|Population||11,260  (2001 census)|
est. 11,730 (2006)
|OS grid reference|
|o Edinburgh||77.6 mi (124.9 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Saltcoats (Scottish Gaelic: Baile an t-Salachar) is a small town on the west coast of North Ayrshire, Scotland. The name is derived from the town's earliest industry when salt was harvested from the sea water of the Firth of Clyde, carried out in small cottages along the shore. It is part of the 'Three Towns' conurbation along with Ardrossan and Stevenston.
Although Saltcoats currently only has a single railway station, the town was once served by a second railway station located in the north of the town, originally as part of the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway. This station ceased regular passenger services on 4 July 1932, and there is no trace of the station today bar a nearby bridge.
Saltcoats is part of the Ayrshire North & Arran constituency in the House of Commons and Cunninghame North constituency in the devolved Scottish Parliament. Both seats are held by the Scottish National Party.
Historically, Ardrossan has been part of the UK parliament constituencies North Ayrshire (1868-1918), Bute and Northern Ayrshire (1918-1983) and Cunninghame North (1983-2005). These constituencies traditionally returned Conservative or Unionist MPs until 1987, when the constituency was won by the Labour Party.
In the late-eighteenth century, several shipyards operated at Saltcoats, producing some sixty to seventy ships. The leading shipbuilder was William Ritchie, but in 1790 he moved his business to Belfast. By the early-nineteenth century, the town had stopped producing ships.