Category Archives: Within a radius of about 30 miles Part 2

River Ayr walk

This is a gentle walk of approximately 8.5 miles along the banks of the River Ayr. The walk is mostly flat and includes some country roads near Auchincruive.

The walk commences from the car park on the north side of Ayr Academy in Beech Grove. The route crosses the University of the West of Scotland – Ayr Campus before joining the path on the north side of the River Ayr. The path heads eastwards towards Dalmilling Golf Course and from there continues on to Mainholm Smallholdings and towards the Auchincruive Estate. The return journey retraces the outward route back to the A77, crosses the river, and then takes the path on the south side of the river before recrossing the river back to the university grounds and the starting point.

Starting Point for the Walk:

At Ayr Academy Car Park, Beech Grove, Ayr – OS Reference NS 351 215.

Getting there from Glasgow: 37 miles / 50 minutes

Take your favourite route to the M77 towards Ayr.  At the Whitletts Roundabout approach in the third lane and take the 3rd exit (A719/Whitletts Road).  Continue down Whitletts Road, passing Ayr Race Course, and at the traffic lights turn left into Craigie Road (B747).  At the next set of traffic lights turn left into Craigie Way.  Take the first exit at the small roundabout to continue on Craigie Way and then the first right into Beech Grove.  Just beyond the Premier Convenience Store turn right into Ayr Academy car park.  There are toilet facilities at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) Ayr Campus near where the outward/inward route joins the river path.

There are regular train and bus services from Glasgow to Ayr.  The Starting Point for the Walk is approximately 1km from the railway station and 1.5km from the bus station.

The Walk: 

Ayr River Walk – 8 miles (13 km)Mostly flat earth paths and minor roads

From the Ayr Academy car park head south on Beech Grove towards the river.  Pass another car park on the right and turn right at the junction and then first left to head southwards past the Ayr Riverside Guest Rooms.  Continue on a short section of earth pathway and at the river turn left.  The River Path heads east on the north side of the river.

Continue along the path on the north side of the river and on reaching Dalmilling Golf Course, follow the path to the A77.  Cross the road bridge onto the south side of the river and turn right down steps.  At the river turn right under the roadway and come up on the other side of the road.  Turn right and head northwards for about 200m and then turn right into Mainholm Road.  A road sign on the left points to the right and is signed ‘Mainholm Smallholdings’.  Continue on this road (part of the River Ayr Way) and take the first right and then the first left and head towards Auchincruive on a quiet country road.  Continue along the road until two large rocks appear at a junction.

Retrace the outward route back to the A77 passing under the road again.  This time, instead of taking the steps back up to the A77 continue along the path on the south side of the river.  Follow the path, in a westerly direction, with the river on the right and cross the River Ayr to the north bank using the Craigie Bridge.  Retrace the outward route back to the car park at Ayr Academy.

A pootle about penicillin

This walk in the Ayrshire countryside takes in the birthplace of the renowned Scotsman, Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) who was a physician and microbiologist, and best known for discovering the world’s first broadly effective antibiotic substance, which he named penicillin.

Starting Point for the Walk:

The Car Park in Ranoldcoup Road, Darvel – OS Reference NS 563 373. About 36 miles from Glasgow, one hour and 10 minutes by car

Getting there: 

Take your favourite route to the M77 towards Ayr.  Once on the M77 continue to Junction 6 signed Galston A77.  After ½ mile turn right onto A77 (Galston) and go under the M77.  At the roundabout take the 1st exit onto Ayr Road signed Galston A77 (A719).  After about a mile turn left onto A719.  Continue through Waterside and Moscow and after about 6 miles (at the Galston roundabout) take the first exit onto A71.  Continue through Newmilns and arrive in Darvel after about 3 miles.  Just past an attractive square on the right, turn right into Ranoldcoup Road.  Continue down Ranoldcoup Road to a car park on the left, opposite Collins Avenue.

