Things to Do in Ayr
With rugged mountains in the north and gentle rolling hills in the south, the Isle of Arran encapsulates the diverse beauty of the Scottish landscape. Visitors will find an array of attractions, including Neolithic standing stones, pretty fishing villages, castles, whisky distilleries, and beaches, as well as numerous hiking trails.
Machrie Moor Standing Stones (Machrie Moor Stone Circles) is a collection of six prehistoric monuments dating back to the Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age. They were found and first recorded in 1861 by Irish naturalist James Bryce, who numbered them from 1 to 5. In addition to the standing stones, there are hut circles, ancient cisterns and burial cairns on site. It is believed that the most prominent stone circles were strategically placed so as to be as widely visible from every vantage point nearby. Rising starkly from the middle of rural fields, the three tallest pillars are made of red sandstone with the tallest at 18 meters. It is estimated that the stones were used for astrological purposes, often representing legendary figures in ancient folklore. The mystery and ancient history surrounding these stone structures makes for them particularly fascinating to visit. Summer Solstice is a notable time to see them, as they are specifically lit at sunrise at this time — which historians claim may point to their significance.
Lochranza Castle is a medieval castle on the Isle of Arran in southwestern Scotland. It sits on a narrow strip of land that juts out into Loch Ranza, and even though it is in ruins, it is still a fascinating castle to visit. Originally the castle was an old hall house built in the 1200s, but in the late 1500s it was incorporated into a newer tower house. The older castle had its main entrance one level up from the ground level. It was accessed by wooden stairs that could be removed if the castle was under attack. When the castle was rebuilt, the entrance was moved to the ground level.
Lochranza Castle was most likely owned by the MacSween family at one time, though ownership changed around the time of its reconstruction. When the tower house was built, the tower stood five stories tall. Today it is possible to access the ground level at the north and south ends of the castle as well as parts of the upper level.