Walk 36 – River Ayr Way (Failford to Catrine) – 6 miles

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Pass from South Ayrshire to East Ayrshire on this 6 mile linear walk between the villages of Failford and Catrine. The highlight of the route is passing beneath the impressive Ballochmyle Viaduct, the highest masonry railway arch in UK!

  Parking available in Failford (KA5 5TF). Local bus service stops at this location too.

River Ayr Way - Failford to Catrine

WALK REPORT: 13th April 2016

This walk has a few interesting features along it but overall it was not the most scenic part of River Ayr Way I have completed so far (that’s being nice!). My pictures show the best bits however apart from the fact that the River Ayr is nowhere to be seen for the majority of the route, it was also tarnished by both litter-dropping and fly-tipping at various stages. To add insult to injury the track passes the sewerage plant in Catrine which doesn’t leave you with very pleasant parting memories of your afternoon…. I am so grateful that I had my husband there to keep me company today, not only because I love walking with him, but also because had he not been there I would have had no option but to repeat the whole walk in reverse to get back to the car, not something I fancied at all! We had cleverly taken 2 cars and left one at each end of the walk 😉

For the first half of the walk the path is very well marked by barbed wire fences at either side of a narrow track, funneling you around the outskirts of the woods and into a forest. There is no way out, but also no way to get lost! My husband described it as “an outdoor prison corridor”, and I have to agree it feels a little odd, although once this had been pointed out it occurred to me that there have been other sections of the River Ayr Way which have been like this too, normally when local farmers have put short diversions in place.

A typical example of the fenced-in track
The forest is a highlight of the walk

I was glad to have mapped out the route before setting off, using a combination of Walkhighlands and my mobile mapping app because at a couple of points further along there is a distinct lack of way markers and I would definitely have gotten lost! One example is on arrival at a cluster of farm houses more than halfway along the route – we would have continued on the main road past them had it not been for the fact that my map was telling me to turn left. I assumed that I had just mis-judged the distances when drawing my route out however luckily we met a couple out walking their dogs who directed us through the farm. It is very easy to miss, we didn’t see any River Ayr Way signs at all.

Before cutting through the farm buildings I couldn’t resist taking  this snap of some cows enjoying their lunch 🙂

Celebrations were in full swing at this point as the River Ayr came into view! The first sighting of it since we left the car in Failford!!

The River Ayr makes an appearance

The other highlight of the route (the first being the forest!) was Ballochmyle Viaduct which made an excellent spot to have lunch at! It is HUGE – such an impressive piece of architecture. What I did not know at the time is that it is the highest masonry railway arch in UK at 54m high and 55m long! The other thing I did not realise at the time was that I found a geocache underneath it! I had no idea what the wee plastic box was – I wasn’t familiar with the game so reading ‘Ballochmyle Geocache’ on the box didn’t mean anything to me. It’s not until today as I write this blog article that I am having a massive lightbulb moment: a combination of googling some information about the viaduct, and reflecting on a conversation I had only yesterday with a friend who explained geocaching to me. The law of attraction at work!  What a shame that I didn’t know I was supposed to open the box and log my details…

Shame about the graffiti……

To read my other River Ayr Way walk reports click HERE

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