An article from

'The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland'

Published by A.Fullarton and Co. - 1848

Ayr (The)

AYR (The), a river which rises at Glenbuck in the eastern extremity of the parish of Muirkirk, in Ayrshire ; and, after a course of about 33 miles nearly due west, in which it divides the county at its broadest part into two nearly equal portions, falls into the sea at the town of Ayr, where its estuary forms the harbour. It is for some miles of its course a small rivulet, flowing among holms and haughs through an open moorland district; but, being joined by the Greenock, and 'the haunted Garpal,' it becomes a large body of water. It is augmented by 'the winding Lugar at Barskimming, and by 'the brawling Coil' at Shaws. " Most of its course for the last 20 miles is bounded by steep rocky banks, generally covered with wood, which in several places are highly picturesque. In a few spots the banks open, and some enchanting holms are found between them; but in many places the river is seen for some miles together, dashing and foaming in a deep and narrow chasm, rendered dark and gloomy by the bulky foliage of the trees which overhang the stream." [Alton's 'View,' p- 59.]
The Ayr is subject to heavy floods during winter. After continued rains in the upland districts through which it flows, in the language of Burns,

     "from Glenburk down to the Ratton-key,
     Auld Ayr is just one lengthened tumbling sea."

Sorn castle, Ballochmyle, Auchencruive, and Auchinleck, may be mentioned as worthy of notice for their beautiful situation on the banks of this river. The Ayr was anciently named Vidogara. The etymology of the present name of the river is doubtful. In its bed is procured a species of claystone which is well-known to artisans by the name of 'Water-of-Ayr stone,' and proves a fine whetstone. Salmon are caught in the mouth of the river during the summer-season ; but the fishing in this river is not nearly so productive as that in the Doon.




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