337 Ardrossan to Fairlie

It’s a dull morning. I park my car in a side road and walk down to the beach. This is North Bay, Ardrossan. A ferry is coming into the harbour. From Arran? The island is invisible this morning, screened by a murky mist.

01 Arran Ferry, Ruth in North Bay, Ardrossan, hiking the coast of Scotland

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336 pm Stevenston to Ardrossan

I leave my rocky perch and begin walking back along the spit of land. It’s time to head northwards, towards Saltcoats and Ardrossan. After spending a morning inland, it’s great to be walking beside the sea again.

The beach here may not be as pretty as the Stevenston Beach, but the sandbank creates a natural warm pool, and it looks a great place for children to play

27 Stevenston east shore, Ruth hiking the Ayrshire Coastal Path, Scotland

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336a Irvine to Stevenston

Irvine is a town beside the sea, but it’s not really a seaside town. Most of the time, if you wander around the streets and retail parks, you have no idea you are only a mile or so from the coast.

Anyway, on this glorious July morning, I set off to walk northwards to Ardrossan, but I can’t follow the coast. There’s a river in the way. So I follow the official Ayrshire Coastal Path route – a tarmac track running through pleasant parkland.

01 setting off from Irvine, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

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335 Troon to Irvine

It rains all morning. Hard downpours, interspersed with grey Scottish smirr. I sit in my car and wait until the worst of it clears. Then I unfurl my umbrella and set off to follow the Ayrshire coastal path around the North Bay of Troon.

01 North Bay, Troon, Ruth hiking the coast of Scotland

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334pm Ayr to Troon

Having spent most of the morning finishing off yesterday’s walk, it’s time to turn my attention to today’s trek.

I walk past a newly developed residential area. Modern apartment blocks leer above an old dock, where a lone wooden boat is propped upright on the dry earth. The only remnant of a fleet, maybe? It stands defiant.

30 old dock, Ayr, Ruth's coastal walk in Scotland

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334 am Heads of Ayr

This morning I catch the bus back to the Heads of Ayr holiday park. My mission? To complete the section of yesterday’s walk from the point where the tide defeated me.

01 Heads of Ayr, Ruth walking the Scottish coast

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333 Maidens to Dunure to Ayr

I set off from Maidens in good spirits. I’m looking forward to today’s walk. I should reach Ayr by the end of the afternoon. Even the sight of a holiday park filled with static caravans doesn’t dampen my good mood.

01 Maidenhead Bay, Ruth hiking to Ayr, Scottish Coast

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332 Girvan to Maidens

It’s a dull day and rain is forecast this afternoon. I’m walking from Girvan to Maidens, and hope to be there by lunch time… just in time to avoid getting wet. (I should have known better. My walks never go to plan!)

Before I set off, I take a few photos of Ailsa Craig. Irresistible.

01 Ailsa Craig from Girvan, Ruth Livingstone walking the Ayrshire Coastal Path

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331 Ballantrae to Girvan

Yesterday it rained heavily and solidly. I couldn’t face walking, and went to look around Culzean Castle instead. Today’s forecast promises sunny intervals and no rain (hooray!), so this morning I catch the bus back to Ballantrae and resume my coastal trek.

01 sea front Ballantrae, Ruth walking the Ayrshire Coastal Path, Scotland

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330 Glenapp to Ballantrae

The bus drops me off at the little Glenapp Church. A signpost tells me it’s 11 miles to Stranraer and 36 miles to the Mull of Galloway. But I’ve been there, done that…

01 footpath signs, Glenapp Church, Ruth hiking in Scotland, Ayrshire Coastal Path

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