Clan Boyd Flag at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Clan Boyd Flag at Dean Castle, Scotland.

This morning, we collected group from central Glasgow and embarked on a Clan Boyd themed tour of Ayrshire featuring the following sites:

Craignaught Hill

First to Craignaught Hill near Dunlop, about 25 miles S.W. of Glasgow.This is the site known as Battle of Boyd’s Hill where a clan battle was fought on July 9th 1439 between Clan Boydof Kilmarnock and the Stewart family of Darnley.The conflict was result of a feud between the two clans. Outcome was defeat for the Boyds who were outnumbered 2:1.

Next, we paid a brief visit to the village of Dunlop and the local Presbyterian Parish Church where a service was in process. We inspected the old burial ground and found a Boyd memorial.

Craignaught Hill, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Craignaught Hill, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Main Street, Dunlop, Scotland.

Main Street, Dunlop, Scotland.

Dunlop Parish Church, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Dunlop Parish Church, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Stained Glass at Dunlop Parish Church, Scotland.

Stained Glass at Dunlop Parish Church, Scotland.

Dean Castle

Next to Dean Castle, near Kilmarnock.

This fortification has a long history but in conjunction with the associated country park is now operated as a visitor attraction by the local council.

Essentially, the castle builds comprise two parts:

  • A stand-alone keep or tower which was built about 1350 by the Boyd family, Lords of Kilmarnock. The design focused on defence as evidence by walls some 2-3 metres thick, few windows and just one entrance door positioned high above ground level. Absence of arrow slits would indicate that defensive fire was concentrated from the roof of the building.
  • A small palace with an attached tower built by Robert Boyd about 1460. This features a large number of windows and projecting battlements on the tower, with latter designed to provide advantage to defenders by facilitating downward fire.

At time of our visit the tower was closed due to damp caused by water ingress. That aspect apart, the buildings are in excellent conditions notwithstanding destruction by fire in 1735 and undergoing many changes of ownership. Extensive restoration was undertaken by the 8th Lord Howard de Walden between 1908-1936 and hence represents a 20th century perception of a medieval castle. The castle was presented to the people of Kilmarnock by the son of the 8th Lord in 1975. Entrance is free and guided tours are available.

Our visit coincided with various family orientated events including a scarecrow competition, falconry, craft demonstration, archery and activities with pet dogs.

Tower at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Tower at Dean Castle, Scotland.

DEan Castle Palace, Kilmarnock, Scotland.

DEan Castle Palace, Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Craft Stall at Dean Castle Park, Scotland.

Craft Stall at Dean Castle Park, Scotland.

Herding ducks with young Border Collie at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Herding ducks with young Border Collie at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Black Chested Buzzard Eagle at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Black Chested Buzzard Eagle at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Palace and Tower at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Palace and Tower at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Scarecrows at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Scarecrows at Dean Castle, Scotland.

Ardrossan

We called at this port and marina to avail of lunch at Cechini’s Restaurant.

Portencross Castle

Final visit of the day was Portencross Castle, Ayrshire which situated on the coast, thirty-four miles S.W. of Glasgow facing the Firth of Clyde and Little Cumbrae Island.

Portencross was recently restored at cost of GBP1,0m  under aegis of the Friends of Portencross Castle.

Brief history of the site and castle:

  • The site had been inhabited for thousands of years, with definite evidence of Iron Age (800BC to 100BC) settlement.
  • The castle was constructed in three phases commencing around 1360.
  • Originally held by the Boyd family by King Robert I (of Scotland) in recognition for support in recognition for support at Battle of Bannockburn (1314).
  • The castle had close links with Scottish royalty resulting in a number of Royal Charters being signed at the castle.
  • Occupied by local fishermen after 1600s.
  • Roof was destroyed by a gale in 1739.
  • Became a scheduled ancient  monument in 1955.
  • Consequent on GBP1.0m fund raising a full and extensive restoration was undertaken between March 2009 and September 2010.
  • The site is of geological interest with rocks dating back 380m years and a ‘raised beach’ dating from end of last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago.
Maritime House at Portencross Castle, Scotland.

Maritime House at Portencross Castle, Scotland.

Portencross Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Portencross Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Interior of Portencross Castle, Scotland.

Interior of Portencross Castle, Scotland.

Coastal View from atop Portencross Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Coastal View from atop Portencross Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland.

After Portencross we returned to Glasgow where tour concluded.

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