The Walk: 

A Pootle around Penicillin – 6.5 miles 10 km) – Undulating with one steep uphill

From Ranoldcoup Road Car Park turn right, and then turn right again onto East Main Street.  Pass the Railway Inn and continue the full length of East Main Street.  At the end of the village cross the busy A71 with care and take the road on the left leading uphill (signposted Irvine Valley Walks).

Continue slowly uphill, past the cemetery and the path to Loudon Hill, until there is a crossroads.  At this point the worst of the hills is over!  Turn left and continue along this road with fields on either side.  Once past Feoch Farm and just before Laigh Braidley Farm there is a road on the right which leads to Lochfield Farm.  Here there is a notice for the birthplace of Sir Alexander Fleming.  Sir Alexander Fleming was the eminent bacteriologist who discovered Penicillin.  There is an option, for those who wish to do so, to take a detour to Lochfield farm to see it up close.

The main route continues gently up to the top of the rise where it zigzags and starts to head steeply downhill to Braidley Bridge which crosses the Glen Water.  This is a particularly picturesque section of the walk.  The road continues uphill for a short distance and then, at the T-junction turn left – the road on the right is a no through road. Continue past Gateside keeping left to cross Mucks Water at Mucks Bridge.

After a short uphill section the road continues at a high level to become Foulpapple Road and then starts to descend.  The village of Darvel soon comes into view, and eventually there are a couple of modern-looking houses on the right.  Turn left here onto Burn Road which is a steep, downhill, narrow road.  It passes the Darvel Telephone Museum (on the right) just before the junction with West Main Street.  At the junction, turn left to return to Ranoldcoup Road and the cars.

Troon Winter Walk

Starting Point for the Walk:

South Beach Esplanade Car Park – OS Reference NS 327 298.

Getting there: 34 miles / 43 minutes

Take your favourite route out of Glasgow onto the M8 (Greenock).  Exit onto the M77 (Kilmarnock) and continue down to the Dutch House Roundabout.  Take the 3rd exit onto the A78 (Irvine/Prestwick).  At the next roundabout keep to the inside lane and take the 2nd exit onto the A79 (Prestwick).  Immediately on exiting the roundabout move to the righthand lane and turn right onto the B749 (Troon).  Follow this down to the seafront car park.  Parking is free.  The nearest toilets are 1km away, on the seafront near the town.

NOTE:  all South Ayrshire Toilets have CARD ONLY access.

The Walk: 

Troon Golf Loop – 6.25 miles (10 km) – Flat

Starting from the car park, head east onto Craigend Road (B749) and use the pavement on the righthand side.  Continue up and over the old railway bridge and on reaching the other side turn 180° right and loop under the road bridge to pick up the shared cycle path (a dismantled railway line).  Take care on this section and watch out for cyclists, particularly those approaching from behind.  At the path junction (close to the end of Willockston Road) turn right and then left (skirting a high wall enclosing a cemetery).  Continue until the next road bridge (Dundonald Road).  Go under this road, and on joining the entrance road to Marr College turn right.  Cross this access road and keep on the path to the left of Dundonald Road.  After a short distance turn left onto a good path towards Marr College sports ground and then veer left onto a grass path close to a line of trees.  Follow this until the vegetation forces the route to skirt the edges of the golf course for 100m.  Cross another path onto a gravel path heading north and follow this meandering path (which crosses Darley Burn) until a wooded area.  Emerging from the wooded area, the path meets a ‘T’ junction.  Turn left (onto another shared cycle path) and parallel the Kilmarnock Road for a short distance.  Then climb the steps on the right to join the Kilmarnock Road.  At the top turn left and head for the sea at Barassie.

Close to the seafront, cross the North Shore Road (B746) onto the shared cycle path and head south west towards Troon.  There are toilets on this section.  At the small North Shore Road car park cut across the parking area onto a grass path that hugs the coastline.  At the final hedge turn left, and climb for a short distance to meet Port Ranald Drive.  Turn right and follow this road towards the marina.  Just past the Troon Cruising Club turn left onto Kennedy Road and at the end (Port Ronnald) turn left to follow Titchfield Road.  At the small seafront car park go through the sunken gardens (previously an outdoor swimming pool) and join the esplanade.  Where St Meddans Street terminates at the seashore (there are toilets here), take to the beach for the final kilometre back to the South Beach Esplanade Car Park.

