A local government area of SW Scotland created in 1996, South Ayrshire rises eastwards from the Firth of Clyde into the western Southern Uplands and includes part of the area traditionally known as Carrick. Its principal settlements - Ayr (the administrative centre), Troon, Maybole, Girvan, Prestwick and Ballantrae - lie on its coastal plain, but the region is perhaps best known for its associations with the national bard Robert Burns (1759-96) who was born in the village of Alloway. Key locations in South Ayrshire linked to transport and tourism are its international airport at Prestwick, its championship golf courses at Turnberry and Troon and Scotland's first Country Park at Culzean Castle. It has an area of 1230 sq. km (475 sq. miles), nearly 50 per cent of which is improved grassland, rough pasture and moorland. Agriculture is a major economic activity in the uplands and to the north of Ayr and Prestwick there are aerospace and hi-tech industries.