WestKilbride.co.uk http://www.westkilbride.co.uk Just another WordPress weblog Mon, 02 Nov 2009 09:42:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.5 en hourly 1 West Kilbride’s Community Craft Initiative wins lottery http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/112/west-kilbride%e2%80%99s-community-craft-initiative-wins-lottery/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/112/west-kilbride%e2%80%99s-community-craft-initiative-wins-lottery/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2009 09:42:31 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=112 The West Kilbride Community Council Initiative Limited (WKCIL) have a big reason to celebrate. Not only have their plans for converting the Barony Church into a cutting edge Craft Centre for local craftsmen to showcase their skill been met with approval from the Big Lottery committee, they have been awarded £870,560 in funds from the Growing Community Assets programme for the same.

The Lottery Committee noted with appreciation that the quality of the plans- prepared and drafted meticulously over a year by the Barony Project Team- and gave recognition to their outstanding application through the grant.

The application was prepared by Craft Development Manager, Maggie Broadley and the actual building designed by local resident and nationally renowned architect Angus Kerr. The team worked on the project tirelessly to ensure that they got a grant from the Lottery Committee, and now they’ve achieved just that.

Eddie Wood, Chairperson of WKCIL, stated: “There is still work to be done to secure the match funding but the Directors believe the development of this Centre will play a significant part in securing the long term future of the village. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us, with special mention to our local fundraisers.”

The Craft Centre is intended to be a state of the art studio for local craftsmen and their handiworks, in order to generate national and local interest in the town.

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Visit from MP Michael Russell opens doors for West Kilbride http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/106/visit-from-mp-michael-russell-opens-doors-for-west-kilbride/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/106/visit-from-mp-michael-russell-opens-doors-for-west-kilbride/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2009 08:48:41 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=106 A visit from Scottish Government Minister Michael Russell proved a windfall of interest and support for the West Kilbride Initiative Board.

Mr. Russell, responsible for the departments of Culture, External Affairs and Constitution, had paid a visit to the Village Gallery, Craft Studios and Barony on Saturday, August 19th. He was particularly impressed by the work of local craftsmen being showcased at the new crafts exhibition.

His timing couldn’t have been better either. The Board had launched a leaflet propaganda to gather donations from residents to support various village regeneration and initiative projects. Active support is needed from the community for the developers to keep up with their work.

Mr. Russell’s interest in the Board’s initiative and standards of achievement has already gotten things moving. Plans are already underway to refurbish the Barony into a cutting edge craft exhibition space with education and workshop areas, and they have already been approved by the North Ayrshire Council. The bids are to go before the Lottery Committee by end October, where hopefully they will continue to meet with the same enthusiasm and approval.

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Robert Simson, West Kilbride’s Favorite Son http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/54/robert-simson-west-kilbrides-favorite-son/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/54/robert-simson-west-kilbrides-favorite-son/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 20:44:25 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=54 In West Kilbride, there exists a breathtaking structure, one of the oldest residences in the town and surrounding areas. A beautiful mansion, dating back to the start of the second half of the 17th century, Kirktonhall House is the area’s premier historical point. It was the birthplace of famed mathematician Robert Simson, of whom there is a monument nearby erected.

Robert Simson was a man born into a family that had his path decided for him. As many other families did in that era, the children were expected or generally followed in the footsteps of their fathers, or entered professions guided by their families. Robert Simson was no different. He was originally intended to enter the church. Logic was too string within him though and he decided on pursuing mathematics via university in Glasgow, where he gained his degree.

Naturally inclined towards numbers and logic, Simson caught wind of a possible chair position at the Glasgow University. Inclined to pursue that opportunity, he decided to move to London and study for another year. Upon his return to Glasgow, he was given the position of professor of mathematics at the university. He held this position for 50 years.

His work consisted of early critiques and analysis of many of the worlds earliest practitioners of mathematics and those who were published in the field of geometry itself. His first published work, in 1723, was a critique on Euclid’s Porisms. Between his first publication and 1749 he had 5 greatly known and popular works under his belt, and was continuing on with more. A multi volume work on Euclid authored by Simsin was showcased in 1756. This volume became the standard text that was used on the subject during that era..

Some of his work on Apollonius and Euclid were restored and reproduced for private consumers and buyers, after his death. They were popular even then and the market had a steady demand for the mathematicians writings. Having had such an influence, a part of the triangle is sometimes granted a name in his remembrance and honor; the pedal line. Sometimes called the Simpson Line, it’s done so in his honor for all the work he had published and the impact he had on the mathematics community.

