Bringing history to life on Galston Town Trail

Pupils in Galston schools have been bringing their local history to life, thanks to an imaginative new trail around historic sites in their town.

The trail was created by the Galston Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which has been restoring many buildings in the village.

As part of this work, an education outreach programme asked pupils for thoughts and ideas to help tell (and preserve) the rich history in and around the local area.

The idea of a Town Trail, which traces Galston’s history back to 1252, when monks at the Monastery at Faile established a church, now helps to tell a tale that is 765 years in the making.

Beginning at Galston Parish Church the pupils learned about famous ministers – including Dr Robert Stirling who invented the Stirling Engine – and studied the stained glass windows as inspiration for their own designs.

The trail took them to the Cross and along Church Lane to the Muckle Brig, where they were given a sheet, containing a picture of half the brig and their artistic challenge was to complete the sketch, using observation skills.

Continuing on to St Sophia’s Church, the pupils passed the War Memorial, en route to Galston Railway Station, where Belgian refugees from the First World War arrived in 1914. It gave them a chance to discuss similar issues in modern day countries where conflict still displaces large numbers of people.

One of the most popular visits was Barr Castle, where miners used to play Galston Handba’ – a sport the pupils have enthusiastically adopted and are now teaching the local community.

Monica Nardini (P5) said: “It was a great experience and I loved doing the Muckle Brig symmetry activity.”

Evie Gallacher (P6) added: I enjoyed learning about the Co-operative and visiting the shop to see all the amazing Fairtrade products.”

Councillor Fiona Campbell, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “The Galston Town Trail is a wonderful and energetic idea, getting people interested in history on their doorstep.

“It really is a living classroom for pupils aged eight to eighty and it is fascinating to think of those people and communities who lived, worked and played at different points along the route.

“As well as being a superb way for local residents and visitors to explore the town it’s a great way for people to engage with each other as stories and memories are shared and discussed.”

A Heritage Trail brochure has now been produced by Galston Community Development Trust and these informative guides to the Trail are available in the Trust’s office at Titchfield Street and at various outlets in the town.


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