South Ayrshire

Girvan Harbour
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Girvan Harbour

Situated on the South Ayrshire coast at the mouth of the Water of Girvan, the resort town of Girvan lies 21 miles (33 km) south of Ayr. Created a burgh of barony in 1668, Girvan developed in the 18th and early 19th centuries in association with shoe-making, weaving and fishing. The arrival of the railway in 1860 brought holiday makers from Glasgow, attracted by the town's harbour and beach. While some fishing remains and Alexander Noble & Sons still build and repair boats, modern industries include distilling and the manufacture of textiles, chocolate and alginate for food products. To the northeast, at Grangeston, William Grant & Sons built a distillery in 1963 on the site of a World War II munitions factory to supply grain whisky for blending but also now produces Hendrick's Gin since its introduction in 1999. Rowntree (now Nestlé) began operations in 1979 and take 6% of Scotland's annual milk production to produce 30,000 tons of chocolate crumb used in the manufacture of some of Britain's most famous confectionery brands such as Kit Kat, Aero, Yorkie and Quality Street.

The town benefits from a community hospital (which opened in 2010 and is combined with a commercial pharmacy and police station), two primary schools, a secondary school (Girvan Academy), a local museum and arts centre (McKechnie Institute) and a library. The Girvan Folk Festival began in 1974 and takes place annually on the first weekend of May. The Carrick Lowland Gathering has taken place in Victory Park on the first Sunday of every June since 1982.

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