Although I’ve been to Scotland a few times, I’ve never felt that I truly explored it. I had an idea of doing it on a motorbike, as I felt that it was a real challenge, a bit of an adventure. I had also wanted to check out areas where some of my ancestors had resided, or come from. I went over in August 2015 for a week, as it would give me ample time to see plenty, if not all of it.
I took the boat over from Larne to Troon, a service which unfortunately doesnt seem to exist anymore, its a pity, as you have a good dual carriageway up to Larne now, and there is a direct road from Troon to Glasgow, and if you are a foot passenger, a direct train from Troon to Glasgow too. Now, if you want to go over there, you have to sail into Cairnryan, and its two hours by road from there to Glasgow.
Leaving that aside, it was a good sailing, weather was good, and when I got to Troon, it was a quick run up the road to where I wanted to go: Ardrossan. Thing is, I’ve kind of always wanted to go there, as my great grandfather lived and worked there for years (he’s a County Down man like myself), he got married twice, and after he got married the sencond time around he came back home.
A cousin of my father done a family tree years ago, and was able to find out a few things, so that aided me in a way. As soon as I got to Ardrossan, I quickly found out that it is virtually merged into Saltcoats, which itself is kind of merged into Stevenston. Theres a nice beach in Satlcoats as well. The main thing I was interested in was seeing where my great grandfather had lived, and I found the street easily enough, it was just great to see roughly the area where had lived.
I also checked out the church where he ad married his first wife, the church was located in Saltcoats. After that, I went up to the graveyard in the local area, to see if I could find the grave of his first wife. Unfortuantely I wasn’t able to find it, as the area where all the old graves was a bit unkempt, but I suppose that is to be expected with graves going back that far.
The area overall seemed pretty nice, and from what I’ve read, they have become commuter towns for people working in Glasgow. There are boats from Ardrossan out to the Isle of Arran, and a wee place called Campbeltown, fi I had’ve had more time I would’ve checked them out.
I ended up staying in a B & B, it seemed pleasant enough, and pretty quiet, couldn’t ask for much more. Would I recommend Ardrossan and the surrounding area? I would actually, as it is somewhere different, a bit quieter, and the local area has great road and public transport connections to Glasgow and further afield.