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Girvan in Ayrshire southwest Scotland is 21 miles south of Ayr with a long Sandy Beach, Boating Pond, many Cafe's, Restaurants, Bar Diners, Hiking Trails, Sea Fishing, and Boat Trips to the Island of Ailsa Craig.

Girvan History at the bottom of this page.

Girvan Shops Click On Map.

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Hotels Restaurants Self Catering
B&Bs Bars/Diners Nightclubs

Girvan Cross at Stumpy Tower. The road to the right at the Tower leads north to Ayr.
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Girvan Cross

The road to the left leads to the main shopping area, Ballantrae and Stranraer.

The road straight ahead leads to the Harbour and Beach.

Stumpy Tower was built in 1787 as a Jail.

Girvan Harbour is now mainly used for Pleasure Vessels and repairs to Fishing Boats.
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Girvan Harbour image

There is a Boat for Sea Fishing and Trips to the Island of Ailsa Craig.

Girvan Quay Zone is at the Harbour with Ailsa Craig seen here out to the left.

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This Pool and Fitness Centre opened in 2017, replacing the Beach Pavilion from 1968 and Pool from 1972. The old Beach Pavilion was popular for live music and discos in the 1960s and 1970s.

Girvan Beach with views over the Firth of Clyde and Island of Ailsa Craig, one of the top Beaches in Ayrshire.
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Girvan Beach image

See Tour of Ailsa Craig for information and photos of the Island.

Girvan Boating Pond and Play Area at the Beach with a huge Grassland for games and lazing around.

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There is a walk for about 1 mile south to another secluded Beach at the south side of the Town. Large Image

Girvan Pier is a good spot for a relaxing days Fishing and Diving during a high tide.

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Girvan Pier image

Girvan Golf Club is a popular Links & Parks Course with the first eight holes being right next to the sea.

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Golf Courses do not get closer to the sea than the first 8 at Girvan with fantastic views of the small Island of Ailsa Craig.
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The last ten holes are more inland of a parks course nature. Situated about half of a mile north of Girvan town centre. Price guide £13 - £25 round.

Byne Hill at 703ft is on the south side of Girvan. The 974ft Grey Hill is just to the south with a fairly good trail between the two.
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Byne Hill by Girvan image

Byne Hill gives great views over Girvan, and there is an Old Monument on the south side in memory of a Major Craufuird who served in India.

Hiking Photo Tour

Sawney Bean Cave is at Bennane Head two miles north of Ballantrae, 10 miles south of Girvan. This is the area where the tale of the Cannibal evolved.

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About 150 feet below this Car Park is the Cave with a steep path down from the right side, the left side path is even steeper.

The Coastal Road A77, between Girvan and Ballantrae, gives some fantastic views with little car parks for little beaches to visit.
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Culzean Castle & Country Park is 6 miles north of Girvan. This is one of the top Castles in Scotland to visit.

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Culzean gives an impression of how wealthy some Families were a few Centuries back, as along with the Castle, the vast Grounds and Gardens are impressive.

The coastal road A719, between Girvan and Ayr, passing Turnberry, Maidens and Dunure, is one of the most scenic in Scotland.
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Girvan History

Girvan is thought to have evolved from a tiny Fishing Village, with a number of Small Boats specializing in catching Herring where the River Girvan enters the sea.

Due to high Taxes imposed on Imported Goods in the 1700s & 1800s, Fishing Boats at Girvan were used for Smuggling, transferring Goods from larger Ships onto the Mainland without paying Taxes.

By the 1800s, Girvan Harbour was used to export Grain, Coal and Lime, with the Town growing more after companies from Glasgow opened Factories for the Weaving of Cotton-Cloth.

The Rail Line from Glasgow reached Girvan in 1860, leading to the Town being promoted as a Beach Resort. The Town has remained a peaceful Beach Resort with a number of Holiday Parks close by, a Fine Beach, Amusements, Kids Play, Boating Lake, Cafe's, Restaurants, Bar/Diners, and Golf Course.

Sea Angling out of Girvan on Boats was also a popular Attraction, especially during the Glasgow Fair Holidays in late July, a time when Mackerel could be caught 5 at a time, Cod over 20 pounds were common, and huge Conger Eels up to 7 feet long were the top catch.

25 foot Basking Sharks would often appear next to your boat, a good sign you were close to the Mackerel, a bit scary if you were on a 20 foot boat.

1900s early - Girvan Fish Market was busy with a large number of Fishing Boats up to 70 feet long based at Girvan, a great place to view the different Fish caught in the Waters around Girvan.

1940s - Alginate Industries Limited opened a factory 3 miles north of Girvan on the Coast, used to process Seaweed for use in Food such as Ice Cream to make it smoother, and put a head on Beer.

1940s - the Grangeston Munitions Factory was built during World War Two, about 2 miles north of Girvan, making Non Flash Propellant for Gun and Rifle Cartridges.

1963 - William Grant & Sons purchased the former Munitions Factory at Grangeston to build a Grain Distillery, now one of the largest Distilleries in Scotland, if not the largest. Cameronbridge in Fife, better known as Haig, is normally regarded as the largest Grain Distillery in Scotland and Europe.

Single Malt Distilleries produce less, as that process takes longer, malting the barley by watering it and drying it a few times for more taste, hence more expensive.

Grants Parent Company is Glenfiddich in Speyside, that specializes in the more expensive Single Malt.

Grants Family Reserve, formerly Grants Standfast, is an inexpensive Blended Whisky, with vast sales around the World. The Grain Whisky from Girvan is Blended with more expensive Single Malt to make the Family Reserve, how much, and what Single Malt is a Trade Secrete. Master Blenders spend decades working out the top Blends for different Markets and Price.

Grants now also produce Vodka and Gin, along with Blended Whisky up to 25 years old, at about £120 per bottle.

1960s - Grangeston Industrial Estate grew next to the Distillery with Companies over the years manufacturing Cloth, Clothing, Dental Floss, Surgical Clothing, and Wood Pellets for Heating.

1979 - Nestle opened a Chocolate Factory at Grangeston Industrial Estate, combining Ayrshire Milk, Sugar, and ground Cocoa Beans to make Chocolate Crumb, that is then transported to York in England where it is made into Chocolate Bars and Biscuits such as: KitKat, Aero, Rolo, Quality Street, and Yorkie.

1996 - a Large Modern Fish Market was built at Troon, 30 miles north, leading to the closure of the Girvan Fish Market.

Girvan Harbour holds a number of Pleasure Vessels, Boat Yard, small Fishing Fleet, Lifeboat, and Boat Link to the Isle of Ailsa Craig, about 10 miles west.

Ailsa Craig is popular for Boat Trips around to view Birds and Seals, longer Trips to visit the Lighthouse and Castle, and longer Trips to Hike to the top.

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