Ayr from Carrick hills
Ayr to Maybole
21km, 350m climb, navigational skills needed.
Return to Ayr by train.
The walk is rough,  tussocky and remote in
places.
Click here for a nearby cycle
Ayr station to Greenan Castle
From the station main exit cross to burns statue square and straight on (to the farthest side from
the station) over the pelican crossing to Miller road, down miller road to the traffic lights and go
slightly left of straight ahead down Fairfield road to a gap in the wall onto the low green. Walk
across the low green keeping left, joining the esplanade at some stage and reaching the new
bridge over the Doon 2 km after leaving the Low Green behind.
Cross the bridge and continue toward Greenan castle initially on the road, then through the
parking area onto the beach or dunes. This parking can be used to cut out the Ayr part of the
walk and use a taxi from the train station on your return.
Greenan Castle to Carrick hills
From the parking next to the beach it is possible to walk below Greenan castle except at the
highest tide. 300m beyond the castle 100 M before the headland go left through a gate up to the
cottage at the top of the track on the cycle way. The cottage should be on your right and walk
toward Carrick hills along the track. Ten minutes will see you just below the main road where
you need to go right and a little left at the A719 to the road to Burton Farm. Walk up past Burton
farm onto a landrover track straight ahead. In 250m the path bends left, after this go right
through a gate (south) and in 150m right, beside the trees uphill. As you climb look over your
right shoulder for views of Ayr bay.
At the end of the trees ignore the track to the left and go straight ahead 200m, the track bends left
up to some metal rails. Leave the track here going more directly up hill with gorse on the left to a
low fence. Cross the fence and continue uphill with a gully 50-100m to the right. As you breast
the hill you should see a gate (not a collection of gates at the gully but about 150 m further up the
hill) proceed through this and directly ahead about 300 meters is another gate behind which is a
boggy dip rising up the hill. Generally follow this to a rise on the right after about 350m. At the
top of this rise is another gate, beyond it is a tussocky area again in a dip.
Cross the dip and climb gently onto the wide ridge top (MR 306163), easy walking is to be had
along the wide ridge, through a gate and then to the road. Turn right along the road toward the
viewpoint pillar (250m) just off the road to the right.
Carrick hill and forest.
Walk up the tarmac track (SW) passing the masts on the south side of the compound after
leaving the road to pass . Keep high and use the stile to cross the electric fence about 200 m
beyond the masts. Go to the right of the small hill to find a faint track which leads to the top of
Brown Carrick Hill. Pass the triangulation pillar and descend to the plantation trees to where there
is a gate. Go through the ride, turn right and go into the field. Turn left and follow the edge of the
field to a good track at map reference 273155 (1/2km), go uphill through the gate and just before
the loch fork right map reference 275152 (waymarked). Follow this rough track 1 km to a fence
at the edge of the moor map reference 281142.
Moor to Knockside hill
At the edge of the moor the view is open to the South East. Turn right along the tree edge to a
fence in 150m. There is a gate beside the trees and a rough track continues along the tree edge in
the same direction (south west) leading to bend in the fence and track in 5 minutes and in a
further 4 minutes to the end of the trees at a fence. Do not follow the waymarked route unless
you are not a confident navigator or it is misty. Do not cross this  fence but turn right along it for
5 minutes to a heathery low knoll on the right, cross the fence to go round the left edge of a line
of knolls to a quad track in about 6 minutes. Follow the quad track right uphill ignore the right
track after 1 minute, in 2 ½ minutes the track almost doubles back but stick with it as it bends
again in the right direction. The track continues to a broad knoll in about a further 4 minutes with
a view to the sea, this is Knockside hill, at 281m the highest point in this section of the walk.
Knockside hill to Howmoor cottage ruin
Facing the sea on the summit of Knockside hill to your left is the quad track heading almost
south, follow the track over some heathery knolls and in 4 minutes the track descends a little
more steeply, a large flat area to the left with a fence in the middle.
Leave the quad track and go over a series of low, heathery knolls on the left to the fence. On
your right is an obvious wet area, shown on the map as Red Moss Loch, cross the fence and
climb the low hill, on the summit is another track, this track forks right along the wide ridge to
the ruin of Howmoor cottage, reached in 14 minutes and the road in another 5 minutes. Turning
right at the road Maybole is 2 km, go straight ahead at the crossroads on route.
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