Walk 4 : Kilwinning to Irvine : 12 miles
The route progresses out of busy Kilwinning through countryside and woodland, still following National Cycle Route 7, crossing the river Irvine and into the town. En route for Irvine, you pass several nature reserves around the River Garnock and estuary. Though Irvine is known as one of Scotland’s “New Towns”, there are ancient traces of pilgrimage and early saints’ cults in place names and holy wells, scattered along the riverside. Even the modern Council headquarters is on the site of a Carmelite monastery. Pre-Development Corporation Irvine can be glimpsed at ruined Seagate Castle, just off the route, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed on her way to Whithorn. Fullarton ConneXions is a welcome rest stop and a good example of the modernisation of a Victorian Church into a community and church hub. Irvine is also famous for its seafaring traditions and you will enjoy the Scottish Maritime Museum on the quay and the redeveloped harbour area, before making your way onto the beach at Irvine Beach Park. It is possible to walk the entire way along the beach, past rare dune habitats along the shore, to the destination at Troon.
This section comprises cycle track, woodland and busy town centre, followed by wide expanses of sandy beach. Refreshments can be bought at Kilwinning, Irvine and at Troon.
Illustrative maps courtesy of David Langworth, Cartographer
Detailed walking instructions can be purchased from www.whithornway.org