Falkirk Wheel Circular

This walk starts at the Falkirk Wheel and climbs to pass the wheel and join the Union Canal.

Following the north side of the Union Canal the route then heads north through Summerford Park to join the Forth and Clyde Canal. Heading north again the route follows the Mungal Burn to the River Carron. Taking the perimeter of Camelon Cemetery the path then heads south through Camelon  to join the Forth and Clyde Canal once again for the final stretch back to the Falkirk Wheel and the starting point.

Starting Point for the Walk:

Camelon Station Car Park – OS Reference NS 867 807.

Getting there: 24 miles/37 minutes

Take your favourite route to the M8 [Edinburgh] and leave at Junction 13 onto the M80 [Stirling].  Leave the M80 onto the M876 [Kincardine Bridge] and exit the M876 at Junction 1 [Falkirk] onto the A883.  At Three Bridges Roundabout take the first exit onto the A803 [Falkirk/Camelon].  Continue past Tesco/Aldi and at the traffic lights turn left [Camelon Station].  Cross the next mini-roundabout (Home Bargains on left, Tenpin on right) and at the station fence turn right where there is ample car parking.  Parking is free.

The Walk:  Falkirk Loop – 7.1 miles (11 km)

From the station car park head south on pedestrian routes to the A803.  Turn right and cross at the pedestrian crossing and continue into Hamilton Street.  Where Hamilton Street meets Brown Street cross straight over the road and into a pedestrian lane which emerges at Wall Street.  Turn left and after about 150m turn right into Carmuirs Street.  After another 100m turn left into Carmuirs Avenue.  At the roundabout continue straight on and bear right to join the Forth and Clyde Canal towpath.  Keep to the north bank heading west.

At the Falkirk Wheel, cross the bridge to the south side of the canal and continue up to the Visitor Centre where there are café and toilet facilities.  Then continue up the path to the top of the Falkirk Wheel and admire the engineering.  Continue through the tunnel to emerge on the Union Canal towpath.  Follow the towpath on the north bank and continue past the Summerford Viaduct.  Where the main towpath does a dog leg to the right take a sharp left to go down hill to meet the Glenfuir Road.  Turn right under the railway and right again into Summerford Park.  After a stroll around the park, exit onto Summerford Road.  Turn right and at the junction with Windsor Road turn left and continue until it meets the Glenfuir Road.  Cross this road, and after crossing the Forth and Clyde Canal turn right to join the towpath on the north bank and head east.

Continue along the towpath going under the A803 and join the pavement of the A9.  After crossing the railway line descend to a pedestrian crossing point and cross the road.  Follow the path that veers right along the Mungal Burn.  At Cotland Way, cross the road and turn left (crossing the Mungal Burn) into Garbett Place and then immediately right onto a good path behind the housing.  Follow this path until a small play park and turn left (skirting the estate).  This path is of varying quality and can be wet and muddy at times.  Take the second path going left which leads into Campbell Christie Drive and continue south.  At the junction turn right and then left into Campbell Christie Crescent.  After about 50m take the path to the left which leads up to the cemetery.  Skirt the cemetery and descend to the boundary path of the playing fields.  The path exits onto Stirling Road.  Turn left under the railway bridge and keep to the left side of the road.  Just at the junction with Nailer Road take the upward path that doubles back to the left to cross the Stirling Road and return to the start point at the station car park.

Troon Beach

Starting Point for the Walk:

At the South Beach Esplanade Car Park on Troon sea front – OS Reference NS 326 298.  Parking is free.  There is other parking available on the street (South Beach – B749) if the car park is full.

Getting there: 34 miles/42 minutes

Take your favourite route to the M77 towards Kilmarnock.  Continue onto the A77 and at Dutch House Roundabout take the third exit towards Irvine (A78).  At the Monktonhead Roundabout take the second exit towards Prestwick Airport (A79).  Having cleared the roundabout move to the righthand lane and continue indicating right.  Turn right towards Troon (B749).  Continue on this road and just past the 30mph signs the road turns 90° left.  Continue over the railway line and just as the road (B749) turns 90° right, to parrallel the seafront, turn left into the car park.

