When I arrived in Mauchline I was handed a free plate of haggis, neeps
and tatties. I'm tempted to say that I must have looked like I needed
it, as I had walked from Tarbolton, a wee place with little in the way
for visitors. But in fact I
had stumbled upon some sort of event connected with the birthday of
Robert Burns, and there was singing and dancing and the handing out of freebies.
Mauchline is very much a town associated with Burns. He stayed there,
ploughed furrows in a nearby farm, drank there, made love there, had
many babies who sadly did not survive for long, and got up to things of
a Masonic nature.
To be honest, if you're not excited by Robert Burns then there's not
much to keep your interest in Mauchline. Apart from the bard, you can
catch a glimpse of the town's defunct decorated box-making industry, as founded by
brothers Andrew and William Smith some considerable time ago.
But while you could be hard pushed to eke out a whole day
here, if you combine it with Tarbolton and the pleasant
walk between the two towns,
the day is not
half bad. But don't expect
much in Tarbolton.
Apart from the
Bachelors' Club, about
the only good thing
Tarbolton is the road out of it.