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The Museum of Ayrshire County Life & Costume http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/52/museum-of-ayrshire-country-life-and-costume/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/52/museum-of-ayrshire-country-life-and-costume/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 20:28:42 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=52 Just down the coast, about 15 km from West Kilbride is a town called Kilwinning. Every town has a story, much like everyone has a tale to tell, and so does the former village of Dalgarven. Gathering up their history and what makes them individual and unique provides a way for them to show who they are to others who would take time out of their day to learn something new. This is exactly what the Country Life and Costume Museum of Ayrshire does by showing us many examples of that unique existence.

A flour mill exists on site, hearkening all the way back to when Kilwinning Monks originally maintained one back in the 14h century. Milling has been a staple of the area’s economy in ages past. Though the wheel turns rarely now, the original methods and means with which the monks milled can still be seen. The structure currently in place was built in the 1600s and rebuilt because of a fire that ran through it in the late 1800s.

River Garnock flows through the area, providing those with a more natural eye and taste a sight to behold. You can stroll through the area which is rich with many species of wildflowers and a large meadow teeming with flowering species during the spring season. If you’re a bird watcher, or someone you’re with is, take them on this walk as well. Heron, swallows, and many other species of birds and wildlife call the area home. Definitely a nature lover’s destination of choice.

If all the walking and outdoor activity has worn you out, you can finish off your day by visiting the museum and stopping at its shops. Grab some tea and relax while reading or people watching or stop in at the farmhouse kitchen for a light lunch. Food and drink are plentiful for those who visit and expend their energy at this great destination. While contemplating your next move, you could also visit one of onsite antique shops as well. At this museum, there’s a little something for everyone and all tastes. Unforgettable and definitely a destination highly recommended for those who are looking for something new and exciting.

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The Castles of West Kilbride Scotland http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/44/castles-of-west-kilbride-scotland/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/44/castles-of-west-kilbride-scotland/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 17:03:09 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=44 The area in and around West Kilbride in Ayrshire Scotland is the home of four standing castles. As with many towns of Scotland, the castles are an integral part of the area’s rich history that goes back many centuries.

Built in the 15th centurury, Law castle was a gift to the Princess Mary, the oldest daughter of James the II, for her marriage to the Earl of Arran. Law Castle is comprised of five floors that are connected by a stone, spiral staircase and is available as one of Scotland’s most luxurious holiday rentals. It has been completely refurbished and is also available for wedding parties and ceremonies. The restored kitch is completely equipped for catering to the needs of wedding parties.

Portencross Castle is located near West Kilbride, is the fourth castle belonging to the Boyds. The sad history of this castle is that it was the departure point for the funeral boats carrying the kings of Scotland to their final resting place on the Isle of Iona. This castle is not open to the public but there is a public parking area nearby that is used for recreational purposes. Portencross Castle is typical of the area and era in which it was built. It has lots of history as several Stuart Kings stayed in the castle on their travels in and around the area. Unfortunately the castle is closed to the public because it is in a hazardous state of disrepair.

Crosbie Castle otherwise known as Crosbie Towers is just on the outskirts of West Kilbride. The home of Sir Ranauld Craufurd during the 13th century and was rebuilt in the 17th century after a tower was demolished. It is not inhabited today and was semi-demolished in 2007 after storm damage to the external walls of the castle. It is situated in the center of a caravan park also known as Crosbie Towers.

The last castle in the area of West Kilbride is Hunterston Castle. It was originally built in the 13th century by Hunter, Laird of Hunterston. It was strategically built at the mouth of Clyde, which is the main access by sea to Glasgow. Today, this castle still hosts clan gatherings and members of the clan from all over the world attend. The current Chieftain of Clan Hunter, is Pauline Hunter. The walled gardens of this magnificent castle are currently being restored and replanted.

There is much history in the grounds of these castles and whether you go for the history or for just to see a castle first hand, this would be a trip well worth the time and money.

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West Kilbride’s History http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/34/west-kilbrides-history/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/34/west-kilbrides-history/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 15:07:07 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=34 Where is West Kilbride? It is a village in the North Aryshire, Scotland. Located on the west coast by the Firth of Clyde and looks across the waters to the Isle of Arran and Goat Fell. The districts of Seamill and Portencross, combined with West Kilbride, are considered together to make up a small town with a population less than 5000 around 2001.

It is believed, that West Kilbride is named after the Celtic Saint Brigid of Kildare who, according to local history, established her church sometime around 500AD. The West was added in front of Kilbride to differentiate it from other communities that commemorate St. Bride in the area.

West Kilbride and the surrounding area hold a lot of history. There four castles in the area that are still standing. Law Castle which can be rented for a holiday, as well as Portencross Castle, Hunterston Castle and Crosbie Castle (also known as Crosbie Towers). A park in the West Kilbride area bears the name of Crosby, the maiden name of William Wallace’s mother. One of the oldest houses in West Kilbride is Kirktonhall House. This house, dating back to the 1660’s, was rebuilt partially and extended between 1791 and 1868. Currently it is used as office for the North Aryshire Council.

