Posts Tagged ‘smugglers’


‘Shanter Farm and Bay, Carrick’ by David Octavius Hill, from the 1840 publication ‘The Land of Burns’.

This image encapsulates the themes of all of the talks at the 2016 South Ayrshire History & Family History Fair at the Walker Halls, Troon on Saturday 4th June.

In one of his illustrations for the 1840 publication ‘The Land of Burns’, the artist and pioneer photographer David Octavius Hill imagined the farmer and smuggler Douglas Graham and his companions about to set off from the coast of Carrick. Their horses carry casks of smuggled brandy. The Fair’s first talk at 10am will be ‘The Smuggling Coast from Stranraer to Girvan’ by Frances Wilkins, a leading authority on this subject.

The scene is located at the ancient standing stone now on the edge of Turnberry Golf Course, with Maidens Bay in the background, and two of the day’s talks are about early human activity – ‘Ayrshire before History’, about the county’s early sites and their archaeology, by Tom Barclay of South Ayrshire Council Libraries at 11am, and ‘A Founder’s Workshop from the Bronze Age? Excavations from the shadow of Hunterston’ by archaeologist Thomas Rees at 3pm.

On foot and speaking with the smugglers is the teenage Robert Burns, taking time off from his school classes at Kirkoswald. (He is unlikely to have been so well-dressed at that time.) It is claimed that he later based his best-known character Tam o’Shanter on Douglas Graham. The 2pm talk is by Professor Chris Whatley and is ‘Men at War: securing Burns’ memory in the West of Scotland c.1859 – c. 1896’, about the race between towns in the region to have a statue of Burns.


The ancient standing stone overlooking Maidens Bay.


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Crooks in the Nooks a guided walk round old AyrThe history of Old Ayr includes many tales of law-breaking, imprisonment, execution and escape. Come with local history librarian Tom Barclay on a walking tour of town centre sites associated with the rebels, smugglers, body snatchers, common criminals and thief-takers who have all played dramatic parts in the town’s colourful past.

The walk lasts for 1 hour

  • Thursday 7th June, meet at Carnegie Library at 6.30pm
  • Wednesday 13th June, meet at Carnegie Library at 2.00pm
  • Tuesday 19th June, meet at Carnegie Library at 2.00pm
  • Thursday 21st June, Thursday 7th June, meet at Carnegie Library at 6.30pm

Tickets cost £3, include refreshments
and are available from Carnegie Library, Ayr.

This event is part of our National Crime Writing Month celebrations, view our library blog for more events.

If you can’t join us for any of the above dates you can always download the audio tour of this walk ‘Crooks in the Nooks’.

For more information please contact us on
Tel: 01292 286385 or email Carnegie.Library@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

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