Walk 6 : Ayr to Maybole : 14.5 miles
Leaving Ayr either by the beach and esplanade along the Ayrshire Coastal Path, or by the Ayr to Alloway road, you visit one of Scotland’s most historic sites – the village of Alloway is a must for Scots poetry enthusiasts, as the location of Robert Burns’s birthplace and of the Birthplace Museum, with Alloway Auld Kirk and Brig O’ Doon, both appearing in the famed poem “Tam O’Shanter”. One option is to follow the Ayrshire Coastal Path for Dunure Harbour, but beware – some sections require favourable tides to round the headlands. If tides don’t permit, follow an alternative route over the Carrick Hills. Dunure is a picturesque fishing village, with an impressive ruined Castle, associated with the dramatic story of the roasting of the Abbot of Crossraguel. From here to Girvan, turbulent history and many of the castles are associated with the Kennedy family. The route over the Carrick Hills involves a steep ascent, but you are rewarded with views over to Arran, with the Mull of Kintyre beyond and you may glimpse the Clyde Estuary looking towards the Isle of Bute and even, southwards, the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. Descent from the tops is into the historic town of Maybole.
This walk is largely coastal, with a turn inland and a steep ascent. Or if tides are unfavourable, an initial short time on the A719 coastal road, then leaving the main road for a single track road to the east of Brown Carrick Hill before passing through Garryhorn and Glenalmond, ending close to Maybole railway station. Refreshments can be found in Ayr, Alloway, Dunure and Maybole.
Illustrative maps courtesy of David Langworth, Cartographer
Detailed walking instructions can be purchased from www.whithornway.org