The Walk:  Troon to Prestwick to Troon – 7.9 miles (13 km) (Shorter option available)

This beach walk uses parts of the Smugglers’ Trail and the Ayrshire Coastal Path.

Exit the car park onto the esplanade and cross the sea wall onto the beach.  Turn left and follow the beach south.  Where the Pow Burn exits into the sea continue inland (but still on the beach) before climbing a few steps to join a well-defined path skirting the southern end of the Royal Troon Golf Course and passing the Prestwick Holiday Park.  Keep to the roadway past the entrance to the holiday park heading for a set of closed gates.  Just before the gates turn right through a wooden gate and right again to join another roadway.  Cross the bridge over the Pow Burn and veer right off the roadway to a signed rising pathway towards the dunes.  Continue over the dunes to join the beach once again and turn left.  At the water pumping station join the esplanade and continue around the bay until the esplanade comes to an end.  At this point, admire the views, turnaround and retrace the outward route.

If you wish a shorter walk of about 4 miles you can get the train back to Troon from Prestwick Town station.

Three trails and an amble in Ayr

Please park in the free car park at the beach by Ayr India, turning in right from Seafield Road. There are toilets close by but they accept cards only.

To get there
If you have one, set your SatNav for Seafield Road, Ayr.

Otherwise, take your favourite route to the M77/A77 towards Ayr and follow this to the Monkton Roundabout at Prestwick, turning left towards Ayr. At the roundabout with the A70 (with Dobbies Garden Centre on your left) turn right towards Ayr along Holmston Road. Take the first left along Hillfoot Road. Go straight across the A713 on to Belmont Road which becomes Ewenfield Road. At Monument Road turn right. Ignore Chapelpark Road directly opposite and Corsehill Park (1st left) and take the second left into Corsehill Road. This becomes Racecourse View, crosses the A719 at the Chestnuts Hotel, and continues into Seafield Road. Turn right at Ayr India and park (free). This is the route you will take back to Dobbies for our meal.

If you miss the left hand turn along Holmston Road, continue along the A70 and follow the signs to the “SEAFRONT”. At the junction with the A719 turn left and follow it south to the traffic lights with Seafield Road on the right and Racecourse View on the left. Turn right into Seafield Road.

The Walk
We begin our walk by returning to Seafield Road, crossing the A719 and immediately entering what was the Old Racecourse and is now playing fields at the corner of the A719 (Doonfoot Road) and Racecourse View. We take the red blaes path straight to the far corner and turn right following the rectangular shape of the park. At the southern end, the perimeter curves round to enter Belleise Park and, although there is a path across the golf course, out of courtesy we will continue until we meet a wide public track coming in from the left. This takes us past various golfing huts etc to a burnt-out hotel (on the right) where we turn sharp left. The path continues to be well-marked and trodden and leads directly to the B7024 which we cross carefully into Rozelle Park.

On entering Rozelle Park we take the second path on the left around a delightful duck pond. At the far end, just as it curves right to go back round the other side of the pond, there is a poppy enticing us into a number of paths which contain sculptures illustrating scenes from the 1st and 2nd War. We’ll meander here, allowing time to find the sculptures from the illustrated sheet (provided) and to take photos.

Following the path back to the duck pond, we continue around the duck pond to the main path and turn left towards the café, Art Gallery and toilets if required. We then continue straight on to the end of the park and turn left through a little woodland. At the end we turn right following the Slaphouse Burn, crossing the B road and following the same path to the A79. Here we turn right along the pavement and then take the cycle track along a disused railway towards the Burns Heritage Centre. This is on the left-hand side of the track and there is a cut-off leading to it. There is a shop, toilets, and a café if you prefer to eat at the Centre. The Centre is free. To eat a packed lunch, go straight through the Centre and the café, through the double glass doors and turn right at the play park towards ‘The Monument’. Go through a gate, across a church car park and turn left following the signs to the Monument. Find an attractive and, if necessary, dry place to eat. There are several alcoves and niches to explore.

