Later this month, the Scots celebrate the life and poetry of their most famous bard, Robert (Rabbie) Burns. The annual Burns Suppers, traditionally held on Rabbie’s birthday of on January 25, takes place across Scotland with haggis, whisky and recitals of his poems. In 2014, the Year of Homecoming in Scotland, many visitors to Scotland will be keen to find out more about Scottish history. It’s thought that Ayrshire, the home of Rabbie Burns, will be one of the most visited areas.
Walk in the steps of Rabbie Burns
Burns was born two miles south of Ayr, in Alloway, South Ayrshire. He was the eldest of the seven children. He was born in 1759 in a house built by his father (now the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766. His family then moved to Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway. Here Burns grew up in poverty and hardship. Throughout his early life he struggled to have his poetry recognised until in 1786, a book of his works, entitled the Kilmarnock Edition, was published. Rabbie Burns is also connected with the town of Irvine, where he worked as a flax dresser, and Mauchline where he farmed for a few years. As well as the places where Rabbie lived and worked, many other locations in the area are connected to his name because of the poetry that he wrote. Rabbie was inspired by the landscape when writing some of his verses. Many people enjoy walking in the footsteps of the famous bard and there are several trails that celebrate his name and work in Ayrshire.
Burns’ Trail: This 3.75-mile circular route explores the birthplace of Robert Burns, including points of interest, woodland and parks. See Burns’ Trail
Tam o’ Shanter Trail: Follow Rabbie’s hero around the town of Ayr on the path described in his poem, Tam o' Shanter. This linear seven-mile walk starts from the inn (Ayr High Street) in which Tam was drinking that night, and takes walkers to Belleisle Park, passing the statue of Burns statue in the square. The trail then heads through woodland with views over the sea to Arran towards the river Doon in the Burns National Heritage Park and the haunted Auld Kirk Alloway before finally reaching the Brig o' Doon (a late medieval bridge). See Tam o’ Shanter walk
Inspiration of Burns across Scotland
Many other places are associated with Burns, including the Birks (trees) of Aberfeldy, Cairngorms National Park and the waterfalls at Foyers. These walking and cycling trips take in some of this highlight Robert Burns locations:
Tell us where you plan to visit during the 2014 Year of Scotland’s Homecoming.