I last walked this section of the Ayrshire coast back in 2007, i.e. pre-Jazz and even before the creation of the Ayrshire Coastal Trail, so a usual planning-while-munching-toast process popped this into mind. I discussed it with Her-Jazzness and she was keen, especially when I told her no hills would be involved in the creation of this blog entry. There was just the small, unexpected scenario of it being a hot day in Scotland…
We parked at the north end of Ardrossan and took the bus to Largs. I had consulted Mr Google for the timetable and it said it would take almost 40 minutes. An error, I thought: until the bus decided to visit every road in West Kilbride – you can have too much of a good thing. Anyway, we finally made it to Largs with its infestation of tourists. Our starting point is the Cumbrae ferry terminal where we join the cycle path heading south. It was busy with people walking their dogs, roller-blading, and generally watching-the-world-go-by sitting on the multitude of colourful benches littering the path. With the stunning view over to Cumbrae it makes for a very pleasant spot. However, something strange happens when we cross the road to the yacht haven (as they like to call themselves): it is as if there is a force-field that prevents tourists from going further south, because from now on we had the path to ourselves.
As a reader of this nonsense you are clearly the sort of person who relishes marine anchors, floats and sinkers. Therefore the path around the Largs marina is going to be on your 50-things-to-do-before-I-go-senile list, because there is a great display of these devices with, wait for it, interpretation boards. Way cool, and thoroughly recommended.
After a bit of nice off-road tarmac we hit the main road in Fairlie that we have to suffer until we can turn off and return to the beach. The heat is starting to build at this point and Jazz’s pace is dropping off. Luckily someone in the deep past thought it would be a good idea to put a stone drinking trough in his wall, and Jazz drank deeply in gratitude. Unfortunately as we pass Clydeport we are forced to go parallel to the busy A78 until we get to Hunterston where, as we turn off, the road noise drops away immediately and things improve nicely. We have lunch beside Gulls’ Walk with the view over to the wind turbine test centre and its turbine that has sprung up on the old oil-rig construction site: it gives a stark contrast to the neighbouring nuclear power station. I was surprised on passing this that one of my favourite walks will be seriously disrupted by the construction of what is officially called the Western Link – a £109 project to shuttle electrons between here and North Wales – as they have eaten away a big chunk of Goldenberry Hill. Despite the environmental impact statements I’m concerned at what we’ll have to endure come 2016 when this is all finished.
By this point Jazz is making serious “Just leave me here, sir, I’m just holding you back” body language as we pass the Three Sisters. Fortunately I know that Portencross harbour is not far away and so make encouraging noises. When we reach the harbour she basically does a head-long jump into the water causing the jelly-fish to reconsider their choice of pool. The effect is miraculous as afterwards she is back on full power, albeit with a seaweedy aroma. We now bound along towards Ardneil Bay which I think is the best in North Ayrshire – the only concern I have is that the Western Link (see above) will enter the water here. So we have a cable carrying 2200MW of DC electricity at 600kV roughly 1.2m under my feet – now my physics is getting a bit rusty, but do you think I’ll get a free charge for my phone lying on the beach? And if a mad Spaniel digs down to the cable and gives it a bite, how far into space will she be propelled?
|Do It Again:|