After lunch, we’ll wander down to the Auld Brig and then come back along the small road alongside the River Doon to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel. We turn right and cross the road to the Auld Kirk.

Unfortunately, the famous Tam o’ Shanter signs along the Poet’s Path towards Burns’ birthplace are being renovated but for the sake of completeness we’ll do a little loop around the ‘Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie’ (marked on the map in red). At the end, we leave the path, come back down towards the Auld Kirk but cross the road and turn into Shanter Way. At the end there is a path that continues either along the River Doon (steep steps down and back up again) or along the top (no steps). We join up and follow the path round to what is now the Ayr Coastal Path and turn left. There is a pathway beside this busy road. At the A719, (opposite the Secret Garden) a path continues along the River Doon and emerges on the beach. Here we turn right and follow the beach back to the cars.

In the car park at the beginning you’ll be given a wee pack containing:

  • Images of carvings from the First and Second World War to be found in Rozelle Park entitled ‘The Remembrance Trail’
  • Images from around the Burns Heritage Centre and the Poet’s Path entitled ‘The Burns Heritage Centre”
  • Extracts from ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ with images from the Poet’s Path, sadly removed for refurbishing.

After trying various restaurants in Ayr which seemed prohibitively expensive, we are booked for something to eat in Dobbies which is at least very good value even if the ambience is lacking. You’ll be asked to sign the menu in the carpark and I’ll phone in choices and numbers. At least it’s on the way home!

A whirl around Irvine

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)
Please note:

  1. For those wishing a shorter walk (about 4 miles) return to Irvine by train from Barassie.
  2. The walk makes use of cycle tracks so please take care and be observant – not every cyclist has a bell!!
  3. Toilets should be available near the Pilot House and in Barassie (750 metres south of Hillhouse Road).
  4. 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.


Classes and Education

This walk from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan and back will take you through forest, along country roads as well as using a Sustrans cycle way. You will go via a rather affluent Victorian residential area and on to the Stirling University campus. The return route, by the Allan Water, may be a fairly muddy track!

Distance is about eight- ten miles.

Starting Point:
The starting point is at OS Reference NN 781 014 which is the car park on the north side of Dunblane Cathedral.

Getting there: 34 miles/40 minutes
Take your usual route (M8 from Glasgow) to M80 towards Stirling etc. Stay on this road to the large Doune, Perth, Bridge of Allan roundabout where you take the third edit (B8033) to Dunblane. This shortish approach to Dunblane is a dual carriageway. Ignore the first road left to the town centre and continue to the roundabout and turn left on to B8064. Follow this road down to the Cross, turn right to the Cathedral, then right, left and left to the car park to the north of the Cathedral.

The Walk: Dunblane to Stirling Uni Loop – 10 miles (Route can be shortened if required)
Turn left from the car park and left again and up the hill for about two hundred metres. Turn right between two white gate lodges into Holmehill and follow the path (left at T junction) to main road. Cross the road and turn right then left into The Crescent. Follow this to St Margaret’s Drive which becomes Newton Crescent. Continue to Leighton Avenue and turn right along public path to Sherrifmuir. Continue to entrance on right to Dykedale Wood.

Follow the path through the wood, taking left-hand fork, till minor road and turn right. Walk down hill to T junction and turn left into Glen Road. Continue through the very attractive Kippenrait Glen to the first house in Brig of Allan keeping to the left at the gushet and carry on till you reach the quarry at the edge of Coppermine Wood. Continue along the path at the edge of the wood and then follow Abercromby Drive to junction with Kenilworth Road. Turn left into Kenilworth Road and proceed to Sheriffmuir Road where you turn left and keep going till you reach the edge of Hermitage Wood. Turn right into a loan that runs along the edge of the wood. Then go through the second gate in the wall on your right into Stirling University Campus.

Follow the path to Airthrey Castle and turn right along the path between the loch and the student residences. Follow this till it takes you out of the campus and turn right along the main road into Bridge of Allan then right up Coneyhill Road, left along Kennilworth Road to Well Road. Then take another left at Alexander Drive and turn right at the main road.

