Day 153: Culzean to Irvine

Distance: 26.20 miles

Ascent: 1647 feet

Weather: Light Rain Morning, Sunny SPells Afternoon

Accommodation: Harbourside Hotel, Irvine


I woke up to the sound of rain on my tent, which had been expected. I got everything sorted in the tent and as I was on a campsite quickly carried the rucksack over and dumped it in the little laundry room to keep it dry, before returning and taking down the tent. I then quickly ate some breakfast in the laundry room and put my rubbish in a bin. As I was just about to leave the campsite warden came in and didn’t seem too pleased that I was in there and asked if it was my rubbish in the bin which I replied it was (I thought bins were meant for rubbish!) and got another snarl. She may have been semi joking but didn’t seem overly happy.

As it was raining I packed my camera in the bag and followed woodland tracks down to Culzean Bay. From here I could look back on the very impressive Culzean Castle perched right on the edge of the cliff above the bay. The path followed the beach for a couple of miles, before taking a steep track up and onto the cliffs from where after some ups and downs it descended into the quaint village of Dunure with its little harbour.

I had arrived about 5 minutes before 10 but decided to wait till 10 to have a tea in the little café on the harbour. The rain had also stopped so I took of my waterproofs. On the way out of Dunure after almost 3000 miles of walking, there was a first. I suddenly heard an almighty scream and racket from my right and wondered what the hell was going on, I assumed someone was in trouble. Suddenly I saw a 50 something woman running across her lawn at me wailing. It twigged on me that she was screaming ‘Get Off!’ and she must have thought I was on her land. She wouldn’t stop screaming at me to the point that I had to stop and ask her why she was screaming at me as I was not on her land, I was on the track on the other (public) side of her wall. Her response ‘Private Road’ screamed repeatedly, I point out to her as I have learnt on this walk that public paths often go down ‘Private Roads’ and the sign means Private to vehicles where it applies to pedestrians as well in Scotland it will say something like Private Road – No Access for Pedestrians. She still would not stop screaming so I decided to just give her a leaving statement ‘I am out having a nice walk on a track that I believe to be the path, if you believe it to be a private track I am more than 100m from the residence so under Right to Roam I could walk here as it would still give reasonable privacy. But the main issue is I should not be screamed at aggressively, including accusing me of trespassing when I am walking somewhere I am allowed, so please can you refrain from screaming at me or any subsequent walkers’ and with that I carried on with my walk.

I cannot explain how ridiculous this woman had been as the track I was on was 1m of the beach, and on the other side of the wall to her garden. But just after carrying on I bumped into 2 people on the beach who were laughing and informed me not to worry about it as that was just what she was like and that she had nothing better to do.

From here the actual path headed up onto the cliff, but as it was low tide I decided to head along the foreshore instead. I really enjoyed this part which was a mixture of pebble and low rock scrambles, with imposing cliffs on my right and beautiful views over to Arran on my left. There was 3 miles of this before I reached the sandier beach just shy of Ayr. The Greenan Castle ruins looked impressive atop the cliff and it was not long until I was in Ayr. Ayr is the biggest place I have headed through for a while, and has several very impressive bridges including a weirdly proportioned stone arch bridge. Ayr merges into Prestwick next door and I stopped to grab some food before carrying on.

I had originally proposed to stop just after Prestwick, but due to logistics for next week I decided as it was now sunny I would extend the day a bit to Irvine. This entailed walking along the beach in front of Royal Troon, a course that appeared much more basic and less aesthetically pleasing than that of Turnberry yesterday.

I headed through Troon, which was busy on a Sunday afternoon before a final 5 miles or so along the beach in the late afternoon sun to Irvine. I had booked a last minute cheap room for my rest day, and Irvine should be a good place for a rest day.

So a enjoyable day apart from being screamed at for no reason.

charles compton