Things to do in Millport, Ayrshire
Millport is the main town on Great Cumbrae, which sits in the Firth of Clyde off the Ayrshire coast. The small island is less than 4 km in length and only 127 meters above sea level at its peak, but its strategic situation led to it being used as a base for Customs and Excise.
Officers were able to keep a wary eye on goods and shipping and were able to control the flourishing smuggling trade.
Visitors to Millport will notice that most of the street names are common surnames - Crawford street, Miller Street, Crichton Street and Howard Street to name but a few. They were all crew members of the 18th century Revenue cutter, the Royal George.
The Garrison House also dates back to this period in Millport's history. It was constructed in 1745 and has been the Captain's mansion, the home of the Earl of Glasgow and is now used as a community hall and houses the interesting Museum of the Cumbraes, the model railway club and the Garrison Café.
In WWI Millport was a listening post for enemy submarines and today nuclear submarines and cruise ships still use this narrow passage.
Present Day Millport
Most of the houses in Millport are of Victorian and Edwardian vintage and lie to the east and west of the harbour. The lovely Cathedral of the Isles is not surprisingly the smallest cathedral in the UK and seats just 100 worshippers. Millport's main claim to fame, besides the tiny cathedral, is the world's narrowest house nicknamed the "Wedge".
Millport town has a good range of shops from newsagents to electrical and hardware stores. As the island is a ferry ride away from Largs it needs to be pretty self-sufficient. The town has a small garage selling fuel, but most locals get around on bicycles, hence the three bicycle repair shops in the town!
Day trippers and long-term visitors will enjoy taking the trip "doon the watter" on a ferry or on a River Clyde paddle steamer. Those arriving in their own small craft can use the free visitor moorings at the western end of the town. Advertising itself as "No delays, no passport, no language barriers" Millport is just an hour's sailing time from the city of Glasgow and ten minutes ferry crossing from Largs.
Things to do in Millport
Visitors to Millport can enjoy a relaxing stroll on the beach, safe bathing on a summer's day, windsurfing, renting a boat, buying an icecream on the promenade, spotting seabirds or watching the spectacular sunset over the Isles.
The Marine Research Station houses a fascinating museum and aquarium. Hikers can walk the circumference of the island passing ancient standing stones along the way with buzzards, kestrels and seals for company. Crocodile rock with its jagged white teeth and red sandstone head is a popular landmark.
As Scotland is the home of golf, it is fitting to play a round of golf on the 18-hole golf course with spectacular views across the Arran hills. The Bowling Club is another popular attraction.
Fly fishing can be enjoyed at the local reservoir, or go sea fishing for mackerel from the rocks at Farland Point.
Visitors to Millport in September should definitely bring their nine gallon hat and join in the annual Country and Western Festival.