SOUTHWEST SCOTLAND - BIRTHPLACE OF THE OPEN
Golf came late to the West of Scotland. In the mid 19th century, Old Tom Morris was instrumental in establishing some of the first tracks and found there was plenty links terrain perfect for the game. Now, Ayrshire has some of the best golf courses in Scotland with no less than three Open Championship venues and a host of other superior seaside options.
BIRTHPLACE OF THE OPEN
17th of October, 1860 and Old Tom Morris, Keeper of the Greens at Prestwick has invited colleagues; golf professionals from around the country to take part in the inaugural event they called ‘The Open’. Only eight showed up and played three rounds on Prestwick’s 12-hole course - all in one day! It was a start!
Today Southwest Scotland offers no less than three Open Championship venues along with a host of superb supporting courses, castles and cultural encounters. Our itinerary leads you to corners less explored guaranteeing you a rewarding encounter of this wonderful part of Scotland.
THE TOWN OF TROON
Royal Troon•Old Prestwick •Western Gailes
If you fly into Prestwick Airport or indeed take the train from Glasgow, the most striking vision is the number of golf courses laced along the coast like a continuous fescue ribbon. Royal Troon, Old Prestwick, Dundonald, Western & Glasgow Gailes are just a few names, redoubtable links courses that are available to us within minutes of our Ayrshire castle or country house.
CULZEAN CASTLE & TURNBERRY
Ailsa Course•King Robert the Bruce•
Robert the Bruce, the hero king who led Scotland to victory during the First War of Scottish Independence hailed from this part of the world and the fragmentary ruins of his family castle can be seen next to Turnberry Lighthouse and the famous Ailsa Course. Nearby is Culzean Castle with its luxury apartment gifted to President Eisenhower in recognition of his role in the Second World War.
Further south, 18th-century Dumfries House, set in its 2,000 acre estate, houses an unrivalled collection of Chippendale furniture and art where we will come for a welcome reception & tour followed by dinner in the Great Stewards Dining Room.
Join us in this unsurpassed part of the Home of Golf for 10-days of unforgettable encounters and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
THE CITY OF GLASGOW
Only a half hour from our base, the City of Glasgow, over the past 20 years has enjoyed a massive cultural revival. Spruced up and with a positive atmosphere in the streets, Glasgow’s atmosphere can be as chic as Milan or Paris. Sitting outside the many coffee bars or browsing through art galleries scattered throughout the town, the city’s reputation for friendliness is only surpassed by its native trenchant sense of humour.
From humble beginnings, the town of 'Glas Cau', meaning 'dear, green place', spread over the many gradual hills that surround the River Clyde. Trade with the New World made Glasgow a principal European port handling mainly tobacco and sugar. With coal abundant in the seams of Lanarkshire to fuel ironworks, the city took to a wide range of heavy industries, ship and locomotive building being the most conspicuous. The Clyde, formerly a shallow river, was dredged in the late 1700s and Glasgow became the world's leading shipbuilding centre.
ISLE OF DRAMS
The Machrie•Whisky Distilleries •
The island of Islay, Isle of Drams! Just south of Tarbert on the A83 is the ferry terminal of Kennacraig which serves the Inner Hebridean islands of Islay, pronounced 'Isla', and Jura. It is a two hour crossing to Port Ellen on Islay, some 25 miles by 20 miles (40km by 32km) and the most southern of the Inner Hebrides. In medieval times this was the power base for the Lords of the Isles who ruled Scotland's western seaboard and conducted a fairly independent existence from the rest of Scotland. For today's visitors the southern shores of the island around Port Ellen could offer all they might need with three world famous whisky distillers and a unique 18 hole golf course. It is possible to fly to Islay from Campbeltown on Kintyre or from Glasgow Airport with the airport being minutes away from the Machrie Hotel and Golf Course.
Islay Whiskies are in the premier division of Scotland's malt industries. The strong, peaty, smoky flavour of Islay whisky comes about with the peat burning process and the sea air in which they are stored giving them a tinge of iodine. Bowmore, Lagavulin, Laphroig and Bunnahabhainn are produced here, and each distillery offers tours and samples of their produce. There are a total of eight distilleries on the island.
Near Port Ellen is the island's most important artifact, the Kildalton Cross; made more than 1,200 years ago, it is inscribed with early Christian symbols and is unlike the cross found in Iona's cathedral. Bowmore, further north on the A846, was the capital of the island. It is another distillery town with its whisky production established in 1779. Overlooking Loch Indaal is a 200 year-old round church, which was designed to do away with corners in which evil spirits could hide. Around the bay is Port Charlotte with is Museum of Islay Life set in a converted church. There are examples of craft working tools, a maritime section and information of the standing stones and burial cairns of the area.
Islay is popular with bird-watchers, especially around the sandy bay at Craigens. Fishing for trout and salmon is excellent in the many rivers and lochs and there is easy accessibility to sea angling. Islay's importance as a medieval centre was focused around Finlaggan Castle, a seat of the MacDonalds and now a mossy ruin just off the road before Port Askaig.