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A pleasant linear walk (2 miles each way) through open countryside and farmland between Gatehead and Dreghorn. Admire Laigh Milton Viaduct – the oldest surviving railway viaduct in Scotland – and if you are lucky you may even meet the friendly highland coo! Please note that at time of writing there was one gate on the route which had to be climbed over.
Car parking available at Laigh Milton Viaduct viewpoint, Gatehead (turn right off A751 immediately after Cochrane Inn KA2 0AP)
Route: From the parking area, take some time to enjoy the view across to Laigh Milton Viaduct and then turn left onto the minor road, passing The Craig Centre (part of Kilmarnock College). The road crosses the Carmel Water and just beyond you turn left. At the fork turn right to continue following the Carmel Water (it should be on your left as you walk along the track). This leads you along to Newhouse Farm, beyond which there is a wide grassy track between two hedgerows, with a gate in the middle (you may need to climb over it). You will come to Holm’s Bridge where the track again splits. Keep right and continue along a pleasant woodland track and out onto B730. Turn right and walk along B730 until you reach Holmsford Bridge over the River Irvine, just outside Dreghorn. Return via the same route.
WALK REVIEW: 12th May 2016
I kept seeing road signs around Kilmarnock for Laigh Milton Viaduct and was intrigued to find out what it looked like. I took a drive there with the kids one afternoon and had a quick look, vowing to come back and do a walk around here one day to try and get closer to it. Today was the day! It was a lovely evening for a walk with my friend Lynsey. My planned route didn’t get any closer than I had been before, but I couldn’t see any footpaths or roads which went near the viaduct so this was the best I could come up with. Once there I was a little jealous when we could see people in the distance walking along beside it! I still do not know how to get there so if you do please share :-)
Cows seemed to be an issue on this walk for some reason. They don’t normally bother me but tonight the slightest glance in their direction seemed to result in one or more of the group running across the field towards us…. ever so slightly unnerving! I am pretty sure cows can’t jump hedges/fences so I was confident we were safe enough but nonetheless we picked up the pace going past them just in case they were keen to prove us wrong!
Imagine our horror and surprise therefore when a young highland cow came through a gap in the hedge to greet us! We freaked out! Had it not been for the people who appeared just at that point and shouted over to us that she was very friendly, I think we would actually have run for our lives!! They explained that she had been hand reared and we could even clap her if we wanted. Phew….. and yay :-) Cue an impromptu photo opportunity with a highland coo! Always expect the unexpected when you go on a walk with Gillian :-)
Lots of bluebells to be seen on the walk this time of year, and I also came across a bird’s nest lying on the grassy path – amazing the work that must go into making one!