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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Maidens to Dunure July 2013

It's Saturday the 20th of July.
This is a walk I missed when Scoop led it in April 2012

This walk will also be covered by the Ayrshire Blogger - Gordon 

They had a little organisational problem last year and of course this year is no different ha ha (not a big issue, just too many car parks in Maidens)
Today's leaders are Scoop, the Teacher and Slew (also known as the Ayrshire blogger)
The Teacher just arrived back from a holiday abroad at 4am hence three leaders, what's that old proverb ?

Anyway, I digress, there are twenty walkers today.We park along the shore at Maidens.
This walk is part of the Ayrshire Coastal Path
Thanks too to Scoop for her contribution of photographs to this post.

Already there are people enjoying the cool of the jet ski in this long hot summer.

Sixteen of us set out northwards along the beach

A zoom back finds our errant quartet

This looks like a very dead Tope

A second jet ski having fun

They've just about caught us up.

Reaching Barwhin Point we climb up Barwhin Hill
There's a lovely view back along the beach. It'll be packed later, I doubt the horses will have room then.

Turnberry Lighthouse and Ailsa Craig

Now we enter the Culzean estate.
Myself and the 'Ranger' had a great day here Last November

Heading towards the castle

Gun Battery

Cannon Fodder ?

Time for a break

One of our Illustrious leaders 

A study of wildlife

Who wears short shorts !

The castle from the south

Should anyone want to know more about the history of Culzean's gardens then there's a downloadable publication from St Andrews University

The castle from the north

On the parapet looking out to Arran

The 'Teacher' imparting history and the story of the Eisenhower Apartment

Time for the first of many a group photograph

The three amigos who are leading today's walk

Filmed for posterity

Heading over to the Visitor's Centre

There's a house martin's nest in one of the arches
The mother was too quick back and forward to get a picture...................

...................but not so the youngsters

These two must have nearly outgrown this nest !

Another group photo

We again descend to the beach via Beggars Knowe passing Goatsgreen Cottage and heading for Croy Shore

The sea and the shore are getting busier. The golfer had no balls by the way.

Croy shore was by now quite busy so we continued north to a less sandy, more rocky, but less populated spot for lunch.

Sand and stones are removed from footwear.

Scoop again gets the shutters snapping.............

...............and she herself get's in the picture

We're back on the move

One of the many pools full of sea vegetation

A big black boulder looks completely out of place

Near Katie Gray's Rocks we leave the shore and take to the higher ground.

There's plenty of activity on the shore below

We're walking parallel with what used to be the Dunure and Maidens Light Railway
The 'Teacher' imparted some of it's history.

A bridge built by a local walking group The Cunninghame Ramblers

Lot's of fun at this WW2 Pillbox

In sight of Dunure Castle. 

Almost the end of our walk.

Castle information, it goes back to when the Kennedy Family ruled South West Scotland.
The 4th Earl earned an infamous reputation by roasting Alan Stewart, Commendater of Crossraguel Abbey, in the black vault of Dunure Castle in order to obtain abbey land.

It's looked after with Health and Safety rules in mind, but why oh why do people throw their litter down in places like this.

There's a young fledgling exersizing it's wings continuously

The 15th Century Doo'cot

Dunure seafront

Lime kiln and Dunure Harbour.

We finished this walk in the Harbour View Coffee Shop with tea, coffee, wonderful fruit scones, jams and other confections.
A lovely walk on a day you had to be by the sea.

Here's Scoop's very informative report.

Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday 20 July, Maidens - Dunure

Twenty walkers met in Maidens on a beautiful sunny day to sample a section of the Ayrshire Coast Path.  Blessed with a continuance of the ‘heat wave’ enjoyed by most of the country, they walked along the shore here before entering the policies of Culzean castle.  A steep climb up wooden boarding steps brought then into the welcome shelter of the trees onto one of the many pathways which run through the estate.  Taking a cliff walkway from where the sea could be seen sparkling below, with its panoramic views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran, the walkers reached the grassy bank close to the castle.  Here the leader gave a brief history of its construction dating back to 1759 and the various members of the Kennedy family who had lived there. It was also pointed out that the ex American president Eisenhower also had an apartment gifted to him at the end of the second World War Culzean also had its own gas facility, manufacturing fuel for the castle and also some of the surrounding area.  After admiring the canons below, the group entered the famous walled garden of Culzean. 
Astilibe’s lined the terrace along which the group made their way towards the upper reaches of the garden, their panicles of flowers in different shades of pink making an impressive display.  After emerging from the next stone staircase the castle itself was reached and a welcome rest was enjoyed at the rampart on which two ornate cannons stand.  The views around were pointed out by one of the leaders and time was taken for a quick photo of the group.  The estate of Culzean is of great importance to Scotland’s cultural history; it emphasises the importance of the Picturesque movement of the late eighteenth century. Great credit must go to the management policies of the Country Park, the local authorities, and the Scottish National Trust in upkeeping and renovating the extensive grounds, and maintaining Robert Adam’s design of the Kennedy castle.
Included in the renovations is what used to be the stable block of Home Farm and which now houses the castle's visitor centre.  A brief stop was taken here where much attention was made of the wonderful construction of a nest in one of the arches, that of a House Martin, in which two chicks were impatiently awaiting the arrival of a parent with its next snack!  While the photographers in the group were also waiting, sweets were distributed.