After the Allanwater Café turn right into Blairforkie Drive. Just after Darnallan House turn left and follow the footpath along the river back to Dunblane along the Darn Road (which is now just a path). Cross the dual carriageway, then along the High Street back to the Cathedral.

Knock, Knock! Knock Hill in Largs

The walk starts in Largs where evidence of Roman baths were unearthed in 1820.  The route follows the Ayrshire Coastal Path north via Pencil Point for a refreshing promenade along the seafront. At Noddsdale Water the route heads inland, but still on the Ayrshire Coastal Path (!), and gently climbs until reaching the Iron Age hill fort on The Knock (known locally as Knock Hill) where, weather permitting, there should be good views. The descent is down Blackhouse Burn, then passes close to Knock Castle before returning to the seafront and following the Ayrshire Coastal Path back to the Marina.

At around 10 miles it is a relatively easy walk but can be muddy in places!

Starting Point
The starting point is at OS Reference NS 209 575 which is the first car park on the left just over the railway bridge heading for Largs Yacht Haven.

Largs, Scotland, United Kingdom

Getting there: 33 miles/50 minutes
Take your favourite route to the M8 heading for Greenock. At Junction 28A take the exit to Irvine A737.  Follow this to the Roadhead roundabout where you turn right to Lochwinnoch on the A760.  Stay on the A760, through Kilbirnie, following signs for Largs till you end up at the bottom of the Hayley Brae where you turn left, away from Largs and towards the Yacht Haven.  You pass a small estate of houses on the right, then some playing fields and then turn right into the road for the Yacht Haven.

The Walk: Knock, knock – 11 miles (18km)
Start by exiting the car park on the Ayr Coastal Path towards Largs and continue along this till you reach Aubery Crescent, where you turn right towards the main road.  When this is reached cross carefully, turn left and then right to continue up Barr Crescent. The route follows the higher Knock Hill variant of the Ayrshire Coastal Path; ignore a footbridge but soon after fork left, as signed, to follow the path upstream beside the burn.  The path emerges on a housing estate at Glen Avenue; turn left and follow this to reach the main junction with Brisbane Glen Road. Turn left and follow the road, initially on pavement but then on the road itself as open countryside is reached. Look out for a track on the left signed for High Road / Knock Hill; take this track, following it to Brisbane Mains Farm.

Pass the farm buildings and then follow the track through the gate on the right at the far end.  Pass above the buildings, avoiding the free-range chickens.  The now rougher track continues, passing through another gate. At one point the track leads through a sheep pen – bypass this on the right to rejoin the track beyond.  There are good views of the rich farmland on this section. Further on – above a wooded burn – take the left fork (signed Ayrshire Coastal Path) to continue on a boggy ATV track uphill.  A junction is reached by a marker – keep left here to begin the detour up to visit the summit of Knock Hill, which soon comes into view.

The boggy track leads to the left of Knock Hill and spirals round to ascend to the summit.  The view expands to include the Cumbraes, Arran, Bute and a great sweep of the Firth of Clyde as the summit area is reached.  A trig point marks the highest point, whilst the earthworks of the iron age fort which was once built here are still readily apparent.

Retrace your steps back down the hill and back along the boggy track.  A marker post indicates where you can turn left to follow a very faint path to a wall, then turn right along rough ground beside the wall to rejoin the main boggy track at a gate .  Pass through the gate and continue on the faint and boggy path to the left of the burn, passing some fine trees.  Keep ahead until a corner in a fence enclosing the burn/ravine is reached; here keep along to the left side of the fence.  Eventually the woods are entered at a kissing gate; continue down through the trees until you reach the tarmac road.
Turn left to follow this quiet minor road back towards Largs.  It passes near the privately owned Knock Castle and a fine building opposite, continuing past the Routenburn Golf Course and giving some good views across to the Firth of Clyde.  Eventually the main A78 is reached; turn left, to cross the bridge over Noddsdale Water and then right to retrace your steps downstream and back along the promenade to the car park.

