Prestwick, a Scottish coastal town with golf and airport
Summary facts and information:
- The town has a long history, probably dating back to the 8th century or earlier.
- The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means ‘Priest’s Dwelling’.
- The oldest extant building is the Old Parish Church, now a roofless ruin surrounded by burials. This dates back to the 12th century. See image at foot of this post.
- Home to Scotland’s fourth largest airport which is a combined military and civilian facility. Civilian passenger numbers have suffered of late due to switch of traffic to Glasgow International and due to financial difficulties ownership has been transferred to the Scottish Government. It is believed that Prestwick Airport is the only location where Elvis Presley set foot on British soil, during a brief stop-over in 1960.
- The railway came to Prestwick about 1840 and is still in operation.
- Prestwick is famous for it links golf course which was established in 1851 and where was held the first Open Championship in 1860. Another club, Prestwick St. Nicholas originally shared Prestwick’s course but moved to its current permanent home in 1892.
- In common with other towns and resorts along the Clyde Coast, Prestwick benefits from a sandy beach. However, prevailing currents and tides wash up significant volumes of flotsam and jetsam which has to be removed by the local council. See image number three below.
- Prestwick is home to at least six churches, mainly Presbyterian but also R.C., Baptist and Episcopalian.
- Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet, was born in nearby Alloway and travelled widely in the Ayrshire region. There is a bar in Prestwick named after Burns.
- A Mercat Cross is positioned in the centre of Prestwick. This is of some antiquity, with the base dating back to the 15th century or earlier. The Cross indicates that Prestwick was granted the right to hold a market or fair in medieval times.