Although mostly a rural area, farming only makes up about 1.4% of the local employment. In addition to the famous Ayrshire potatoes, crops such as sweetcorn, root vegetables and berries are grown. Livestock, primarily cattle and sheep, are also farmed here. Other areas of employment are real estate, rentals, manufacturing, health and social services and education make up the majority of the employment. It is home to Airtricity which is a wind turbine field located just above West Kilbride and Seamill.

West Kilbride is becoming known as “Craft Town Scotland”. There are several craft studios where you can actually see the raw material converted to the final product and you may buy straight from the studio. You can also go online and shop the studios. This was an initiative to contribute to the growth of the area culturally and through retail.

Other features of this small town are the West Kilbride Primary School and beautiful West Kilbride Institute and Public Hall. The school opened in 1983 and the Institute opened in 1900. West Kilbride has the distinction of being the first Scottish town to host a Scarecrow Festival. A championship 18-hole golf course, the West Kilbride Golf Club, is located in Seamill with the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish coast.

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The Towns of West Kilbride http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/49/the-towns-of-west-kilbride/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/49/the-towns-of-west-kilbride/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2009 06:09:42 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=49 West Kilbride is itself a village in the North Ayrshire region, but like many rural towns and those who have crawled through the fields to merge into an indeterminable mass, it has joined with two others as well. Kilbride, Seamill, and Portencross are generally considered to be one single community, even though they all have boundaries of their own. Together, as of 2001, they had a combined total population of around 4,000.

West Kilbride was thought to have been a spot visited by an early Celtic saint, Brigid, to establish the early foundations of her church. The name itself suggests there was a cell or a group of her worshippers in the area at one point. Also in the area, you can find remnants of Old roman influence in the form of a fort that resides where the village of Gateside exists. Several of the old roads still exist and many Roman finds from the area are recovered ansd given to museums across Scotland. William Wallace’s uncle Crauford held a home in the area just the north of the village at one point.

Seamill is often listed merely as part of Kilbride, however it is indeed a village of its own. A big grain watermill, one of the oldest buildings in the area lends its name to the village. Recreation seekers will find the excellent West Kilbride Golf Club here as well as the Seamill Hydro; a hotel with all the amenities one could want.

The old harbour of Portencross is a very small, naturally occurring tidal inlet which is actually part of the Portencross Castle property, for which the area is noted for. Fishing is of course a mainstay in the area, and a North harbour was built some distance away from the castle itself to facilitate access. The Portencross Harbour Trust maintains the harbour and owns the property. The one pier in the area was built in the prime age of steamers and ship travel and trade, but compared to many other lands of the time, it was used far less than normally was done.

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West Kilbride the Craft Town http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/46/west-kilbride-is-craft-town-scotland/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/46/west-kilbride-is-craft-town-scotland/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2009 17:49:34 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=46 Just off the coast of the Isle of Arran, you will find a town hidden away where crafts are designed and made right in the workshop and displayed in a studio. This is a first hand opportunity to see fine quality craftsmanship by a single maker, ranging from established to just starting out.

Presently there are eight craft studios dedicated to producing high quality work. Raw materials are gathered, designed and transformed on the very premises of the studios. Most studios are opened Thursday through Saturday, but they are sometimes open at additional times. Although work is available to be purchased at the studios, the craftsman may not be in attendance as they have clients and can be called away at short notice.

The first two studios were purchased by the Moffat family in 2002 and stood behind the original concept ever though there were setbacks with the original plans. Crafts range from basket work to textiles to ceramics to jewelry and metalwork. Local volunteers man the initiative centre and the crafts area and are readily available to answer any questions that you might have.

While Craft Town is truly awe inspiring, there are other things to see in the town centre. If you like architecture, not far from the railway station there are some cottages that have been restored and a museum as well. The Glen is a wonderful place to stroll along all the green paths and observe the wooden sculptures, especially the large wooden dragon.

Another fact that makes this an incredible place is that all profits are reinvested within the town to continue to develop the cultural and retail of the area. So whether you are out shopping for fine, high quality crafts and gifts or just want to see what the talk is all about, Craft Town Scotland is a great place to visit. If you are looking to purchase from the crafters, it is advisable that you call ahead before traveling to make sure the studio is open for business.

Remember there are other things to do in the area as well once you have acquired your giftware from the studios.

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Young William Wallace http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/40/young-william-wallace/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/40/young-william-wallace/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2009 16:23:01 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=40 What led the young William Wallace down the path to greatness? To determine that, this article discusses Wallace’s early years and some of the motivations behind his struggle against the English in 13th century Scotland.

William Wallace has mysterious beginnings, as most legendry heroes do. Wallace is one of Scotland’s greatest heroes and the inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character in the movie Braveheart. Not only do reports of his life remain undecided on whether his father’s name was Malcolm or Allen, but even his birth year is debated. There is no question, however, that he is the standard for freedom and peace in his Scottish homeland.

