Starting Point for the Walk:
Park at the car park close to the Pilot House (a rather obvious white square structure) towards the end of the quay at Irvine harbour.
Getting there: 34 miles / 45 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow and head for the M77/A77 towards Kilmarnock. Leave the A77 at the Bellfield Interchange (signed Irvine A71). Just before the roundabout note the local signage and exit the busy roundabout towards Crosshouse. Note the speed restriction on this road! Continue on the A71 and cross the Warrix Interchange (signed Harbourside). At the next roundabout go left towards the Rivergate Centre. At the next roundabout go left (signed Harbourside) and continue on the A737. At the car dealership turn right at the mini roundabout into Heatherhouse Road which becomes Portland Road. At the Portland Roundabout take the second exit into Beach Drive. Turn right into any of the entrances to the parking area and head towards the Pilot House. Parking is free.
The Walk: Irvine-Barassie Loop – 9.5 miles (15 km)
- For those wishing a shorter walk (about 4 miles) return to Irvine by train from Barassie.
- The walk makes use of cycle tracks so please take care and be observant – not every cyclist has a bell!!
- Toilets should be available near the Pilot House and in Barassie (750 metres south of Hillhouse Road).
- Bring a towel if you want to have a paddle!
The walk starts by descending the steps at the end of the quay onto Irvine beach. Usually this stretch of beach is a pleasant meander towards Barassie, with the dunes on the left and the sea on the right. At Barassie turn left up Hillhouse Road and under the railway line. Barassie station is on the right. Trains run approximately every half hour back to Irvine.
Continue past the station and bear left across a small open grassed area into Whins Road. Then turn left into Lang Road, left into North Neuk and onto to a connecting pathway. At College Park go left and take another connecting path into Plateau Drive and another link into Citadel Way. Then turn left into Lochgreen Avenue and at the turning area take the rising path and exit left onto a short stretch of pavement to cross a railway line. After about 100 metres cross the road carefully (it can be busy at times) and take the downward path under the A78. Continue on this path, crossing a railway line at a gated crossing, and bear left to pick up a now abandoned road towards the paper mill. Just before the boundary to the mill turn right into Shewalton Wood (Scottish Wildlife Trust). Follow the path through the reserve and exit right (at the north side of the paper mill) and cross the road. Continue along the pavement beside Meadowhead Road and, after about 100 metres, turn left and continue on another good path past a loch on the right. Cross the A78 again, this time using the footbridge. On meeting a road (Auchengate) cross it carefully and take the pavement on the other side of the road. Follow this pathway round to the left as the road approaches the roundabout. Continue on this path until a car park on Marine Drive. Turn left through this car park to join a path through the dunes. This leads back onto Irvine beach for the final kilometre of the walk.