Visitors recording phenomenon at Electric Brae. Car appears to be rolling uphill.

This evening, I am posting information on an optical illusion in Ayrshire on the West Coast of Scotland near Culzean Castle.

Note that ‘brae’ is a Scottish word for hill.

The half mile long stretch of road, which is known locally as Croy Brae, gives an impression of running uphill or downhill but this as illusion created by the surrounding landscape. Over the years the locals have invented elaborate and fanciful explanations for the phenomenon for which there is, however, a scientific explanation.

The  illusion is formed because the entire landmass is on a slope. The west end of the stretch overlooking Croy Railway Viaduct is 286 feet above Ordnance Datum, compared to the eastern end of the slope towards Craigencroy Glen, which is 303 feet above sea level. Over half a mile stretch the brain and eyes can miss a rise of 17 feet but this is enough to make roll ‘uphill’.

For safety reasons a lay-by (pull-in)  has been built to enable visitors to experience the illusion first-hand with a degree of safety. There is also an explanatory sign explaining the illusion.There are hundreds of gravity hills around the world including at least six in the U.K.

The short video clip below was taken from the front of a tour bus which was not in gear but appeared to be rolling backwards, uphill.

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