Ayr circular: A brisk walk along the front!

The promenade and cycle track are metalled, and the remainder of the paths are firm and well-beaten. Note that the path around Greenan Castle may be tide-bound if it’s a particularly high tide but there’s a clear inland route either just before the castle, which joins the cycle way, or up and over the castle.   That’s all the bad news! Otherwise, this is a lovely stretch along the sea front, beginning a few yards into ‘The Lang Scots’ Mile’ and making for the most romantic ruin of Greenan Castle. At the very start, Ailsa Craig is just in sight, soon to be hidden from view by the Heads of Ayr. You should see Arran and Holy Isle and you could have lunch at the Burns museum before following a most attractive path down Slaphouse Burn and through Rozelle and Belleisle Parks back to the seafront.

Park either at the Cromwell Road car park at the north (River Ayr) end of the promenade or anywhere along the promenade.  There are toilets in  Pavilion Road at the start of the walk and, in summer, by the Indian Restaurant.

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To get there

Begin by taking your favourite route to the Kingston Bridge and the M77 where it’s a straightforward journey down the M77, following the signs to Ayr, to the Prestwick Roundabout, (take the dedicated lane to Ayr on what is now the A77); on through the next roundabout to Whitlett’s Roundabout. Here there are eventually four lanes, two outer (on the left) going on to Stranraer and two going half-way round the roundabout towards the Ayr Town Centre. The two lanes going towards the Town Centre take you down Main Road/ Whitletts Road/King Street but there are parked cars on the inner lane so  keep in the right lane. Go past the new race course, straight on at the traffic lights at Craigie Road and down to a huge roundabout with the A79 with TK Max in the corner. Go straight over here and down King Street to what is actually a T junction but you wind left across the bridge over the River Ayr and along the Sandgate with shops on either side. Continue over an awkward roundabout until you see Wellington Square on your right with a War Memorial Garden and the Council Offices beyond. Go on down past these imposing buildings to the sea front. Just past ‘The Pirates Ship’ on the left are the Pavilion Road toilets. If you don’t need these immediately, turn right along the sea front and then third right, just past the Horizon Hotel. This is Cromwell Street. Turn left into the car park. This may be full on weekdays but emptier on Saturdays and Sundays.

Your walk begins by getting on to the sea front where, depending on where you’ve parked, you’ll pick up the ‘footprint signs’ for ‘The Lang Scots’ Mile’. Greenan Castle looks some distance away but, in fact, it takes no time to reach the ‘new’ bridge across the River Doon.

Try to walk along the sea edge here – maybe even around the castle itself , but if it’s a very high tide, you may have to keep inland. In this case, the path you need goes off to the left just before the path takes to the shore around Greenan castle. An old cottage is clearly visible directly in line with the path.  Within 20 metres you will come to a mesh fence which is easily crossed.  Go straight ahead towards the cottage and after 10 metres the path will be clearly visible.  At the cycle track turn right and you’ll come to the route below.

However, If you’re doing this at low tide, keep walking right around the castle to the little cove where the Deil’s Rocks point out to sea and find a good track going up on the left towards Greenan Farm. Take the track up towards the farm, and then on to the A719, turning right where the cycle track forks. A dog-leg to the left takes you across the road and on to the old railway which runs for 1½ miles through not unattractive countryside. You might want to leave it at the Burns Museum possibly to eat but also for toilets.

After a break here, follow the road for a few yards to regain the old railway to Maybole Road where you turn left, again for a few yards. Just before Slaphouse Burn there’s a wicket gate leading on to a lovely path beside the burn which you follow, across Loaning Road, and on to Rozelle Park. You can divert left here to follow the track down to Rozelle House (with a toilet with a radar key) and pop into a little sculpture park on the left, and duck ponds on the right (just to get full value) before exiting through the main entrance on to Monument Road.

Here you turn right and then left into Belleisle Park. At the main house turn right to follow the path past the temporary café. You’ll come to a fairway. One way or another you have to cross over to the boundary wall beyond. If there are no golfers on the fairway go straight across. If this looks dodgy, turn left on a good track and where the fairway narrows, cross to a path beside the wall which runs back up to the right through a line of trees.

Either way follow the path to the old race course and go right round emerging on Racecourse Road. Continue down to the sea front the toilets at Blackburn Drive. After that, it’s a slog along the promenade to the car!

 

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