Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
| Home | Contact | Events | Publications | Resources | Links | Membership | Interests | Activities | Notices |

Friday, 26 September 2008

18 Sep 2008 - "Smuggling in the Carrick area"

Our first meeting of the new session saw the welcome return of Tom Barclay, Information and Local Studies Librarian at Carnegie Library. Tom is a respected and "weel kent" figure to those of us who frequent his upstairs domain. On this occasion he chose to speak on "Smuggling in the Carrick area", a topic which balanced well with the talk on "Smuggling in Kyle" given at the joint Ayrshire societies’ meeting last March.

Tom chose to open with a portrait of Robert Burns culled, along with other excellent illustrations, from the SCRAN site which was new to most of us. The question posed by this painting was how much Burns had known of or been involved in local Carrick smuggling activities. As a sixteen year old, he stayed for some time with an uncle and aunt in the Kirkoswald area where a large proportion of the farming community played an active part in the trade. To a boy in his teens, it would all have seemed a great adventure and you cannot imagine that Burns would not have been aware of what was going on. Tom told in detail of the smuggling organisation, the dangers faced be the smugglers particularly when they were manhandling casks from ship to shore, tying them on to ponies as quickly as possible in order to escape the notice of the Excise men. Small wonder that a moonless night was preferred for this activity. Because this is our local area, we were all intrigued to hear which local farmers and farms were involved in smuggling, not least Shanter and Dowhill, now with a popular farm shop, and to be able to pick out places Tom mentioned on the local maps he showed.

Our thanks go to Tom for giving us such an interesting account of past events and personalities in our own backyard.

Sheila Dinwoodie

Older Postings