Ayr Harbour has four lighthouses. Two are located at the end of the North and South breakwaters, and two range lights can be found in the dock area.
Ayr has been a prime port on the west coast of Scotland for centuries. It has a commercial port, and also has facilities for a small number of leisure craft.
The River Ayr divides the town as it flows out into the Firth of Clyde. Across the Firth is the Isle of Arran. Just off the southwest entrance to Ayr harbour is St Nicholas Rock.
On the north side is Griffin comercial docks. To the south can be found the former Fish Docks. Griffin Dock was built between 1874 – 1881.
During the 14th century, a new settlement grew at Newton as the town prospered. By the 16th century, Ayr was a thriving port, exporting goods such as wool, fish and hides. Wine and salt were imported. The textile industry grew with the local production of wool and linen, as well as shoemaking.
The town was transformed in the 19th century during the industrial revolution, with the port continuing to expand. Coal was exported to Ireland and shipbuilding also thrived, with ships and barges built on the river.
Extensive repairs were carried out to the harbour into the 18th and 19th centuries, and the first harbour light was built in 1718.
An Act of Parliament in 1772 increased Ayr’s trade by providing more accommodation for more ships. The harbour was also deepened and enlarged.
Ayr Harbour Range Rear Lighthouse was built in 1841 and designed by Robert Paton. The masonry tower has a white lantern with square astragals. The lighthouse is located in Harbour Street, in the centre of the industrial area of Griffin Dock, which is a private road.
Also in Harbour Street, next to the pilot house is the Front Range lighthouse. The red tapering tower has a white lantern and conical roof. This lighthouse was also established in 1841 by Robert Paton.
Access is not possible, but it can be seen across the River Ayr. There is a good aerial view of the two lighthouses on Marinas.com.
The North Breakwater Lighthouse was established in 1913. It is located just off the harbour wall. This replaced a previous cast-iron tower.
The South Pier Lighthouse was established in 1877. The white cast-iron tower displays lights through two windows at the top of the tower. This tower is accessible along the pier, from where all four lights can be seen.