Starting near Dean Castle Country Park the route takes minor roads before crossing the A77 and entering the Craufurdland Estate.
Passing Craufurdland Loch Fishery one of many paths crosses Fenwick Water and exits the Estate joining the B7038. Heading into Fenwick there are a number of points of interest. It is thought that the Fenwick Weavers’ Society is the oldest cooperative in the world. It was founded in 1761. The Parish Church, however, dates to 1643 and has a history that includes the Reformation, the National Covenant, and Patronage all highly sensitive issues at the time. The churchyard, which has sentry boxes to guard the entrances, has several covenanters’ graves.
Returning to the southern outskirts of Fenwick, the route follows country roads before picking up a woodland path which traverses several fields before emerging onto the Wardlaw Road. This road cuts under the A77 before joining the outgoing route.
Starting Point for the Walk:
At the car park adjacent to a row of shops (NOT the Tesco car park), on the Glasgow Road, Kilmarnock (KA3 1UT) – OS Reference NS 438 402.
Getting there: 22 miles/34 minutes
Take your favourite route onto the M8 (Greenock) and then exit onto M77 (Kilmarnock). Exit M77 at Junction 8 onto B7038 (Kilmarnock /Fenwick). At the first Roundabout take the 2nd exit (B7038) and at the second Roundabout take the 1st exit (B7038). At the next Roundabout take the 2nd exit (the first is a private road) and continue until the Roundabout at Tesco. Head for the shops to the right of the Tesco Superstore. Parking is free.
The Walk: Craufurdland Estate – 6.0 miles (10 km)
Note: some paths can be muddy at times.
From the car park adjacent to Tesco, turn left and walk along Glasgow Road until a single-track road on your right signposted “Borland”. Cross the Glasgow Road onto Borland and continue over the bridge crossing Fenwick Water. The road now starts to go uphill. Near the top of the hill there is a crossroads – continue ahead past the brown access information sign. The road crosses the A77. Keep left at a fork, signposted “No vehicle access to Craufurdland Castle”. Continue until another fork in the path by Loch Plantation and keep left again (signposted “Borland Lane Walking and Bike Trails”). Continue on this pathway through the woods turning left at a junction to cross the Fenwick Water again, this time by a suspension bridge. Follow the path to Dalmusternock Farmhouse B&B and then turn left along a lane to join the B7038. Turn right onto the B7038 and continue along the pavement into Fenwick. Fenwick village has several Points of Interest. In Main Road there is the Parish Church which has four covenanter gravestones.
Depending on time, stop for lunch in the small park (with a few seats) near the Kings Arms Hotel (the hotel could be used for a comfort stop). Retrace outward steps along Main Road and turn left into Waterslap. Follow this road, which again crosses Fenwick Water, and continue past the entrance to The Laird’s Table to a cottage. Beyond this cottage there is a bridge over the Craufurdland Water. Immediately after crossing the bridge look for a ‘Footpath’ sign on the right, where there is a gap in the stone wall leading onto a narrow woodland trail. The trail proceeds until to a double stile. Cross the stile to the left – there is no visible path beyond this point. Stick to the perimeter of the field, keeping the fence on the right-hand side. This leads onto another stile. Cross it and the field beyond, then repeat again once more. At the fourth field, cut straight across it in a SW direction (rather than following the perimeter fencing). After crossing into the fifth and final field, look for a stile and ‘Footpath’ sign directly ahead (SW) at the other side of the field. To reach it you can either walk straight across or if there are crops growing in the field, turn right and follow the fence line around its perimeter. The final stile leads onto Wardlaw Road. Cross the stile and turn right. Continue on the road, crossing Bringan Ford via the footbridge, and go under the A77. At the next road junction turn right. This goes back to the crossroads encountered on the outward route at the bottom of “Borland”. Turn left and retrace the outward route back to the car park.