Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Newmilns, Ayrshire, Scotland

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Newmilns (population 3,439) is a small town in East Ayrshire, Scotland. It sits half way up the Loudoun Valley, named after the hill at one end1, and the castle at the other, below Darvel2 and above Galston.

Its most notable aspects are that it has Britain's cheapest (and probably shortest) dry ski slope, and that it gained its Royal Burgh status in 1490. It has links with America, the first of which came during the American Civil War. The weavers of Newmilns sent a message of support to Abraham Lincoln, who in turn sent them an American flag. The flag was lost over the years, but in 1949 the American Embassy presented the town with a replacement flag which is now located in the Church.

Other historical things to do with Newmilns include a 16th Century Tower House, often missed as it sits in a car park behind a pub; the oldest neolithic hand-axe in Britain (found beside the road out of town); and its main square. One edge of the square has a meeting house, with an external staircase. It was from here that 17th Century Covenanters would make speeches against the government. In fact, the church still has plaques on its front to those who died 'as martyrs to the cause' during the Covenanting years.

1Fought over by the Romans and Celts, William Wallace and the English, The Government and The Covenanters in 17th Century Scotland, and a really good spot for practising your golf swing with potatoes.2Darvel is known for its lace manufacture, it's the birthplace of Sir Alexander Fleming and it's known for the Dagon Stone - a lump of stone dug up when the road was built that has absolutely no magical powers whatsoever.

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