Located just over an hour’s drive from Glasgow in Ayrshire lies a cliffside road, Electric Brae, also known as Croy Brae by the locals. The road descends along a quarter-mile stretch, and has become famous over the course of time due to the very odd phenomena that has had locals and visitors alike speculating since the Victorian era.
What makes Electric Brae so special?
The famous road got traction once word got around about its unusual optical illusion. The illusion makes one think they are going down when they’re really going up, and vice versa. Therefore, Electric Brae got its name from the Victorians, who thought the road was pulled by electricity from the nearby Isle of Arran. What is more, you don’t have to be in a car to see the illusion, you can simply put a wee ball on the road and witness the “magic” happen.
The roadside marker says: “The ELECTRIC BRAE”, known locally as ‘CROY BRAE’. This runs the quarter mile from the bend overlooking Croy railway viaduct in the west (286 feet Above Ordnance Datum) to the wooded Craigencroy Glen (303 feet A.O.D.) to the east. […] The term ‘Electric’ dates from a time when it was incorrectly thought to be a phenomenon caused by electric or magnetic attraction within the Brae.”
What is the real reason behind the optical illusion?
The marker further reads: “Whilst there is this slope of 1 in 86 upwards from the bend to the Glen, the configuration of the land on either side of the road provides an optical illusion making it look as if the slope is going the other way. Therefore, a stationary car on the road with the brakes off will appear to move slowly uphill.”
While physics was not my best subject (it was, actually, the worst), the unique composition of the land makes the cliffside road makes it look like objects are going the opposite way. Now, that’s just fascinating! Or, could it just be witchcraft or magnets hidden on each side, as told by some conspiracy theorists?
How can I best find it?
So you can just go see it for yourself, head to the A719 between Croy Shore and Dunure Village in South Ayrshire, which is also worth a wee visit.