From Stevenston to Saltcoats….

After a warm and still night the day was quite cloudy but warm with a light coastal breeze – perfect. We parked up in the same place as yesterday and after a runaround in the grassland for Poppydog….We walked northwards and down onto the lovely expanse of sand that is Stevenston Beach.

A lovely strip of soft sand, backed by dunes and low grassland, with a few stony patches but mostly just powdery sand or wet sand. After a play we wandered up onto the dunes for a better look, towards Saltcoats….

And back towards Ardeer….

Even Poppydog sat for about 10 seconds to take it all in!…

As we approached Saltcoats the wooden groins added a certain drama, with Arran in the distance and some fairly dusky clouds – the overall effect I think you’ll agree is quite something.

In Saltcoats the harbour feels a bit abandoned with not a boat in sight.

And just around the corner a series of old bathing pools with spectacular views across to Arran.

Leading on to another large crescent shaped sandy bay – Saltcoats Beach, with Ardrossan and the Ferry to Arran at the far end.

Half way along the beach Stanley Burn runs out to sea providing a suitable bathing area for the seagulls and Poppydog (not at the same time!).

Another play on the beach before we start our walk back.

Two very fine beaches and a splendid 7.5 mile walk.

Two thoughts of the day:

Ayrshire – a dog walkers paradise with beach after beach and very few people around.

Time for bed!

A stroll in the rain along Ardeer Beach….

Well it rained during the night but was dry though overcast during the morning and as the forecasted thunderstorms had disappeared off the BBC weather for this area we set off for Stevenston. At the coast there was a huge park of open grassland which looked safe for Poppydog and she was soon racing around chasing birds. At first we looked down onto Stevenston Beach, a large expanse of sand, which we will visit another day.

We made our way across the Ardeer Headland (south) and there in front of us was the mile or so of sandy Ardeer Beach.

Apart from another dog walker in the distance, the beach was deserted. The weather however took a sudden nosedive and with a few rumbles of thunder the heavens opened.

Now they do say “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing!” – well I’m afraid today that was me!

Still you can only get so wet – so we carried on and eventually saw it through.

We didn’t make it to the end of the beach back in Irvine but enjoyed a fair 4 mile walk and then returned to site to dry off!

Two thoughts of the day:

How is this comfortable?

Is it summer yet?

A lovely sunny afternoon at Irvine…..

At last the weather seems to be warming up and we had some cloud but mostly a warming sunny day – lovely! Today takes us to Irvine a few miles north of Troon and we joined the beach just before arriving at Irvine. There was loads of free parking and behind the beach a huge area of open parkland before the dunes.

The beach towards Irvine was fairly busy (not surprisingly on a sunny Saturday afternoon)…

And so to give Poppydog a runaround we decided to walk along the beach towards Troon to where we left off yesterday.

After a good play we wandered along the beach to Irvine (Poppydog reluctantly back on the lead once there were more people and dogs about as she really is a menace!) and walked out onto Irvine Bar to take a proper look back at this lovely soft white sandy beach.

From here we wandered inland towards the town along the river, passing the abandoned Science Park (The Big Idea – built at a cost of £14m in 2000 and closed in 2003 as it wasn’t covering costs!) and Innovation Bridge, also closed.Here the river opens up into a large area of water (or mud and sand flats at low tide), and small harbour.

Around the harbour are a number of galleries, pubs and cafes and pretty painted cottages.

An handsome sculpture of ‘The Carters’ – who would have transported goods from the then busy port for distribution throughout Scotland, stands proudly on the harbour side (pity about the scaffy fence in the background).

We didn’t actually venture into the town itself but this area was very pleasant and has clearly benefited from quite a lot of work in recent times, much appreciated with plenty of people around on this sunny Saturday afternoon – good to see. A very pleasant 7mile stroll.

Two thoughts of the day:

It is nice to see regenerated areas that are still maintained and enjoyed as so many after the initial spend just seem to fall into neglect.

The beauty of having so many beaches (pretty much the whole Ayrshire coastline is one long beach) you can always find a bit of space away from the ‘madding crowds’.

The North Sands of Troon….

Well we got well and truly caught in a pretty heavy shower this morning on our walk, it started just as we left the site and stopped – yep just as we got back! However it was worth it as the day improved and we had a lovely sunny afternoon, still a bit blowy down on the beach but we were able to sit out in it on our return at about 5.30 which is almost a first this year! Parking up just beyond the harbour in Troon today we explored North Sands.

This beach has a lot of shells mixed in with the dry sand and retains a lot of water, perfect for dog walking but probably not so popular for sitting out on. Still it was nice and quiet so Poppydog enjoyed another afternoon on the beach.

Troon is not a particularly large Town but more long and thin running along quite a few miles of shore. It looks quite a gentile place with mostly large and spacious, a wide strip of open grassland separates the houses from the beach. The beach continues on beyond Troon as Barrassie Sands, a fairly narrow strip of quite course sand backed by low dunes.

At this point we decided to head back along the grass, enjoying the wonderful fragrance of these beautiful pink wild roses which seem to thrive along this stretch of coast.

Two thoughts of the day:

Midsummer’s Day – where has the year gone?

What a depressing thought that after today the nights start to draw in!

Troon and it’s lovely South Sands…..

As seems to be the way at the moment, a bit showery and cloudy in the morning but improving with some nice sunshine in the afternoon. Today we picked up where we left off yesterday and parked up at the southern end of Troon, just by the rather exclusive looking Royal Troon Golf Club, over the dunes from the beach.

I think this is the first time we have seen any sign of watersports since we’ve been in Scotland and it is certainly windy enough!

After a little play with an abandoned football (well actually quite a long play – in the end I had to hide the ball in order to move on!) we walked along the beach towards the town.

As we arrived in town the beach opens out to lots of soft white sand (looks as though the seaweed is dragged off daily) which was really pretty, especially in the sunshine on our return.

Beyond this beach the land juts out into the sea with a long grassy mound – some form of man made sea defence sheltering a row of houses, the harbour and a rather affluent looking Marina.

As the tide is safely on its way out, we used the outer path on our way back.

Sitting awhile just absorbing the power of the sea, warmth of the sun and views across to Arran – simply beautiful.

Another aspect if this rather splendid beach as we complete this 6.5 mile circuit.

Two thoughts of the day:

I wonder how many golf clubs we have seen on our travels?

I love finding a little hidden spot and just taking it all in (for as long as Poppydog will let me)!