Dalmellington in Ayrshire

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Dalmellington is a village in Ayrshire, southwest Scotland, 16 miles east of Ayr.

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The village is popular for its 1100s Motte, Old Graveyard, Dalcairney Water Falls, Dark Sky Observatory, Loch Doon with its impressive Ness Glen Walk, Hills / Mountains up to 2,600ft, Craigengillan Estate for Fishing, Kayaking and Pony Trekking, and Doon Valley Railway 3 miles west for Steam Trains.

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The Doon Valley Museum was situated in the village centre, giving information on the history of the area. The Museum was in four cottages built in 1744, to house Weavers and their families, now closed.

There are two bars in the village centre, popular for refreshments.

The Old Cemetery in Dalmellington centre contains the Mausoleum of the McAdam's, once owners of the vast Craigengillan Estate, and relations of John Loudoun McAdam, the road surfacing pioneer.

Some headstones in the Old Cemetery date from 1682, with skull and crossbones carved on them.

The Cemetery also has a Memorial in honour of Covenanters from the area.

Also in the village centre is the Motte from the 1100s. The top of the fortification is about 70ft above the village, with great views.

There was a Tower House on top of the Motte and buildings around it, all protected by wooden fences, ditches and water.

It is believed the fortification was built for Thomas Colville Le Scott, a prominent land owner in the Dalmellington area at that time.

Dalmellington Parish Church is on the north side of the village. The church was built in 1846 of local Dunaskin sandstone.

The Church was originally known as The Kirk o` The Covenant. The red doors are believed to symbolize the blood of Covenanting martyrs.

The large Cemetery at the church has great views all around. The hill in the distance is the 1,522ft Benbeoch, a popular hike.

On the south side, high above the village, is the War Memorial. In front of the War Memorial is a smaller Mining Memorial dedicated to Mineworkers of The Doon Valley.

The Dalcairney Water Falls are 2 and a half miles southwest of Dalmellington by Dalcairney Farm. There is a small car park by the Falls and a few walking routes in that area. The Falls are famous for freezing over in long cold spells, allowing dramatic photos. Map.

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is up on the hills in Craigengillan Estate, close to Loch Doon, 4 miles southeast of Dalmellington.

Loch Doon is about 5 miles southeast of Dalmellington, past the Observatory.

There is the Roundhouse Cafe at Loch Doon Dam, popular for snacks and has a telescope for viewing the Ospreys in summer. The Cafe also has a huge panoramic photo of all the hills Mountains with heights on them.

The Ness Glen walk departs from the Cafe, leading down through a Gorge into Craigengillan Estate. The sides of the Gorge are over 100 feet high in places, with the path having bridges and walkways over the narrowest points.

Loch Doon has a number of hills / mountains around it from 1,200ft to 2,700ft, ideal far all levels of hikers.

The loch is 7 miles long, with a narrow road all the way to the south side, popular with cyclists and for a slow scenic drive, with Loch Doon Castle at the south side.

There is also a forest road that leads from the south side of Loch Doon to the Stinchar Falls, 7 miles in distance, popular for mountain biking, passing the scenic Loch Riecawr.

Dalmellington History

The earliest history of Dalmellington is of the Motte from the 1100s.

Dalmellington expanded over the centuries as a market town.

1639, the Presbyterian's took control of Scotland, leading to wars with Anglican's in England. Many Dalmellington Presbyterian's, known as Covenanters, fought and died in the wars.

1740s, Cottages were built in the village to house Weavers and their families.

1800s, mining became the main industry in the valley, with the Cottages occupied by Miners and their families.

The Dalmellington Iron Works and Coal Mining dominated the area from the 1840s, until the Iron Works closed in the 1920s.

The last deep coal mine, Pennyvenie, closed in 1978, and the Chalmeston Open Cast Coal Mine closed in about 2010, ending the coal era at Dalmellington.

Wind farms may now be constructed on the sites of the mines.

Four of the miners cottages in the village centre served as the Doon Valley Museum, that has now closed.


Some headstones in the Old Cemetery in Dalmellington date from 1682, with skull and crossbones carved on them, some may be of Covenanters.

The Cemetery also has a memorial erected in 1929, in honour of Covenanters from the area.

The Reformation of the late 1500s led to Catholicism becoming illegal, being replaced by Protestantism.

Protestantism split into many forms, with Anglican adopted by many Churches in England, with the King being the head of these Churches.

Presbyterian was adopted by many Churches of Scotland, with Elders being the head of these Churches.

The Presbyterian Elders were basically running Scotland from the 1630s. Their followers were known as Covenanters.

Charles I, King of England and Scotland, tried to force his Anglican beliefs on the Scots, so he could have more control over Scotland. This led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, between Scotland, England and Ireland.

1687, James II, King of England and Scotland, brought an end to the wars over religion by allowing all to serve God in their own way and manner.

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