Irvine has quite a substantial shopping centre called the Riverside with a mall that spans the river into the main centre.
I leave Irvine to the west of the railway line by the football ground where my map shows a footpath but I could not find a route to the other side of the railway line. I met a lady on a bicycle with panniers who was trying to do the same thing. We both retraced our steps back and followed the road out of town.
Ayr is a fine seaside town with a good town centre and a two mile stretch of sandy beach. It also has a racecourse where the Scottish Grand National is run every year.
Scotland’s greatest poet, Robbie Burns was born close to Ayr at Alloway where he lived for the first seven years of his life. There is an interesting museum maintained by the Scottish National Trust.
Unfortunately I lost my favourite hat whilst walking through the park. It had ear pieces that kept me warm, it was like a comfort blanket. I even went back looking for it.
Today I set off back through the Country Park by the Visitor Centre in a courtyard by the Old Stables. I pass this and continue above the shoreline before making my way down to the beach.
I return to start my walk today bt the harbour at Girvan. The harbour itself seems quite busy with a boatyard catering for yachtsmen. I head alongside the river and I can not miss the clock tower, Auld Stumpy. It was part of the McMaster Hall which burnt down.
I cross over the bridge and walk along the other side of the harbour passing the Coastguard building. I pass the golf Course and follow the coast northwards, sometimes on a track and sometimes on the pebbly beach.
I start todays walk at the attractive seaside village of Ballantrae. Apparantly the whole Ayrshire coastline has a history of smuggling. Ballantrae celebrates this with a Smuggling Festival every year in August.
The village has a pretty seafront with a little harbour at the end. The route nortwards follows a busy road with lots of lorries making there way to and from the ferry terminals. The route takes me northwards along the road with occasional attempts at walking along the rocky beach.
As I have travelled around the Rhinns I seem to have passed through Stranraer several times but now it’s time to leave.
The old ferry port looks rather sad with all the parking area overgrown. The terminal must have provided many jobs for the locals at one point. Anyway, the site is now up for sale. What will it be next? a marina, a water theme park, who knows.