Two more days this time continuing my trek up the Ayrshire coast, which meant I would need to do some decent mileage over the two days.
I decided to base myself in Ayr for the night stay-over. This meant parking in Ayr and getting the train down to Girvan to begin the walk. I actually parked in Newton-on-Ayr, a suburb of Ayr where my B&B was. The weather was absolutely beautiful, a lovely late summers day, with a gentle breeze blowing into my face all the way to Ayr. I had the train virtually to myself, arriving in Girvan bang on time at 09:00.
I paid my respects first of all to “Auld Stumpy”, the local name for the clock tower and former jail. Todays walk would predominantly be following the Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP). I crossed over Girvan Water via a small bridge and which led me to the shore and a small golf course. At the end of the Golf Course the ACP turned inland for a short distance. However, I clambered down onto the rocks and continued about 300m along the beach, until the ACP re-emerged. Just after the sewage works, which really stank today, I was able to transfer down onto the beach, with an ebbing tide and good firm sand/gravel I was able to make good progress.
I continued along the shore until I came to the works at Dipple, the ACP again diverted inland to go around the works, while I continued along the beach. I had been heading, for some time, towards the lighthouse at Turnberry Golf Course. I followed the golf course from the beach and could see that there was some sort of competition on as there were a lot of men in white boiler suits acting as caddies. Close to the lighthouse, the ACP turned inland towards the road. I passed a number of old runways and aprons, confirming that a large triangular airfield was based here both for the First and Second World Wars. A memorial to those that served here can clearly be seen, in the centre of the course on a small hillock.
The road into the village of Maidens was quiet and also had a an excellent footpath alongside it. I found a shop and bought cake and additional water. The ACP then entered the grounds of Culzean Castle. I got excellent views of both the grounds and the Castle itself. I was not sure if I was getting a freebie or not; then I realised this was a National Trust for Scotland site of which I am a Member. The ACP dropped down to the beach past the Gas Managers Cottage and house. I was amazed to learn how Culzean manufactured their own coal Gas and piped it around the Estate. I tried to get a distance shot of the Castle, as is on the banknote, but failed.
The next three miles was spent on the beach. At Croy I came across some fine examples of conglomerates, in situ or as fallen blocks from the cliff. I also noticed some rocks which appeared igneous, possibly Doleritic or Basaltic with random feldspathic phenocrysts. I also noted large green minerals which could have been olivine. Its been many many years since my Geology University days, so I am very rusty at rock and mineral identification.
The ACP climbs the steep cliff slopes at Katy Grays Rocks. At the top, although somewhat hazy I can make out Ayr and the two Cumbrae Islands in the far distance. I arrive at the small village of Dunure where I met Alec out walking his dog. We talked about this and that for about 30 mins before I went on my way. I had a brief look around the ruins of Dunure Castle which were interesting and had many information boards, even though they had miniscule print. However, I did make out that one of the previous Kennedy’s owners “roasted” a Commendator to force him to transfer some land deeds; fortunately, he was rescued and managed to recover from his ordeal. Dunure also has a charming little harbour, where I restocked with more water and pop.
I stayed on the beach all the way around and below The Heads of Ayr, basically a large headland promontory. The cliff above relinquished and gave way to fields and a caravan park, from which many people where making use of the beach in the warm sunshine. At this point I decided that it would have been rude not to pay homage to Scotland’s favourite son, who was born 2.5 miles away in Alloway. Ok, this would mean a 2.5 mile detour inland, but I had had a great day walking virtually all along the beach. So I was off to pay my respects to the Burns Clan at Alloway. I followed a cycle route (#7) which followed the route of an old railway line. The old rail line had its own bridge across the River Doon as well immediately passing through a tunnel, with houses built above it.
I visited the Auld Kirk of Alloway, where William Burns (Burn’s father) and his sister were laid to rest. unfortunately, The Burns Monument and gardens closed at 5 o’clock, but I managed to get a good view of the monument t from the street outside. I sauntered down also to the Brig o’Doon made famous in Burn’s epic poem Tam o’Shanter. Standing on the bridge I was amazed to see how steep the “hump” of the bridge actually was. I walked further into the village and pass the birthplace of Robbie Burns. Its siting now seems quite incongruous with what has become a busy road alongside it. I head into “Auld Ayr” in search of “honest men and bonnie lassies”
My B&B is still a mile away, so I decide to have an early dinner, I pop into the local Wetherspoons, The West Kirk, a church which still retains many clerical features, although perhaps not sobriety anymore! Perhaps one of the best coastal walks I have done in Scotland, as yet. The unhindered walk had numerous sights and sounds made this an exceptional section.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 25.5 miles
Total distance = 2183.5 miles