Car-free adventures nearAyrAyrshire

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Robert Burns first wrote the words in 1788 for the Hogmanay song, Auld Lang Syne, now sung at New Years Eve parties around the world. And his Address to a Haggis, often with bagpipes playing and the haggis itself brought in on a silver tray, has been traditional at Burns Night suppers that have celebrated his birthday on January 25th for centuries: Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin'-race! The 18th-century poet was born in a thatched whitewashed cottage in Alloway near Ayr in 1759. His birthplace is now a museum with a Visitor Centre nearby, connected by a Poet's Path. There are regular buses from Ayr to Alloway and on along the Ayrshire coast, past beaches and castle ruins.

  1. 3. Ayrshire Coastal Path

    If the wild seaside scenery has given you a taste for adventure, why not walk a bit of the well-signed coast path between Dunure and Ayr? A mile north of Dunure harbour, a waterfall cascades over the cliffs into the sea below.

    • Another mile further on, this strangely neglected long distance route heads a little way inland and then out again to reach Bracken Bay, a beautiful green-cliffed beach, with another waterfall pouring onto the sands and herons standing by the shore.
    • You can either head back up the coast path and turn left a short way to the main road, where there is yet another bus stop for the 361, or carry on back to Ayr, past a caravan park and the ruins of Greenan Castle.
    • It’s a good eight miles back to Ayr and treacherously rocky in places, although there are great views across the water. Tides can be tricky too so, if in doubt, head back towards Alloway and pick up the bus again.
    • An inland variation of the coastal path heads right near Greenan Castle to follow a disused railway and cross a pretty bridge over the River Doon, emerging near Alloway auld kirk. This makes a less strenuous seven-mile walk from Dunure with plenty of interest along the way. You can always have a haggis roll and cup of tea at the Burns’ Museum or cake and hot chocolate at Poet’s Corner opposite the cottage, before heading back to the station.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2019!