Ten minutes on the train from Ayr (£3.60 return) you’re in the UK centre of geriatric golf, the sort of place my Dad would have retired to a decade ago if my Mum had ever acquired a taste for deep-fried haggis.
The links golf courses along the west coast of Ayrshire are still the major draw round here, though Ryanair’s scrapping of Prestwick-Stansted flights and the end of ferries to Larne haven’t helped international business.
In the early 2000s the Taylor clan regularly followed in the footsteps of Presley, popping up to the Ayrshire coast with two toddlers to eat ice cream from Nardini’s in Largs and leaving the Troon beach an hour before our £9.99 flight (and still making last call with 45 seconds to spare).
I recognised this chap from our previous visit.
On this Sunday afternoon Troon beach (almost a rhyme there) was packed with families fighting over a single ice cream kiosk (not Nardini’s). I bought Mrs RM a double cone with flake and raspberry sauce and set off for a surreptitious tick.
A plain small town High Street with High Street names and giant Morrisons, always a good place to stock up on cake supplies. But it’s no Largs.
However, it’s a gorgeous coastline, with views to Arran, taunting me with two unticked GBG pubs.
Mrs RM took this art shot on her phone while I was pubbing, which I therefore feel obliged to bring you.
Two GBG entries in Troon, one of which (McKays) I actually did last year but then lost the photos. Those may never turn up, but the quality of the Jarl will be with me always (NBSS 4).
Back then Bruce’s Well had decided not to open ’till 4pm, rather than the noon opening shown on What Pub. You may have difficulty believing this, but the listed hours on What Pub have been wrong on more than one occasion.
That one photo tells you all you need to know. No food, so just Old Boys talking rubbish and feigning interest in Japan v Senegal. A local pub, in the finest tradition.
But no obvious handpumps to scare the Tennents drinkers.
“Any real ale ?” I nervously asked, worried I sounded like a beer bore.
I was led, blindfolded, to the very end of the bar where a single Morland Bitter pump stood apologetically. Why Morland Bitter ?; I dared not ask.
Anyway, it was exceptional (NBSS 3.5+), the temperature controlled room coming into its own.
Sometimes, one dull, forgotten Greene King beer is all you need.