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A short walk to an ‘adopted/dedicated tree area’ in the picturesque Glen Afton, surrounded by some of Ayrshire’s finest hills. Using a mixture of surfaced roads, stony farm tracks and grassy footpaths, you will cross the Afton Water and Craig Burn. Look out for wild blueberries, caterpillars and frogs if you are there in Summer! Extend the walk by starting in New Cumnock (10 miles).
Car parking available on a large stony lay-by off Afton Road just after passing the saw mill (KA18 4NE nearest postcode). No public transport to start point. Closest train station is in New Cumnock, 5 miles away. So if you wanted to extend the walk to become a 10 miler, you could do the lovely walk down Glen Afton on the Afton Road and back again.
Route: From the lay-by turn right onto Afton Road. Just past the saw mill take the road on your right leading to a bridge over the Afton Water. Follow the track downhill and round the corner to pass The Craigs Farm Cottage. Further along the track you will come to a footpath on your left which leads to a small footbridge over Craig Burn. Follow the “Adopted/Dedicated Tree Area” signposts to an interesting little spot at the foot of BlackCraig Hill. Return via the same route.
WALK REPORT: 14th July 2016
It was a sunny July morning and the kids, on holiday from nursery, greeted me with a “Morning mum. Mum….. see today, can we go up a big mountain and can we take our cameras with us to take photos?” I smiled to myself, this was music to my ears and I set about choosing somewhere to take them. The only ‘big mountain’ they had ever climbed was Loudoun Hill so I contemplated taking them back again but ideally I wanted to try them on something a little bigger.
We ventured into Glen Afton, new territory for us all! For me it was actually an attempt to work out a route up Blackcraig Hill, one of the peaks on my Trail 7 Summits Challenge list for 2016. It had been recommended by a friend however I had been avoiding it due to a number of online reviews telling me there is not much in the way of a footpath to the top and therefore navigation skills are important…… skills I have yet to learn! Too high and too steep for the kids, I figured that the we could go there, park up and take a walk around the base of Blackcraig, taking notes for when I could come back myself. And so that’s what we did…. kitted out with a packed lunch, my Nikon and their two plastic toy cameras!
I was so pleasantly surprised by Glen Afton: peaceful, scenic and surrounded by hills. Like a miniature version of the Scottish Highlands and only 40 minutes drive from my house! We passed several cottages on our walk, and a caravan being used as a home. What a charming, tranquil place to live!
The “Adopted/Dedicated Tree Area” signs intrigued me enough to follow them. In fact it is an area of land planted with (still very young) trees either in memory of someone who has passed away or in celebration of a life event such as a wedding anniversary. Most were labelled with information as to what the tree was dedicated to.
That part of the walk didn’t interest the kids so much; they contented themselves ‘photographing’ the scenery all around. What they loved was coming across wild blueberries growing among the long grass and heather (the first time I have seen this myself!), a huge caterpillar and a bright yellow frog. Nature is such a wonderful teacher for our children <3
With Blackcraig Hill towering above us for the entire walk, I unfortunately came home still clueless as to how to reach it’s summit. The area around where we walked provided access to it however it was far too steep to attempt from this side. More research would be required!