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Greenan Castle

We woke up a bit late for our journey today. On the agenda a nice bike ride up the coast of South Ayrshire here in the land of the kilted ones.  There is a rather handy cycle path that goes from town to town and acts as a convenient route to explore all that Ayrshire has to offer.

As I mentioned before we had already tried the route going north where we had an unfortunate bike breakdown which led to an amazing brunch, but South was definitely on the agenda today.  There is something pretty amazing about cycling alongside the ocean.  The wind, the taste of salt in your mouth, and the occasional mist to cool you off.  Well that would be the case, except here in the land of the kilted ones it's incredibly windy, the occasional mist is more of a constant spittle, and there is no need to be cooled off as it is remarkably cold most of the time anyhow.  Not to be deterred the ride continued.

Over beach promenades, around railway lines, and navigating cobblestone streets we maneuvered our way through the sites and sounds of Ayrshire's largest town Ayr.  It was The Goddess's first time visiting Ayr by way of cycle and the view from behind the handlebars was quite lovely.  Over bridges that were arched in the most classical of ways, through narrow alleys, and beneath clock towers it was exquisitely Scottish in site, taste, and sound.  The sounds being the scottish brogue The Goddess has come to love so much.

Eventually we had wound our way through the town and back along its coast to venture further south along the beachfront.  As the day was unusually sunny, throngs of locals were flocking to soak up any meager amount of rays they could.  Children, Elderly, Fit and Abled alike, the throng of people was almost unbearable on the bikes, but it was still really great to see so many people out and about.

The farther along the bike path we journeyed, the fewer the crowds became until they thinned out into a more manageable trickle and allowed us free reign again.  The bike path came to a more modern bridge over a tributary that emptied into the ocean.  It smelled GOD AWFUL but the swans, ducks, and cranes that flocked to this small triangle were absolutely stunning and The Goddess did forgive the stench long enough to take a few photos.

Farther down the bike path it broke once more from the beach and angled slightly into a residential neighborhood.  All the beach front properties had wide windows, beautifully manicured front gardens with grass, flowers, shrubs, and beach themed accessories alike.  The Goddess had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful row-boat upcycled as a raised flower garden.  Genius!  When the path came before a hill at the end of the residential neighborhood, The Goddess must admit she was considering turning around.  The path had led us over 7 miles and it was nearly as long to get back.  The Kilted One had a surprise in store and assured The Goddess it was in her best interest to continue on.  So up the hill, cursing, she went until the ground leveled out beneath her and she found herself on a solid path surrounded by freshly cut hay fields.  The views from the top were amazing, but The Kilted One assured her the best view was yet to come.

The path continued to wind around trees and brush alike, but after a short while The Kilted One led her out into the fields and he began to make his own path for The Goddess to follow.  The ground was muddied and not easy traversing with the bikes so we left them abandoned for the time being.  A simple crossing of a deep ravine and over another hill and there before her was The Kilted One's surprise.

An old abandoned castle perched on a sea cliff's edge.  It was magnificent!  The smallest of keeps, weathered and beaten down to mere ruins, but The Goddess was in love.  It had stood for centuries keeping it's own sentry over the changing landscape given the name Greenan Castle it was all that remained of time's gone by.

Greenan Castle had a few secrets in store for us.  Luckily there are still adventurous youths among our generation that had handily smashed in the bricked up entrance to the main floor... without them, The Goddess might never have been able to get in at all.  Unfortunately those same youths had desecrated the remains of the castle with gravity, drinking, and even worse as a makeshift bathroom.  It smelled horribly of old urine and there was so much garbage littering the floor that every step was trodden on broken glass.  The ground floor was essentially one large room with what looked like a hearth in the far wall.  Not much else to it at all, except for a spiral staircase to the right of the entrance.

The staircase was made of stones and as most stone staircases go was bowed in the middle from years and years of use.  The first handful of stairs were still all intact, but the last stairs that led up to the second floor were so weathered they were all but crumbled away.  It would have been impossible to explore the remaining secrets of the castle... had it not been for those vandals mentioned above.  They had fashioned a rope swing of sorts that hung from the cross bars above the stairs.  It was with a great deal of effort (The Goddess's upper body strength has never been something to brag about) and courage but she made it to the second floor.

Whatever roof was once atop the castle had long since dissolved in time.  The top floor remained exposed to the elements of weather and nature alike.  Trees grew in bricked windows and the walls that stood so strong over the ages now housed life to plants and birds alone.  The views from the window slits cut into the stone were stunning.  It looked out to the sea from the western window, the city of Ayr from the northern window, and further along the coast from the eastern side.  If not for the graffiti on the walls, the clever rope swing, and the further bits of broken glass, it would have been possible for The Goddess to envision this as her secret treasure.

It still remains her favorite place in all of Scotland and The Goddess will forever cherish in her heart that sturdy bit of rubble for the rest of her days.