River Ayr Walk
This fantastic riverside walk follows the whole length of the River Ayr from its source at Glenbuck Loch to the town of Ayr, on the southwest coast of Scotland. The waymarked trail runs for about 40 miles on good footpaths, visiting several interesting villages, historic sites, riverside villages and wooded gorges. The long distance footpath was officially opened in 2006 by broadcaster Fred Macaulay, and is now designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage. As of 2018 about 137,000 people were using the path each year, of whom about 41,000 walked the entire route.
The walk starts at Glenbuck Loch in east Ayrshire. The "Loch" is in fact a dam created in 1802 by James Finlay for his Catrine cotton works. From here you can pick up the trail and follow it west towards the town of Muirkirk. The trail continues west to the village of Sorn where you will pass Sorn Castle. The castle comprises a medieval tower house, which was extended over the years, and remodelled in the Scots Baronial style by David Bryce in the 1860s. It is protected as a category A listed building.
The next stage passes Catrine and Mauchline before coming to the noteworthy Failford Gorge. This area includes a woodland nature reserve located in a steep ravine of sandstone cliffs. These ancient woods contain a wide variety of flora and fauna and some nice river footpaths.
After exploring the gorge the route continues to Stair and Annbank before coming to the coast at Ayr.
In Ayr the route links with the wonderful Ayrshire Coastal Path. You can continue your walking by picking up the waymarked trail and exploring the coast. Heading north will take you to Prestwick and Troon. Heading south will take you to the Heads of Ayr and the dramatic Culzean Castle Country Park.