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The Stuff We Can't Fit In Somewhere Else in Skelmorlie, North Ayrshire*

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The Stuff We Can't Fit In Somewhere Else
  • Skelmorlie has a fully restored Royal Observer Corps underground monitoring post located in the hills around the town. This once Cold War bunker has been restored and is now open by appointment as a private museum. Want to find out more? Visit
  • Certainly all the bad outweighs the good.
  • pictures of skelmorlie at
  • The Paisley Gazette, December 21, 1872 Surely Britain, with its vast wealth, could spare these little spots of time-honoured ancestry, - of glorious imagination, - of immense labour, - and reserve them for the instructions of the people, in the comparison of races and their works! It was an illogical thing, to say the least of it, that, when the age was becoming specially a scientific one, when the government had taken up compulsory education, when such grand voluntary efforts were made (as the splendid building they were then in attested), when grants of parks, and pleasure grounds were made alike by government and noble private donors (as their town could again attest), that these little spots, hallowed by the ashes of a grand race of warriors, and the then most scientific and enlightened men in their generation. The very facts, evidences, and gauge marks of this branch of science, were being constantly removed and destroyed. He would draw their attention to one more object only, a very remarkable monument he had just discovered in Ayrshire, on the estate of the Right Honourable the Earl of Eglinton and Winton, near Skelmorlie Castle, the modern residence of John Graham, Esq., who had erected it in connection with a fine old feudal fortress of the Montgomeries, a family now represented by the Earl of Eglinton, and which race was immortalised by Burns, and their own well-known prowess- "There, where a sceptered Pictish shade Stalke'd round his ashes lowly laid, I mark'd a martial race portrayed In colours strong; Bold, soldier-featured, undismayed, They strode along." The late Earl had given the final touch of poetic romance to the chivalry of Scotland in his last tournament, on the accession to the throne of a youthful and beauteous Queen. Near this castle is a remarkable mound, with a long serpentine embankment, the two now being severed by a roadway, and on this mound, which is partly natural and partly artificial, he had discovered, in the course of excavations, under a thick deposit of vegetable mould, the evident growth of centuries, a paved platform in the shape of a segment of a circle; and, curiously enough, just covering that space in the points of the compass that the sun would never reach in this latitude on the longest summer day, an evidence, he considered of solar rites, either by completion of the solar fiery circle, at that time of year when it was only deficient to the extent filled by the platform, or to propitiate, or guard against the power of evil, whose abode was attributed by the magi to that part of the universe the sun never visited, - the north. The platform was eighty feet long and five feet wide, extended from about Northeast to Northwest, and showed evidences of an extended burning. It was so screened, both to sea and landward, as evidently not to have been used as a beacon, most conclusively proved from there being no indication of any part of the mound, towards the sea or elsewhere, having been used in the same way… Amongst the ashes and charcoal, on careful washing, were found quantities of small fragments of calcined bones, which seemed to him to imply a place of sacrifice…. The explorations on the Earl of Eglinton's estates have been extended by Mr. Phene beyond the limits of those mentioned in his lecture and comprise the examination of other tumuli, - one in particular in the Tare Glen, but very much smaller than that on which the paved platform was discovered, the latter being about seven hundred feet in circumference, sixty feet high on the north and south sides, forty feet where it joined on to the serpentine ridge, and one hundred feet on the west; while the ridge on the east also rises about one hundred feet from the burn, having been constructed on the originally lofty bank forming it's natural boundary. The smaller mound, on excavation, showed at the depth of three feet from the surface a thick tenacious clay pronounced by those working it to be the "till," but the excavation being persisted in, there was found beneath it a platform of stones apparently over the whole surface, and here charcoal was also discovered, but without bones, and in much less quantities. This mound appears very ancient, but is probably not nearly so (as to its remains) as the larger one, and the general surface presenting appearances of fire, which would lead to the impression that it was purely a beacon. One side of this has an embankment, and on it, a foot below the surface, was found a paved causeway. In this case, however, it presented no unusual appearance but was somewhat of a fort in shape, so far as it went.
  • Skelmorlie started off as a temporary accomodation for the 5 diamond mines which were situated 4km to the east of where Shuma Court is now. When the Earl of Smith-Gorman declared that the mining was to cease in 1288 the village became a ghost town for over thirty years until it started up again as mansions were built within the land of Eglinton for the Tea Barons of Glasgow. The mines were removed from the map by order of Sir William Laurie and were subsequently disguised as a Roman Fortlet.To this day people stay clear of the mines because of the "curse of Grace Campbell" which can still be heard talked about in the Eglinton Bar to this day.
  • I have some extremely fond memories of Skelmorlie as I brought up in the place and used to play as a kid in "Pogle's Wood" just behind Annatyard Drive and the "Bog" just below. A great place to spend one's childhood! In easy commuting distance of both IBM and Nat. Semi. in Greenock/Gourock and fifty minutes br train from Glasgow

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All the information in the Knowhere Guide has been contributed by users over the years. No one person is responsible for it all and not all contributors will agree with all the opinions included.

Parts of this information have been supplied by: Bill Wright, tim, Joyce Brydon, Brian Monahan, tiger, jenny stones, colin k, ...but not Robert Cathcart of course..., eleanor sclare, Bernd, yev got tae be kidding, Linda Simpson, Andy Craig, Graeme Finlayson, Toms weans, Me Again, Wilma Cannie, Jimmy Canevale, gary cook, SARAH, Lcee, Tim Spence, hazel, Roy Hunter, Rupert Williams, Alan Cook, generic, adam small, Julie, Bill Mutter, robert

Last updated: 2008-10-14

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