Ayrshire Coastal Path: 5

BEING WRITTEN

6.99 miles 3h 37min ascent 208m

Maidens-Dunure

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Ayrshire Coastal Path: 4

BEING WRITTEN

8.24 miles 4h 46min ascent 68m

Girvan Mains – Maidens

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Ayrshire Coastal Path: 3 – a very British picnic

7.58 miles 3h 55m ascent 153m

Lendalfoot-Girvan Mains

Many years ago, a small island was discovered off the south west coast of Scotland by a group of fairies who were on their way to the mainland.

The fairies were blown off course during a fierce storm and found shelter on this small island.

The Queen fairy, who was called Elizabeth. loved this island so much that she asked the other fairies if they would like to make the island their new home.and of course they all agreed! The Queen fairy named the island ‘Ailsa Craig’ which also means Elizabeth’s rock or fairy rock.

During this storm, a small group of fairies also made it to the mainland and stumbled upon some magic steps at McCreath Park. The fairies decided to make this area their home as they too fell in love with this beautiful place.

Legend has it that the fairies can be seen in the dark of the night. glistening in the moonlight. flying back and forth to the Ailsa Craig to visit their friends..and if you are very lucky. you might hear them chatting and giggling on a still summers day as they secretly go about their business.

South Ayrshire Council
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Ayrshire Coastal Path: 2 – beaches, barriers and braying bovines

7.18 miles 3h 19m ascent 118m

Ballantrae-Lendalfoot

Trudge: V. (intr) to walk laboriously, wearily or without spirit but steadily and persistently (Orig. obsc)

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

This word accompanied my thoughts as I walked, and re-appeared as I reflected on the day. I had assumed it to be a lexical blend of tread and drudge, but with each step on the beach I began to wonder if it might be onomatopoeic. The internet, with its limitless supply of unproven etymologies, suggested an origin in Scandinavian words, such as trudja, snowshoes, so perhaps I’m not the only one to associate crunch and trudge.

The weather had been lovely for several days but we arrived to grey skies, rain and blustery winds. On a better day we would have savoured the views and given the hedgerows the attention they deserved. We might not have been quite so put out by walking beside a main road and could have enjoyed our lunch in the open air.

Instead. We trudged.

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The Last of the Long Field Hills

2.29 miles 1h 15min ascent 75m

Little Auchenfad Hill

Auchenfad, achadh fada, means the long field, which I take to be the land bounded by Craigbill and Auchenfad Hills to the north, and Trostan and Little Auchenfad Hills to the south. Little Auchenfad Hill was the one we had yet to visit.

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Auchengray Hill – one of Monica’s neighbours

2.21 miles 1h 44m ascent 132m

I have seen two suggested origins for the name Auchengray. Field of the moor or field of the herd. Auchen is common in place names, almost certainly coming from achadh, ‘field’ and an/na ‘the’; The second part might be gréaich, ‘mountain flat’, ‘level moory place’ or greigh ‘herd’. I’m discounting suggestions that the second part is from the Norse grar, meaning ‘gray’ since the first part of the name is Gaelic. There are no records of the name before it became anglicised so we will probably never know but the top of the hill is certainly a ‘level moory place’, as you can see in the photo above.

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Ayrshire Coastal Path: 1 – fairy foxgloves and standing stones

9.54 miles 4h 21m ascent 209m

Glen App Kirk- Ballantrae

Behind yon hills where Stinsiar flows,
‘Mang moors an’ mosses many, O

Robert Burns

This was our first section of the Ayrshire Coastal Way, taking us from Glen App Kirk over hills and across moors to Ballantrae and the River Stinchar. Nine and a half miles, but 15.3 miles according to my GPS tracker which seemed to think I had gone across Loch Ryan. There are two options for this section: one takes a “Clifftop route” between the Shallochwreck Burn and Downan point, while the other, the “Scenic route” meanders along farm tracks and (very) minor roads about a kilometre inland. I would usually have chosen the clifftop option but some descriptions I had read suggested it was closed, while others painted a disconcerting picture of electric fences and dangerous paths needed to avoid bulls etc. What with having the dogs with us it seemed prudent to choose the Scenic Route.

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Three Peaks: Day 3 – Whernside, viaduct, aqueduct and bolting rhubarb

8.04 miles 5h 3min ascent 473m

Ribblehead-Viaduct-Dales High Way-Cable Rake-Whernside-Skelside-Broadrake-The Scar- Gunnersfleet-Ribblehead

Whernside was the third of our Yorkshire Three Peaks walk. It takes its name from the OE cweorn ‘Quern, millstone’ and at 736m it is the highest of Yorkshire’s three peaks, and the highest summit in Yorkshire – at least since the 1974 boundary changes kicked its rival, Mickle Fell (literally Great Hill), into County Durham.

Our walk is summed up pretty well by The Yorkshire Dales website description of the route from Ribblehead…

Starting from the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct this route takes you to the highest point in Yorkshire – Whernside. On a clear day there are great views out to the Howgills, the Lake District and Morecambe Bay. The ascent of Whernside involves a long steady climb and a lovely high-level ridge. The descent is steeper with a final flat section through the fields to finish underneath the spectacular Ribblehead viaduct.

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