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Eglinton Castle

 Located one mile SE of Kilwinning in the Eglinton Country Park. Built in 1796 by John Paterson for Hugh Montgomerie, the 12th Earl of Eglinton. Large Gothic mansion, replacing 17th century castle. 

At its height it was second only to Culzean Castle in its grandeur and scale.  Eglinton is best remembered for the lavish, if ill-fated Eglinton Tournament, a medieval-style tournament organised in 1839 by the 13th Earl. The expense and extent of the preparations became news across Scotland, and the railway line was even opened in advance of its official opening to ferry guests to Eglinton. Although high summer, in typical Scottish style torrential rain washed the proceedings out, despite the participants, in full period dress, gamely attempting to participate in events such as jousting. Amongst the participants was the future Napoleon III of France.

The family saw dark financial days, and were forced to leave the castle at some point in the late 19th century. Eglington was then unroofed in 1925 for use as a target practice location, and was used in World War II for commando training. Not surprisingly, the shell of the house was partly demolished in 1973, unsafe for any visitors. Today, only a corner tower and foundations remain, and a visit to Eglington requires an engagement of the imagination to fill in the mansion that once stood on the property.

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