As you might expect the town developed at the mouth of the river Ayr, - a strong
river and safe anchorage.
Much of the major development started from the 1700's onwards. In 1713 the Ratton
Quays were rebuilt and in 1724-30 they were once again restored, found on both sides
of the river mouth. Docks were added in the 1800's, in 1873 the Wet Dock was installed
while in 1883 the Slip Dock was built.
The fishermen and ships such as the Waverley used the southern side of the harbour.
While the northern side was used for the movement of coal and other freight traffic.
Robert Paton built the small lighthouse in 1841, which is still to be found at Ayr
The harbour at Girvan has been an important feature in Girvan's development. With
its safe harbour it became a good port for fishermen and the harbour prospered through
the time of the herring industry.
Girvan was also a port for exporting goods, not only local produce but a port from
which people could depart if the were choosing to emigrate to countries such as
Today the fishing industry has declined, but you will still see some fishing boats
in the harbour, though you are more likely to see pleasure craft and boats offering
trips to Ailsa Craig, for sea-fishing or diving excursions.
Troon harbour was a small fishing port up until the 1800's. The Duke of Portland
in 1808 started work to build a harbour in Troon. At the same time work was going
on to build a railway line to bring his coal from his Kilmarnock collieries to Troon,
the line was opened in 1812, most of the exports were to Ireland.
The Ballast Bank, at the end of Templehill Road, Troon, was created by the build
up of earth and shingle from the sailing colliers where it acted as ballast. Today
Troon harbour is once again a busy port and has close links with our Irish cousins
as P&O Ferries, which provides a fast sea crossing between Scotland and Larne,
uses Troon as one of its Scottish bases.