Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fairlie 1967

I posted this picture of Fairlie, Ayrshire on my website a few years ago. That page recalls how I original thought the photograph was of Brodick on Arran and how I traced the actual locality of the scene. It includes a recent (2004) picture by someone from North Ayrshire Council.

I've had a number of reponses since from people who were once connected with the area.

The latest was from Gail Kennedy who wrote
I lived with my grandparents at 8 Allanton Park Terrace, Fairlie from 3-18yrs. My house was the first of the tenament buildings (nearest the pier quay side) you can see in your 1967 photo. My grandfather worked in the famous shipyard you refer to, the sheds which can be seen in the photo and I went to Sunday school in St Pauls church. It has a Fife yacht on its spire. I have a pencil drawing I did at 14yrs of the view from my grandparents' window and it shows the shipyard sheds in quite detail - like a zoom in of your photo. I used to walk most nights with my grandfather down Fairlie pier where the steamer The Glen Sannox made daily trips to Arran. I have memories of colourful hippies coming off the boat after the infamous rock festivals held on Arran in the 60s and I also recall one night when some cows which were being herded off the boat, fell off the pier into the water - I think a couple drowned. Fairlie also used to have a kipper smokehouse. I last visited about 10 years ago and it has changed a lot. The shipyard no longer exists sadly but there was a brilliant documentary on TV about the beautiful Fife yachts and there is also now a company in England called Fairlie Restorations which restores the yachts to their former glory. It was wonderful to see the 1967 photo especially as, apart from my own drawing, I don't have any. It was especially meaningful because it actually shows the house I lived in and the chalet next door, which my grandparents kept an eye on for the summer visitors who owned it. An enormous dead basking shark was once washed up in the bay in front of the house at Fairlie. I still remember the smell and watching the 2 enormous trucks they needed to remove the carcass. Fairlie will always have such a special place in my heart - thank you for bringing it to life again.


  1. So many memories of Fairlie came flooding back last night - going on the steam train to Mallaig from Fairlie pier with my mother and my new Danish stepfather ( memories about that trip a tale in itself)-stories my grandfather told me about the NATO boom defence (which was used for secret operations during the war) on the other side of the Pier. Annie's-shop a little hut just down from the church run by a lady called Annie who fed the beautiful silver tabby cats who led a feral existence strangely beside the railway tracks. I also found a write up last night by the railway master who came to Fairlie in the 60's from St Monans in Fife -he mentions people individually who were friends of my grandparents- Fascinating.Also I knew Ian Hamilton aka Stone of Destiny whose mother lived in Dunora - Fairlie- also visible in the photo as I played with his children who visited their gran in the summer months. He mentions his 'escapades' at Fairlie in his book ' A Touch of Treason' - ofwhich I have a signed copy sent from his home in Connel. He was a diver and at one point was looking for a sunken ship but also was part of a movement called The Free Fishers of Fairlie. He had connections also with Kelburn castle- also mentioned in his book. Told me tales myself as an 11 year old of his days hiding out on the moor while police looking for him after the Stone of Destiny removal from Westminster.We went with his son Jamie and daughter Aileen to find an old plane that had crashed up there on the moors and then the mist came down- we had to trust Ian to get us safely back down which he did. I'm amazed my grandparent let me go with the infamous Mr Hamilton as they were quite strict.
    In the engine sheds at the other side of the Pier sometimes people like Hughie Green overwintered their private boat for repairs - I think his was called the aurora borealis. That was near where the old kippery kiln was -from Fairlie's early days as a fishing village. Other memories- swimming in the lovely warm sheltered water- at a secretive sandy place called locally- The Black Rock . I probably have higher than normal levels of radiation !!!as this was heated by Hunterson power station which incidentally used to be so pretty lit up at night before they brought the ore terminal along in the 70's. I have a photo somewhere of my friend and i burning an effigy of Gordon Cambell at the time the ore terminal was being proposed. There is a placard which says- 'we oppose this plan of Gordon Campbell's to turn this village into a shambles !!!' It went ahead however.

  2. I was the Station and Pier Master at Fairlie during the 60s. My web site is at:

    I also wrote tha Church site at:-

    You can find a lot about Fairlie there. In your photo from the old pier, some small boats can be seen on the slipway. One was named 'Made of Plywood'!

    Just celebrated my 90th birthday last week!

  3. Maybe a bit late in life but I am one of the "Free Fishers of Fairlie" found this site whilst reminiscing old times. I was a diver in those days with Ian Stevenson, The site of the galleon is still embedded in my memory, hopefully one day someone will, with modern technology finish that which we started, to uncover the galleon as described by Defoe