My Trip To Ayr

16 November 2016

My mental health has recently taken a dip. It's all a mix of uni, social life and work and its finally gotten to a point where, you know, enough is enough. So, I booked myself a wee hotel in Ayr.

Why Ayr?

I've always been fascinated by Robert Burns (Even if he was a fuckboy!) and I've never actually been to Ayr. It's also not too far away from where I'm currently staying so ... It seemed like a good choice.

The night before I departed, I booked myself into the St Andrew's hotel, helpfully located a 2 minute walk away from Newton-On-Ayr train station - and a 15 minute walk away from Ayr.

On the morning I was due to leave, I struggled waking up. I've recently been getting to a point where my body aches for 30-60 mins after waking up and then im normally okay, but that morning I legit could not move. So I just went back to sleep. In the end I got my train at, like, 1.15pm and arrived at Newton-On-Ayr around 2pm. Then I.... Actually got lost... I went the wrong way! But 15 minutes later I finally arrived in the hotel!
The owners seemed friendly, I got my key, dropped stuff off in my room and then wandered out. Which is when things went a bit pear shaped.

I found my way into Ayr without issue, but I couldn't find my bus stop to take a bus into Alloway. In the end I asked an old lady, who couldn't have been more helpful! The bus stop I was at was next to the town hall, and the bus was due to arrive within the next 10 minutes, but then.... The Ayr campus UWS graduation ended and they swamped the bus stop.

I had a panic attack. My bus arrived but at that point I'd just given up and wanted to go back to the hotel. After 20 more minutes, I was
eventually able to leave and waited for the bar's restaurant to open before having an AMAZING steak pie and a cup of tea to wam me up, so then I watched a wee bit of telly and went to bed.The next day, I woke up at around 7.30am and got myself sorted for the day, then I went back into the bar to have my breakfast, as a "full English" was included in the price of my room! The woman asked me what I wanted, and I said 'just everything' because I'm actually fussy and if I don't have a list in front of me I can't immediately think of what I want. Plus, Donald Trump had just been chosen as the President-elect so I thought 'fuck it' and ate my bacon, egg, sausage, toast, etc. Then I went back to my room, finished packing, checked out and made my way to the bus stop to get my bus to Alloway. I was determined this time! My plan was to go to Alloway, then in the afternoon, go to Dumfries House!

It didn't take toooo long; from outside the town hall, you get the number 8 towards 'The Loaning'. The bus driver I hadwas super friendly - and made sure to tell me when I was to get off the bus and where to go, plus the journey was only about 15-20 minutes so it really didn't feel too long.

Alloway is adorable. Like, the cutest little village I've ever seen, and it was the most peaceful location I think I've ever been in.
I managed to find the Burns' cottage quite easily, then walked into the gift shop to buy some tickets for the tour - it was only £7 as well because I am a student. Normally its £9 for an adult. Alongside my ticket, I was given a map of the area.

tour guides were also super friendly, joking that because I'm from Falkirk I'm okay to speak to (which was quite funny.) and they were dressed in historical dress, but unfortunately I didn't manage to take a picture of them, however they did let me join in a tour with the American tourists who'd come down to Scotland for 3 weeks, I got chatting to them a little bit and turns out they are a Curling team, and they like coming to Scotland because "we don't have to explain to anyone what Curling is!" Altogether, there was 20 of them, so we split into two groups and each group had a guide.

The tour
guide for my group, I can't remember his name so I apologise, gave us a little history behind the cottage itself - it was built by Robert Burns's dad, and was expanded upon - and used to also be a pub! I found out where the word 'threshold' comes from and I learned a lot about the family life of the bard. Additionally, I like to think that the sign of any good tour guide is the ability to be adjust their tours to their audience; throughout the information being given to us through each room, the guide made sure to make references to American culture (because of the American guests). From this I learned that Abe Lincoln was a fan of Burns, and had wanted to visit the cottage (which sadly never happened as he never made it out the theatre.) but his wife travelled alone to Scotland to visit the cottage. Which I, personally, found fascinating.

I love to hear that even hundreds of years ago, people would travel for something that important to their hearts, before tour operators and travel agents. But, I digress.

The tour of the cottage didn't last tooo long, maybe about 30 minutes, but then the guide offered to walk us around the village to the graveyard (where Robert Burn's parents are buried), along poets path, to the Burns' monument and to the museum (while also looking at Brig O' Doon - a setting for the poem 'Tam O' Shanter'). This was a totally unexpected extra, that wasn't included in the price of the tour, but was simply just a case of 'Would you like this? It's not a problem!'
which was so nice! The guide took his time to explain everything along the way, and was patient with us all as a crowd.

The American tourists had somewhere else to go, and so after the graveyard we were a wee bit pushed for time, so when we all departed ways at the museum, I thanked both guides, took a quick wander around the exhibits then made my merry way to take some pictures around the village. I tried so hard to get pictures of Burn's poems alongside where they were set (ie 'Tam O' Shanter' with the lamposts depicting the story in the back ground) to no real avail. (But thank you, Ross for telling me how to achieve this in future!)

At about 3 O'clock I decided I should probably head back into Ayr, and so I headed back to the cottage to pick up my suitcase, where the cashier told me that the next bus was in 5 minutes time. I waited at the bus stop and caught the bus - where I was greeted with another extremely friendly bus driver who drove the bus, and had banter with all us passengers. Stagecoach, you have some fabby drivers in Ayrshire! I was super impressed with my service.

I also just want to take this time to say thank you to the National Trust of Scotland staff - gift shop and tour guides at the Burns' Cottage for your excellent customer service on Wednesday 8th November 2016!
Once I was back in Ayr I decided to talk a walk to the beach, where I promptly took some pictures of the setting sun, and some selfies. I thought about getting some food, but I couldn't immediately see anywhere on the sea front, so I just sat for a while enjoying the sea breeze. Then I walked to the train station and and headed home!

I know that it wasn't a very long, or very interesting trip, but it was one that was well needed. Since returning, my head has been a lot clearer and I've felt a lot happier - and I want to go back to Ayr so badly!

I have to say, if you ever feel like you need an escape - just go! I know, I know that's easier said than done but listen;
Ayr is 40 minutes by train away from where I stay. Travel cost me about £15 (return.)
The hotel I booked was £35 for one night, including breakfast through

That's £50. Sure, I travelled a bit more, but my bus tickets were only around £2! It was a nice, budget, last minute trip and I promise it worked wonders.

Please, never suffer in silence. Everyone needs a break, so make sure you take one, for your own mental wellbeing. You're just as important as everyone else, and please, never, ever forget that.

I loved my trip to Ayr, and I look forward to returning in the near future.
Until next time;

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