12 Gates: West Kilbride to Fairlie

After a low-gradient climb on quiet roads, through a lovely avenue, already seeing views of the firth of Clyde, up above a reservoir, you survey Arran and later, many other islands.  Walking in this direction you minimise views of wind turbines as you walk a fairly level (mainly Landrover) track to Fairlie via a fishing loch, deciduous and coniferous woodland, and a fairy glen & castle.  You return by train to West Kilbride.

Starting Point:
Start at OS Reference NS 208 454 which is the car park at West Kilbride railway station.

West Kilbride, Scotland, United Kingdom

Getting there: 31 miles/55 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to join the M8 towards Greenock. Exit the M8 at Junction 28A onto the A737 (Irvine) and continue to Dalry. In Dalry turn right onto B780 (Kilbirnie/W Kilbride/Ardrossan) and continue (it becomes B781) into West Kilbride (Cubrieshaw Street). Pass the junction* mentioned below and after 500m turn left into the station parking area. Parking is free. Toilets are in Glen Road; a 5 minute walk.Turn right just past the station parking area into Brigend and at the junction with the church go left (alternative parking on left). Continue along Main Street and take second left into Glen Road. Returning by car is a circuitous 1 mile circuit around the one-way system!

The Walk: West Kilbride to Fairlie – 6.0 miles (Note: stout footwear recommended)
Turn right out of the station car park into Cubrieshaw Street bearing right onto B781. As the road swings right leave the B781 by going straight on at the junction* displaying rusting horticultural equipment. Continue on this country road for 250m (passing under power lines) and turn right (signed Crosbie Towers) just past the warning sign for horses. Follow this road (The Avenue) over the railway bridge and under more power lines. Continue via an avenue of trees to Crosbie Mains Farm to the walk’s first gate (#1). Follow the LRT upwards and at a fork in the path (at an old red Water Board building) bear right through a green gate (#2) and continue up above the reservoir. Ignore the locked gate (#3) and follow a stone wall to find another gate (#4). Go through the gate (#4), and keeping the stone wall in sight down on the left, follow the LRT (which gets progressively rougher) as it contours around Glentane Hill. The next gate (#5) leads to a grassy meadow which is easy walking. Head down on the left to the far end of this large field and at a wall there is a gate (#6). Continue through it and into a short fenced passageway then pass through a wire fence. Head for the left-hand-side of the fishing loch (Glenburn Reservoir) between two trees. The path can be seen ahead but not yet the route to it. Take the path (on duckboards) round the fishing loch to the right and after crossing a bridge turn right off it, through another gate (#7) by a hut, into a car park. Take the wide track down to the large gate (#8) at the road. Turn left onto the road and follow it down past a small car park (on the left). Go over a cattle grid and look out for a wide track on the right just before some trees. Go through the gate (#9) onto the LRT which briefly climbs and then levels out. Glenside Wood is on the left. Continue to the next gate (#10).

OPTION: By Glenside Wood take a grassy path on the right over Black Hill (an ascent of 60m). Kaimhill Quarry, to the east, used to supply millstones. When the track runs out at the top of the hill, cross over some moss-covered stones, and with the stream to the right, go downhill and swing west to pick up the track to gate (#10).

Go through gate (#10) and then proceed to gate (#11) in the same fence. Once through the latter gate go down the side of the forest and look for a kissing gate (#12) on the right (through a wall) which leads into the forest. Follow this path looking for a gate (#13) on the left that leads into another field. Follow the grassy single track round and up to the right to a gap in the forest. Cross the shallow Southannan Burn using stepping stones and exit this tiny piece of forest through another gate (#14). Once out of the forest look for an inconspicuous path on the left (heading downhill) which becomes well defined. Head down to the gate (#15) and into another field. Keep near the trees and look out for a kissing gate (#16) which leads to a bridge over a stream. Follow the path from the bridge downhill, passing Fairlie Castle on the left, and as the track enters the housing estate it becomes a road (Castlepark Drive). Turn left into Burnfoot Road and then immediately left again over a small bridge that leads to Fairlie Station.