Another beach beckoned and the ramblers continued their planned walk. The path now took the walkers through trees and back onto the shore.  The retreating tide made the going easy although patches of rotting seaweed had to be avoided!  The incredibly warm weather had brought many visitors to the area and, as the intended lunch spot near the caravan park at Croy, got closer - 
where lots of families were enjoying the fine weather sunbathing and paddling in the sea - it became obvious that sandwiches would have to be consumed a little later, at a less crowded location!  Our destination was soon reached and the walkers were delighted to be seated amongst a well known feature of the area – conglomerate rocks.  The formation of ancient slurry, enfolding stones, and giving the look of badly mixed concrete, made the common name of pudding stone quite appropriate.  It was not difficult to persuade the group to smile for the camera before they left the shelter of these rocks, and they resumed their walk over the beach, this time between and over lower rocks with wonderful patterns.  Looking down on them they could have been mountains, with what looked like contour lines around them. 

The cliffs gradually became higher and the route by the sea impassable, so the path climbed steeply, zig-zagging past an ancient settlement, to reach the top of the escarpment, where there was a hazy view of Arran - Goat Fell just visible above Holy Isle, sitting on a plinth of mist.
Everyone enjoyed the scenery with the leader pointing out various local landmarks notably the “Electric Brae” which is an optical illusion best viewed from a distance to appreciate this very unusual phenomenon.  The line of the old railway was just visible from our track and its history was recounted by another walker.  It ran from Girvan to Ayr via Turnberry,  last carrying passengers in 1938 and was used as the "tattie train " up until the 1950's to take the tatties to the Glasgow market.

A field of stubble was skirted and the way led inland, avoiding a steep inlet, to cross a burn by stepping stones.  A field of what we guessed to be borage (very low growing) took the walkers to an old lookout tower, where wartime coastguards watched for submarines and other shipping heading for the Clyde.

Soon after, the path dropped down through scrubland to enter Dunure’s Kennedy Park to another old ruined Kennedy castle, 
where time was spent exploring this 13th century ruin.  The renovated dovecot and disused limekilns were passed and inspected as the company hurried to the tiny harbour before adjourning to the local tearoom for fresh scones and tea. The group expressed their appreciation to the leader for an excellent walk on a very pleasant warm summer’s day.
The next walk on Saturday 27 July is the 10.5 mile A grade hill walk to Kirriereoch, the second knuckle of the Awfu’ Hand.  Meet for car sharing at Breastworks, Stranraer 9.00am, Riverside, Newton Stewart 9.30am or the walk start at Kirriereoch Car Park, NX 359 866, at 10am. New members and those going to the start of the walk must phone walk leader on 01776 840226. 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this tour! The jet ski seems to be a great way to stay cool. Love all the views, the sea, the fledglings.

  2. Jim that looks like the perfect day out! A hike by the seaside, fresh air & the beautiful landscape. Very nice.
    : )

  3. Great stretch of coastline there Jim. The young House Martin photos are a snappers dream. Static :) I've never got a decent shot yet of the fast flyers group of birds on the wing. Swallows, swifts, house martins etc. Far too speedy for the shutter lapse except at a distance.
    We always live in hope though.

  4. lol's ships that pass i'm just out of shot in one of your pic's

  5. Thanks Linda,I've been on a jet ski once. It's quite exhilarating.

    Probably not so nice today Michael, the thunder and lightening has arrived.

    I was quite chuffed snapping the chicks Bob, but disappointed I didn't get the parent feeding them, had I the time I'd have taken some video.

    Hope you got some great pictures Mook, it was a great day.

  6. gorgeous pics and hike---love that castle and esp. love that little fellow watching you at the end :)

  7. Looks like you've got a rather glorious day for Culzean and Dunure castle - there's one I've not seen (amongst many really). Looks like those 15 century pigeons got a solider house than most people then abouts.

  8. Thanks Lynn, I loved getting to photograph him too. He must be getting ready to take flight the way his wings were flapping.

    Not like me to get to a castle before you Sandy, it was a great day out.


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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