Souter Johnnie's Cottage, Main Road, Kirkoswald (NTS COPYRIGHT)
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  GOOD THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN KIRKOSWALD
SOUTER JOHNNIE'S COTTAGE, MAIN ROAD
A small cottage in Kirkoswald that is looked after by the National Trust for Scotland. It was the house of Souter Johnnie, and as such you may go there to find out just who the heck Souter Johnnie was. Was he a real person, or was he just a fictional character in one of Robert Burns' poems? Go there now to find out, and when you do, come back and tell me, 'cause I'm still at a loss. That said, it may be the case that the fictional characters were based on real people that Burns knew, and that one of these may have been John Davidson, a shoemaker who lived and worked in this very cottage. But I'm saying no more on that. You'll have to go and find out for yourself.
KIRKOSWALD KIRKYARD, MAIN ROAD
In this old kirk graveyard there are people buried, as you might expect in a place such as this. But this one is a little different. You've been to see Souter Johnnie's house, had an ale or six, along with a meal, in the pub he once drank in, now see where he's buried. And if you still don't know who Souter Johnnie was, I'm still not going to tell you. So there. Other real people who feature as fictional characters in the poem Tam O' Shanter are Jean Kennedy (Kirkton Jean) and Douglas Graham (Tam O' Shanter), all interred here. Apart from the graves of dead people who Robert Burns knew, there are some really good examples of the stonemason's craft on a few wonderfully carved headstones.
CROSSRAGUEL ABBEY
This ancient structure sits on the A77(T) between Kirkoswald and Maybole, about 2 miles from Kirkoswald. The abbey was founded in the 13th century by the Earl of Carrick, and its remains are now guarded and maintained by Historic Scotland. Where ruins are concerned, those at Crossraguel are quite captivating. You get a good flavour of what the abbey must have been like long ago, and there is a practically complete gatehouse that oozes charm. Most definitely worth a visit. [Check out Historic Scotland's Crossraguel Abbey page]
CULZEAN CASTLE & COUNTRY PARK
This stupendous building and its grounds lie about 2 miles NW of Kirkoswald, slap bang on the coast. If you have a map (I recommend the Ordnance Survey Landranger series, which has a scale of 1:50000 or one-and-a-quarter inches to a mile. It's Sheet 70, 'Ayr & Kilmarnock' that you want), you'll see a narrow country road heading in that direction from Kirkoswald, and the walk is not too taxing. It's another National Trust for Scotland property (hey - maybe it's about time you joined them and saved yourself a load of money?) that is set amidst excellent views of forest and field and coast, all jigsawed up by many fine walks. I can guarantee that your first sight of the Culzean Castle will have your jaw bouncing off the ground. It is a castle and a half.
KILDOON HILL, NEAR MAYBOLE
This small hill is about 2 miles south of Maybole. If you have your map (and if you don't, pray tell me why?) you can pick up a minor road that heads in the direction of the hill, and there is a path of sorts that will lead you into a wide green expanse (commonly called a field) where you may make your way to the top. Views are stunning.
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Kirkoswald Kirkyard, Main Road in Kirkoswald
The little fairytale tower of Crossraguel Abbey, near Kirkoswald
Culzean Castle and gardens, with fountain
View from Kildoon Kill, near Maybole
Interior of Souter Johnnie's Cottage at Kirkoswald (NTS COPYRIGHT)
OS Landranger sheet 70 map is available in our shop

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