Friday, December 30, 2011

Dean Castle Country Park

This is a beautiful place to walk throughout the different seasons with so many huge trees and other beautiful things to see. There are also three rivers (the Fenwick Water and Craufurdland Water which flow into each other thus becoming Kilmarnock Water) and there are some pretty waterfalls too. The animals and birds seem very well looked after and we especially like to see the deer and to visit Scott, the Clydesdale, and Pip and Timmy the donkeys. Recently we saw llamas there for the first time and there is also a ‘Small Animals Park’ where children – and adults of course – can see the rabbits and other small creatures.
The cafe is very nice too and there are some lovely top-quality gifts in the glass cabinets to one side. There are flat screens around the cafe showing webcam coverage of nesting birds and other interesting things in the parkland which are difficult (if not impossible) to see with the naked eye.
All these photos were taken in the autumn, 2011.
Next to the cafe is a spacious giftshop where I have bought several books on the area. You will also find beautiful jewellery, toys and many other things. The man who works in there is really friendly and helpful. The other day I arrived after the building had closed for the day but he spotted me and came to unlock the door to see if he could help me with anything. He allowed me to come in to find some maps which I wanted and I really appreciated that. It wouldn’t happen in most other places!
I haven’t been inside the castle yet so will write something about that another time!

Lauder Bridge

This is an interesting footbridge found in Dean Road, built for pedestrians who found crossing the ford dangerous owing to frequent flooding and fast-flowing waters of the river known as the Kilmarnock Water.
It was constructed in 1905 in cast-iron, the brainchild of David Lauder, the owner of “Lauder’s Emporium” in King Street. Unfortunately, the bridge built actually collapsed during its opening ceremony!!
After the ribbon was cut and the civic dignitaries crossed the new bridge for the first time, large numbers of the public crowded on from each side until the metal suspension ropes snapped. The bridge, and all the people, fell into the river! A few were injured but fortunately none was killed.
After this catastrophe, the bridge was strengthened underneath by stone and concrete with metal struts to support the walkway and has stood here ever since.
I think it’s sad that there are now plans to demolish this (still perfectly serviceable) old bridge and to build a new walkway alongside the proposed road traffic bridge. It would surely be better to renovate this historical and rather dilapidated structure.

View from Lauder Bridge of the flooded road, soon to be a thing of the past after the new road bridge is built in 2012...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Water Statues

I'm always fascinated to see these unusual ‘water-themed’ statues in one of the pedestrianised areas of the town but it took me some time to find out anything about them.

Apparently, during a major refurbishment of the town centre in the 1970s, many shops were built over the top of the river known as ‘Kilmarnock Water’ (sometimes called Marnock Water) and the statues in King Street show where the water runs under the streets – a clever idea I think! 

I'd like to find out some information about the sculptor – I have drawn a blank so far.