Friday, 6 February 2015

10 things I love about Largs: a seaside town on the West Coast of Scotland

This is my sixth week of the gratitude challenge, and I am happy to be talking about my home town: Largs, on the West Coast of Scotland. In fact it's so good that I've talked about it before, here.

So, here are just ten of the things that I love about Largs. Feel free to add your own (or to quibble) in the comments.

Largs, with Fairlie in the distance (it's raining in Fairlie)

1. Largs has a train connection to Glasgow. I'm starting small here, I know, and this may not seem like a big deal to you, but when you've lived without a train line you'll know that it's massive. For a small fee I can sit in relative comfort and read my book while being transported into the centre of my local city. And Glasgow is not just any city. Glasgow's Miles Better. There's lots to do, amazing shopping, and so much going on... but back to Largs.

2. Largs has good schools, and it's not just me that thinks so. Education Scotland agrees. Largs Academy, the secondary school in the town, has consistently appeared in the top 50 schools in Scotland lists. Change is afoot now though, because the school buildings are detriorating, and there are plans to build a new campus incorporating all the existing schools, with some shared facilities. If it goes ahead (please let it go ahead), we'll have brand new, fabby facilities in just two years. Obviously some people are worried about it, but I've experienced an all through school in Moffat, and that was great, so I've got my fingers crossed.

3. Largs has good shops too. It's a small town so don't expect miracles, but it's got a supermarket (Morrisons - which has really upped it's game of late), two good toy shops, which are competitively priced and friendly, glorious gift shops in the shape of Largo and Bluestone, and a plethora of shoe shops - having not lived in a place with a shoe shop since 2004, that's fabulous. We've also got a proper high street, with independent jewellers, butchers, fishmongers and green grocers (no independent bakers though - we could do with a good baker).

4. Largs is also well stocked with cafes, including the marvellous Nardini's. We are all big fans of Nardini's ice cream, but their sandwiches (watch out - they're enormous) are a treat too. Not that we get to eat out much at the moment, but just you wait until I start getting paid for stuff!

5. Largs is well connected for ferry trips to nearby islands. There's one from Largs to Cumbrae, and just up the road at Wemyss Bay you can catch the Bute ferry, and down the road at Ardrossan, there's the Arran ferry. There are lots of things to do on the islands, and lovely views from the ferries.

Largs, seen from the Cumbrae ferry

6. Just outside of Largs is the gloriously colourful Kelburn Castle. I've never been in the castle itself because there's so much to do outside, with adventure courses, an enchanted forest, a fort, and lots more. Kelburn is well worth a visit.

Kelburn Castle
7. There is lots of historical stuff of interest around Largs. And there's a lovely little museum where you can find out about stuff (when it's open). Many families have lived here for generations, and it's interesting to see some of the same names coming up in different places.

8. Also on a historical theme, there are three sets of graves of historical import around Largs. Firstly, there's the graveyard, Skelmorlie Aisle (which is in Largs, not Skelmorlie, a nearby village). There you'll find the crypt of the Brisbane family. Near to Douglas park you'll find the ancient burial mound, and if you head the other way, up Brisbane Glen Road and past the current cemetry, you'll find the path to the prophet's grave.

9. The latest historical factoid that I've come across is that there used to be a Roman Fort on the hill behind Cock-ma-lane (although in some places I've seen it described as an iron age fort. I'd love to know more about that.

10. And to top everything off, Largs has stupendous sunsets and amazing views. You should visit.

Largs: The view from Cock-ma-lane
I'd love to know about your town. What's great about where you live?