Top 10 Walks Around The Coig by Gillian Craig
We are delighted to introduce our latest ambassador to The Coig, Gillian Craig. Gillian is passionate about walking and has lived locally to The Coig for most of her life. Find out more about our newest ambassador here.
Exploring The Coig on foot is a rewarding and exhilarating experience. Some of our breathtaking views are worthy of a short hike up a hill or along a beach to watch the west coast sunsets.
Read on to discover some of the finest walks The Coig has to offer and click on the images to find out more about each walk. Add Gillian’s personal recommendations to your itinerary and don’t forget to share your pics with us! #TheCoig
GREENOCK CUT, CLYDE MUIRSHIEL REGIONAL PARK
Designated as an ancient monument, the Greenock Cut is an aqueduct built in the 1820s to supply water from Loch Thom to Greenock. The 7 mile route is full of interesting features which is probably why it has been rated one of the top 50 walks in Scotland!
It is an easy walk along tarmac country roads, gravel tracks and grassy footpaths. You will be rewarded with fantastic views to Greenock, Gourock, the River Clyde and the southern Scottish mountains. Clyde Muirshiel is Scotland’s largest Regional Park and is located less than an hour from Glasgow.
It covers an area of 110 square miles taking in the Clyde Coast from Fairlie up to Greenock and inland down to Lochwinnoch. Rich in moorland, hills and waterfalls, it is a wilderness steeped in history and the fully way-marked Greenock Cut is a fantastic place to start exploring it!
AYRSHIRE COASTAL PATH: DUNURE TO AYR
The Ayrshire Coastal Path is a fully way-marked 100 mile linear route, managed and maintained by a group of local volunteers.
The 7 mile stretch between Dunure and Ayr is an incredible walk along one of the most rugged sections of the coastline.
Do you like Scottish castles? The remains of both Dunure and Greenan castles can be found on this route, and the views from both will take your breath away.
You will experience varied terrain including sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, grassy farmland and even a disused railway. Prepare yourself for a unique sense of remoteness.
RIVER AYR WAY: CATRINE TO SORN
Following the River Ayr along a pleasant woodland trail to Sorn, you will walk through the Catrine Voes and Woodlands Local Nature Reserve and past the historical Catrine Weir.
Enjoy the view across to the majestic fourteenth century Soon Castle, a bespoke wedding venue and home to the McIntyres. On reaching Sorn, cross the impressive humpbacked Auld Brig before passing through part of the village and into the “Spooky Woods”.
The return route to Catrine is via Chapel Brae, a quiet single-track road. It passes Catrine War Memorial, from which you will be rewarded with fine views down to the village.
The River Ayr Way was Scotland’s first ‘Source to Sea’ long distance path and follows the course of the River Ayr from Glenbuck Loch to Ayr Beach, some 44 miles away.
FAIRLIE GLENS AND WATERFALL CIRCULAR
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 scenic Fairlie Moor Road and then a short section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path which couples as the National Cycle Network route 753. There is the opportunity to visit some fantastic hidden waterfalls along the route if you don’t mind a small bit of scrambling!
MONUMENT HILL AND THE WATER OF GIRVAN, STRAITON
Whilst in the village of Straiton you cannot help but wonder about the huge obelisk atop Craigengower (331m / 1086ft), known as Monument Hill. It was erected to the memory of Lt. Col. James Hunter Blair who was killed at the Battle of Inkerman in 1854. It is no less impressive when seen from up close!
This walk takes you through the pretty village (Straiton is known as “Ramblers Territory”!) and up onto the hillside where after a short sharp ascent you will find yourself on the summit enjoying a picnic beneath the monument.
On a clear day, the views extend to the Carrick Hills and the Isle of Arran beyond. You can return via the same route or try the loop (recommended) which involves a gentler descent towards the Water of Girvan, returning to the start via pleasant riverside and woodland trails. The second half of this walk can be very boggy so come prepared!
GLEN ROSA, ISLE OF ARRAN
Starting from the ferry slip in Brodick, this is a beautiful hike which follows the Glenrosa Water deep into the tranquillity of the glen to ‘The Saddle’ before returning via the same route.
The track up Glen Rosa is very well maintained and well-trodden, starting off wide and dry and becoming narrower and boggier the further into the glen you go.
You will pass many small waterfalls and pools, perfect for dipping your feet in on a warm day! It is the perfect walk for anyone who wants to be deep amongst Arran’s granite mountains without having to venture too high.
FAIRY KNOWE TRAIL, BARR
A stunning circular route through the idylic rural south Ayrshire countryside, the Fairy Knowe Trail is most definitely one of Ayrshire’s hidden gems.
Beginning either in Barr village or at the Trails Car Park, this walk follows a variety of forest tracks, mossy tree corridors, and hillside footpaths to reach a viewpoint known as the Fairy Knowe.
This is a lovely spot to sit for a while and someone has positioned a bench up there for you to do just that – perfect! After a short but steep descent down the infamous Fairy Knowe steps, the track returns to the start following the course of the Water of Gregg.
MILLPORT INNER CIRCUIT, ISLE OF CUMBRAE
Most people who visit the Isle of Cumbrae hire a bike and cycle round the outskirts of the island. For something a bit different try this walk which takes you inland from the ferry slip to a viewpoint on the Glaid Stone, the island’s highest point!
The path then begins to descend, opening up a view of Millport most visitors will never have seen. From the village you can either use the local bus service to return to the ferry slip (this makes the walk 4 miles) or walk back via the quiet Ferry Road (total walk length 7 miles).
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 Crocodile Rock!
LYNN GLEN, DALRY
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.
Lynn Glen is best known for its fantastic array of waterfalls, the largest of these – Lynn Spout – thunders some 4 metres down the rock bed of the Caaf. This walk is perfect for families! Don’t forget your camera!
ARRAN COASTAL WAY: BRODICK TO LAMLASH VIA CLAUCHLANDS POINT
A circular walk starting and ending at Brodick ferry terminal on the Isle of Arran. After a short stretch on quiet minor roads, follow the Arran Coastal Way around the remote cliffs known as Clauchlands Point to reach the village of Lamlash. Keep a look out for seals!
You will pass the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone, part of the South Arran Marine Protected Area. From Lamlash a steep ascent takes you onto a wide forestry track and back to Brodick via the wonderful Glen Cloy.
The Arran Coastal Way is a 65 mile circular route and is one of Scotland’s Great Trails. This route is a great introduction to it and will leave you desperate to see more!
WEST ISLAND WAY, ISLE OF BUTE
A bonus walk that we just couldn’t possibly leave out is the deservedly popular West Island Way on the Isle of Bute.
A long distance, 30 mile way marked coastal walk that includes fine coastal scenery and an array of changing landscapes. There are many wonderful places to visit such as, St Blanes Chapel, Kilchattan Bay, Loch Fad, Port Bannatyne, Rothesay – all extremely picturesque and photogenic. There is also a lot wildlife to be spotted, so don’t forget your camera!
LOOKING FOR MORE ADVENTURES AROUND The Coig?
The Coig’s five routes offer unforgettable experiences around the Clyde Coast and Islands – take a look and plan your next adventure along The Shire, The Shiel, The Arran, The Bute or The Cumbrae!
Be sure to download The Coig app to discover the best of Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde on-the-go, and join the adventure with #TheCoig on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.