June 2014

The Firth of Clyde gnaws at the Heads of Dunure like a dog upon a cracked skull. Down the coast of southern Ayrshire the sea cliffs spill their stony brains into the sea. Against the salt-flecked wind stands Dunure Castle, a shell of inspiration left behind long after the unknowable spark has passed. I crouch in the sand and rocks beneath its facade, brushing away the grit clinging to tiny, calcified sea creatures, look upward. Across the firth, the Isle of Arran seems to bob in the surf. There are castles there, too, and all across the width and breadth of Scotland. That the Kennedys ruled here and built Dunure in the 13th century matters little to me.
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Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

Scotland is not in short supply of enduring, beautiful sights. Whether man-made or natural, free to visit or requiring an entrance fee, there is a way to soak in the beauty of Scotland for every type of traveler. There are some sights, however, that rise above their compatriots and draw visitors with a kind of magnetic pull. Think Edinburgh Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Culloden, and Glen Coe. Well, here’s another one: Culzean Castle.

Perched on a cliff along the Ayrshire coast, Culzean Castle is one of Scotland’s most striking structures. The castle is a vision of blond stone, rounded towers, and turrets, a fantasy yanked from architect Robert Adams’s dreams and made real. Read more...

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Crossraguel Abbey

As the A77 runs south of Ayr, it passes through the ancient burgh of Maybole before continuing southwest to mirror the Ayrshire coast. This stretch of land is known mostly for its association with Robert Burns, who spent part of his late teens learning land surveying in nearby Kirkoswald, and for the famous Turnberry golf course and Culzean Castle. But there is another site just a couple miles south of old Maybole that many don’t know, a place redolent of lost ages and home, these many centuries, only to the wind.

Crossraguel Abbey.
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