Tuesday 22 September 2020

A run down the coast


Hadn't been out for a proper run on the bike for a while, so last week headed for the Ayrshire coast.

First part is the fairly familiar route to Largs, then south towards Prestwick, trying to stay as close to the coast as possible. I bypassed Prestwick and the centre of Ayr as traffic was heavy before heading back to the coast through the southern part of Ayr to my first stop at the village of Dunure.

Dunure has a really nice harbour and a ruined castle, but is a bit 'visitor hostile'. There is a small amount of parking next to the harbour, usually used by locals and people using the harbour, and the main parking area next to the castle charges, so people usually pass it by. I managed to park in a lay-by overlooking the castle, but that's about the only bit of free parking about. If they made the car park free, a lot more visitors would stop, perhaps enough to support a café and the now closed ice cream shop.

Dunure Castle

Just outside of Dunure is the 'Electric Brae'. The alignment of the road and surrounding hills give the illusion that the road appears to be going uphill when it's actually going downhill (and vice versa). Personally, I can't see it, but it's been a popular tourist attraction for years.

Is this road going uphill or downhill?

Headed further south and stopped at Maidens. Another village with a nice harbour, but more importantly, free parking which means that there are a few businesses open.


From there it was south towards Turnberry where I looked to see if I could find where the former motor racing circuit was. I've found very little information online, but I believe it was situated to the east of the A719 road, near where the Little Turnberry Farm now sits. In the picture you can see the remains of the former RAF Turnberry air base (1917 – 1945), and the race circuit MIGHT have used the runway next to the road. The circuit held a Formula 1 race in 1952, but there is nothing remaining I could see.

Runway of the old RAF Turnberry air base - possibly part of the race circuit?

The nearby ruined Turnberry Castle was the childhood home (and possible birthplace) of Robert the Bruce, King Robert I of Scotland, and the majority of Turnberry consists of the Trump Turnberry golf resort.

Heading southward I reached the town of Girvan. I had intended passing through and continuing down the coast, but the traffic was solid through the town. The problem is that this is the main (only!) route from the Central Belt to the ferry port of Cairnryan and the infrastructure isn't up to coping with the level of traffic heading to Ireland. So I detoured towards Dailly, then meandered about exploring the backroads of Ayrshire. Some years ago I worked in a job that included visiting houses throughout Ayrshire, so it was interesting revisiting a lot of the small villages. The A741 moor road between Straiton and Dalmellington was suitably bleak and deserted.

From the outskirts of Dalmellington I headed past Patna before taking the B730 towards Drongan. On this road was the small mining village of Cairntable, which only existed from 1917 to 1963. Like a number of other villages in the area, it was built around a coal mine, which once it was worked out the villagers left to find work elsewhere. Other than a memorial stone and a length of pavement, there's nothing left of the village. Last time I was there, there was a WW2 era fortified pillbox at the side of the road, but it seems to have been removed.

From there I headed home via Tarboltan and Fenwick taking the most windy route using back roads that I could.

I stopped at the Barcraig Reservoir near my house for a suitable atmospheric photo.

I recorded my journey on my new sat nav, but didn't have a big enough SD card to download it!

This is a photo of the screen showing the route.

Total distance: 164miles/264km with 5:30 hours of riding.


  1. Where exactly is Cairntable? It sounds like an interesting place!

  2. There's virtually nothing to see, just the commemoration stone and a strip of pavement. It's on the B730, about 4.5 miles from Drongan. You can see if on Google Maps at:
    If you go to 'Satellite', zoom in and click on the wee Street View man, you can see a blue circle around the stone.