Scottish fact of the week: The Electric Brae

SCOTLAND is full of ‘magical’ locations and otherworldly scenes, but one in particular really does seem to have supernatural qualities. At Ayrshire’s Electric Brae, the laws of gravity appear reversed, and cars roll uphill.

The sign warning of the weird goings-on at Electric Brae. Picture: Raymond Okonski [] (CC)

Electric Brae, known locally as the Croy Brae, sits nine miles south of Ayr on the west coast. When motorists reach the Brae, they are warned to slow down, and with good reason. Motorists regularly pull up at the spot, turn off their engines, disengage their handbrakes, and marvel as their cars apparently roll up the hill.

So what’s going on? Magnetic fields? Minerals in the rich coastal soil? Faeries? Unfortunately, no. Electric Brae’s powers are quite literally in the eye of the beholder.

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The road is on a hill, with a 1 in 86 gradient, but the surrounding landscape tricks the eye into believing that you are descending when you’re actually climbing the hill, or ascending it when you’re travelling downward.

The road has baffled travellers from far and wide for years, including former American president Dwight D Eisenhower who visited the Brae when stationed at Prestwick during the Second World War.

It is one of dozens of known ‘gravity hills’ worldwide, each with a fantastical name designed to draw attention to the phenomenon. The Electric Brae is no different from these other illusions, but that doesn’t make the experience of rolling uphill with a confused passenger any less fun.