On a clear day the views from this route are simply outstanding: the islands of Cumbrae & Arran and the pink sandy beaches at Fairlie and Hunterston. A variety of woodland paths, tracks and grassy hillsides lead you gently uphill past the remains of Fairlie Castle and along the base of Black Hill. The return section follows the Fairlie Moor Road and then the Ayrshire Coastal Path. There is the opportunity to visit some hidden waterfalls along the route.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Fairlie Rail Station (KA29 0DX). From the car park follow a lane heading North between the last house on Station Road and some trees.
(1) After only 80m it emerges onto Burnfoot Road where you turn right (East) to follow a path signposted “Fairlie Castle, Glen & Waterall, Kaim Hill”.
From here a woodland path follows Fairlie Burn uphill to the remains of Fairlie Castle.
(2) The first waterfall can be found by veering off the path immediately behind the castle. You can pick up a faint trail in the trees heading towards the burn and if you follow it upstream a little across rougher ground, you will reap your reward. The waterfall tumbles down beneath a giant stone slab – this is the footbridge you will soon cross to continue the walk.
(3) Return to the main path behind the castle. Turn right (East) and approx 40m along you will see the footbridge on your right. You can either cross now, or follow the route to another stunning waterfall a little further along the path (some scrambling is required to reach it). If you feel up to it then leave the bridge for now and continue along the main path for approx 200m. Look out for a wooden sign that says ‘Waterfall’ on your right at one of the bends in the path. Follow the trail into the trees and up a muddy banking. You will hear the noise of the waterfall before you see it! Enjoy, then retrace your steps back to the footbridge.
(4) Cross the footbridge, go through the kissing gate and you will emerge onto a meadow.
Cross the meadow diagonally uphill (South East) to go through a gate in the wall. There are 2 paths from here (only one shown on the map) – take the lower path which runs parallel to the wall heading South. On a clear day the views from here are spectacular!
(5) Traverse the hillside for approx 220m, gradually gaining height to emerge at a gated entrance to the woods.
(6) Immediately on entering the woods there is a small ford to cross then the path continues through the trees for 640m to a gate leading onto open hillside. Just beyond this woodland you walk across a large rock in the ground which has some ancient stone and cup markings on it (though you can easily miss them!)
Follow a faint path left (South East) towards the corner of two dry stone walls and pass through the gates.
Follow the (sometimes muddy) track to the right (South) along the base of Black Hill. After 1.5km this emerges onto the Fairlie Moor Road. The continuation of the route is to the right, but for a short and very worthwhile detour to another waterfall turn left (East) along the road for 90m.
(7) Just beyond the bend in the road, look for a faint footpath on the right (not signposted). It leads to a beautiful hidden waterfall on Glen Burn – you can actually walk in behind it if there is not too much water at the time of your visit!
Retrace your steps to the Fairlie Moor Road, turn left (West) and follow it downhill for 1.5km to meet with A78/Irvine Road.
(8) Take care crossing over then turn right (North) onto the NCN 757 / Ayrshire Coastal Path route. Continue along the cycle path for 1.3km to reach Fairlie.
Take the second road on your right (East) onto Montgomerie Avenue and at the end of the street turn left (North) onto Montgomerie Drive. Station Road is at the end of this street. Turn right (East) on Station Road to reach Fairlie Rail Station (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 49ft - Fairlie Rail Station
1 : mi 0.06 - alt. 59ft - Start of riverside path on right
2 : mi 0.32 - alt. 203ft - First waterfall
3 : mi 0.49 - alt. 289ft - Second waterfall
4 : mi 0.63 - alt. 213ft - Footbridge
5 : mi 0.91 - alt. 367ft - Gated entrance to woods
6 : mi 1.3 - alt. 453ft - Gate and ring and cup markings
7 : mi 2.51 - alt. 417ft - Third waterfall
8 : mi 3.5 - alt. 39ft - NCN 757 / Ayrshire Coastal Path route
D/A : mi 4.76 - alt. 49ft - Fairlie Rail Station
By train: regular service to/from Fairlie Rail Station from Glasgow and the Three Towns
By car: small car park at Fairlie Rail Station and on-street parking options on surrounding residential streets
There are often sheep on this route, especially along the track at the base of Black Hill
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Beginning at Largs Marina this route takes you the length of the promenade before heading inland and uphill across boggy ground towards Knock Hill. From the trig point on a clear day your efforts will be rewarded with beautiful views across the Clyde towards the isles of Cumbrae, Bute and Arran, as well as the Argyll hills and Cowal Peninsular. Descending towards Skelmorlie Castle and Wemyss Bay, with one very short exception the remainder of the walk is along quiet minor roads and pavements.
Starting at the ferry slip on the Isle of Cumbrae, you will head uphill to the Glaid Stone, the island’s highest point, before descending into Millport. From here you walk back via the quiet Ferry Road. Along the way enjoy the views across to the Isle of Bute, Isle of Arran, Little Cumbrae and the hills of Ayrshire. You will pass several small lochs, a mineral well and the Cathedral of the Isles (Britain’s smallest cathedral). Not forgetting the famous Crocodile Rock!
By combining the High and Low route options of the Ayrshire Coastal Path at Largs, you can create this circular route to the top of Knock Hill (268m / 879 ft) and back again. Enjoy panoramic views across the Firth of Clyde to the Cowal Peninsula, southern Highlands, Isle of Cumbrae and Arran, as well as down into the town of Largs itself.
Portencross is arguably one of the best places from which to view the Isle of Arran! The Isle of Cumbrae quickly takes it’s place as you progress towards Largs via the industrial grounds of Hunterston and the pretty town of Fairlie. Much of this walk is along cycle tracks, pavements and minor roads.
This short circular walk around the Caaf Water is packed with unexpected ‘fairy’ surprises hidden within a tranquil wooded glen. The gorge is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the unique and interesting rocks it contains. Perfect for families and for anyone who likes waterfalls!
Plenty of beach-walking on this one, with options to use earth footpaths instead should you wish. With Portencross being the closest point on the mainland to the Isle of Arran, you have the potential for some incredible views across the Firth of Clyde.
This walk connects the highlights of Toward on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyle and Bute. It includes a coastal walk, ruins, a lighthouse and small quay. The views along the coast are breath-taking.
Beginning with an easy inland section along the NCN7 cycle track between Irvine and Stevenston, this walk then returns to the coast for the second half. Expect beautiful sandy beaches, wide concrete promenades and pavements. On the coastal section the Isle of Arran will accompany you to the west on a clear day! When passing, delve into local history by taking some time to read the plaques along the walls of the former Ardrossan bathing pool and boating ponds.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.