Ayr is my hometown and I love it – but there are just some things about it that drove me insane growing up and most of them still bug me now. Here are the top ten reasons I wish I had grown up anywhere but Ayr, Scotland.
1. The Nightlife (And Lack Of It!)
Ayr is famous for many things: the history, the beach… and the total lack of clubs. There is no nightlife in Ayr – which is particularly miserable when there is a university right in the centre of town. A wild party in Ayr either takes place at someone’s flat or at an abandoned swing park. You can forget your dreams of growing up and hitting the clubs.
2. Golf Balls
The next town over from Ayr is called Prestwick and it is the Scottish home of golf – but Ayr has its fair share of golf courses too and they are all situated right in the middle of the public parks. Thinking of going for a stroll with the dog or for a romantic picnic with your partner? Better watch out for flying golf balls!
3. Robert Burns
I love The Bard as much as the next Scottish person but living in his hometown gets old quickly. For most of the world, Robert Burns only exists for one night of the year. In Ayr, it is an all-year-round occasion. You can’t walk down the High Street without encountering a busker singing Auld Lang Syne or a tourist trying to pronounce the words in a Burns poetry book they bought. It is constant.
4. School Wars
Ayr is not that big of a town, but it is home to five secondary schools and none of them get along. Every few months, one school will declare war on another and the streets will be filled with teenagers launching eggs and flour at one another. I happened to grow up on a street which connected two of the schools and often woke up to find my house covered in cake ingredients.
5. The Beach
Most people would probably do anything to live at the beach, but I am not one of them. Ayr beach is freezing at least 95% of the time. The water is ice cold and the windchill could numb your bones. You have to watch out for storms since it only takes a few days of heavy rain to send those sea waves crashing straight through the front door of your luxurious beach-front home.
6. Glasgow Fair
Having a beach in town also creates a phenomenon known as Glasgow Fair. Every year on the bank holidays, hundreds of people from the city descend on Ayr to visit the beach. The town becomes crowded, the shops are packed, and the traffic is chaos. If you life in Ayr, you have these days marked on your calendar and plan to be as far away from the town as you can.
Scotland as a nation is home to an insect known as the midge. These flying pests particularly love Ayr due to the damp climate and humidity. They swarm in massive clusters and will devour you on sight. They have sharp teeth and when they get into your clothes they will bite repeatedly until they free themselves.
8. The Races
Ayr is home to Scotland’s most famous racecourse where the Grand National and Gold Cup races are held. This means that every few months people from all over the country travel to Ayr and crowd the streets. The racecourse also happens to be right next to the McDonalds, so good luck getting in for a Happy Meal on Race Day. On the plus side, everyone gets the day off for Gold Cup weekend so I can’t really complain.
9. Everything Is Up A Hill
Fun fact: Ayr was once a historical battleground with its own castle and medieval fort. This isn’t surprising since the whole town is built on giant hills. Everywhere in Ayr is either up or down a hill. When I was a kid, my friends and I decided to start riding bikes together. We soon discovered why nobody in Ayr cycles.
10. Football Traffic (And Horses)
As well as a beach and a racecourse, Ayr also has its own football stadium which sits on the road leading to the busiest roundabout in town. Traffic on football days is a nightmare. I once got caught up in a football traffic jam whilst on a driving lesson and ended up spending half the session stuck behind a police horse. My driving instructor was afraid of horses. It didn’t end well.