To set the stage for William’s entry into the history books, it is well-documented that the short years of his life were filled with conflict. A civil war was on the horizon because the ruling house of Scotland, which had been firmly in place for over 200 years, vanished with the death of its only remaining heir, a three-year old Norwegian princess. Instantly, two strong nobles claimed the throne, and turned to the English king, Edward (known as Longshanks because of his unusual height), to mediate the dispute. He created a document that more or less allowed England to take possession of Scotland, thereby turning it into an occupied nation. William Wallace grew up hating the English and fighting for the freedom of Scotland.

William Wallace was a younger son of a nobleman and as was the custom in the 13th century, expected to take up a career in the church. He lived with his uncle, a church cleric, while he was a young teen and gained a classical education. His uncle impressed young William with moral precepts that included liberty and peace. This early training formed much of William’s attitude and behavior over the rest of his life.

At 17, William began his formal education in Dundee, Scotland. It was here that he formed close ties with several other young men who would later follow him in his adventures. William was a striking young man, reputed to be well over six feet tall. In a time when the average height of a man was nearer five feet, his imposing presence must have commanded respect and admiration immediately.

All the while William was growing up, Scotland had been a morass of in-fighting among its nobles and struggles against English occupation. William’s family had been torn apart, his father and older brother escaping to southern Scotland, his mother seeking refuge with relatives in the north. When William was 19, his father was killed by an Englishman. Fueled by his hatred for the English scoundrel who killed his father, one day William found himself ringed by a group of English youths who taunted him about his clothes and demanded he give up his dirk (the Scottish term for a long dagger). Instead of giving up his dirk, William used it to kill the leader of the group, the son of the English constable of Dundee Castle.

Branded by the English as an outlaw, William was forced to leave Dundee and hide out with another of his uncles. Unfortunately, he met up with an English garrison one day while fishing. Several of the soldiers demanded he turn over his day’s catch and the leader of the group drew his sword when Wallace asked to keep half of it for his elderly, blind uncle. Once again William was forced to fight for what was his in the first place. Armed with only a fishing pole, William managed to maim or kill all the soldiers who had attacked him. Once more he was forced to run, hiding in the northern woods.

For at least five years, William waged a 13th century guerilla war against the English. He attacked and murdered at will in an attempt to avenge his father’s death and his own ill treatment at the hands of the English. He became a sort of Robin Hood figure to the Scottish people, while striking fear into the hearts of his enemies. Garnering the support of the locals and building up his military strength and reputation, William soon took up his place in Scottish history as a freedom fighter.

William Wallace lived a short but courageous life. He was captured, tried and found guilty of treason at the young age of 33. His execution at the hands of the English was prolonged, brutal, and torturous.

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Scotland’s Scarecrow Festival http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/38/scotlands-scarecrow-festival/ http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/38/scotlands-scarecrow-festival/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2009 15:57:29 +0000 admin http://www.westkilbride.co.uk/?p=38 First hosted in West Kilbride, Scotland, the scarecrow festival was an initiative to help promote spirit and civic pride within the community and to celebrate its beginnings as an agricultural community. The festival is now widely embraced by West Kilbride residents and businesses.

This is now a very large annual event involving all the residents and many businesses who proudly make and display hundreds of different scarecrows, some very humorous around the community including their gardens. Although the Scarecrow Festival is open to everyone, scarecrow makers do have to complete an entry form and in the past there has been a theme for the scarecrows. The entry fees all go towards the festival and as long as their scarecrows are up by opening day, anything goes. As an added incentive, scarecrow makers can buy scarecrows on stick packs. These packs tell the entry maker everything they need in order to completely make a scarecrow on a stick for the festival. These packs go on sale at the beginning of July. The packs and the entry forms can be found and purchased at some of the craft shops around town, but don’t wait to pick yours up.

This festival is a week long event that opens with a huge parade through West Kilbride and ending at the Kirktonhall Glen where there is a host of afternoon activities for the entire family. This is a free festival for everyone to enjoy and is scheduled for the last part of July in Kirkton Glen in 2009.

In Kirktonhall Glen, you will be amazed at the scarecrows on exhibit, as well as taking in the museum, the galleries and of course your choice of refreshments and meals, not to mention the games, entertainers and the music that will also be available for your enjoyment. Each day there is a list of the events taking place along with the timetable for each so make sure to check for events of interest to you. By doing that, you won’t miss something that you’ve been waiting to see.

Although first hosted in West Kilbride, the Scarecrow Festival is now celebrated in other areas of Scotland, such as Montrose, Thornton Hough Village Green, and Kettlewell. Typically the festivals are free and fun for the entire family however they are also used as a fundraising vehicle to raise money to refurbish some buildings and other community and charitable works. It is definitely something worth checking out.

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