or telephone 01335 345239.

Frances Wilkins said: “The Carrick coast from Ballantrae north to the Heads of Ayr includes a series of bays, beaches, and farms that witnessed the dramatic events of the smugglers in the 18th and 19th century. It’s location within easy reach of the Isle of Man and then, later, of smuggling bases in Ireland and Argyll, ensured a steady supply of contraband goods.”

“Everyone along the coast was involved as a smuggler, customer, or revenue man. Recently discovered documentary sources, principally from court records, customs house records and the National Records of Scotland, have expanded our knowledge of this exceptional period of Scottish history. The commentary will include details of the smuggling history of Ballantrae, Girvan and the Carrick coast as far north as the Heads of Ayr, virtually bay by bay and farm by farm.”