Walk 122 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Ballantrae to Lendalfoot (5.6 miles)

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A walk of mixed emotions! Peaceful beaches combined with the terrifying whizz of lorries on a busy trunk road. The route follows the sand, shingle and pebble beach from Ballantrae harbour along to Bennane Hill at which point it heads in-land to follow the A77 down to Lendalfoot. 

  Car park at The Vennel, Ballantrae (KA26 0NH) (free public toilets available here) and at Varyag memorial, Lendalfoot (KA26 0JG). There are also bus services between Ballantrae and Lendalfoot.

route-image  Route: From the car park on The Vennel, Ballantrae, turn right (North) onto The Vennel and follow the road round the corner onto Foreland. Walk along the grass until you reach the small harbour. Use the slip to access the beach. Walk along the beach for almost 3km, heading inland (right – East) at two cottages beneath Bennane Hill, as directed by the Ayrshire Coastal Path signage. Follow the track up onto the grass verge beside the A77 Trunk Road. Turn left (North East) and for the next 3.5km walk along the grass verges beside A77 Trunk Road. Look out for Ayrshire Coastal Path signage as you go, which directs you to cross the road several times to take advantage of wider (and therefore safer) verges. On reaching Pebbles Spa go down onto the beach. Walk along the sandy shore for approx 1km until you reach the Varyag memorial car park on your right-hand side.

Ballantrae to Lendalfoot

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It is such a shame that the coastal section around Bennane Hill was closed, because were it not for the horrendous walk along the A77, this whole walk would have been brilliant. If we split the walk into three sections it looked a bit like this: Beach at Ballantrae (perfect) – A77 (awful) – Beach at Lendalfoot (perfect).

The beach between Ballantrae and the cottages at Bennane started off beautifully sandy, that easy compacted sand we all love to walk along. As I progressed the terrain turned to pebbles and shingle and further along still the beach became strewn with small rounded boulders of every colour imaginable. Very picturesque, although harder going than the Walkhighlands summary had suggested. The highlight of this beach was definitely the sheets of dark red sandstone; so vivid! It made me want to research geology a bit more to find out about the history of this area and why there should be red sandstone on the beach.

The small harbour at the end of Foreland in Ballantrae. In the foreground you can see the slip which takes you down onto the beach
Perfect walking conditions as far as beaches go! This image was taken looking back towards Ballantrae. As you can see I had the place to myself!
Some artwork in the sand just north of Ballantrae :-) I was walking the whole 100 miles of the Ayshire Coastal Path to raise funds for the Mark McCloskey Foundation, a charity which aims to raise awareness of SUDEP and help fund research into it’s causes.
Compacted sand gave way to pebbles large and small. I paused a moment to watch the waves gently washing in over them, so relaxing.
How incredible is this red sandstone on the beach at Ballantrae! Spectacular and a very unexpected find. Ayrshire Coast, you never fail to surprise me!

What stops me from ever wanting to do this section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path again sadly, is the memory of walking for 3 miles along the A77. What a contrast to my experience of the Ayrshire Coastal Path so far! Bear in mind that on this day I had already walked from Glenapp approx 12 miles away and had the most remarkable day, to suddenly be faced with traffic whizzing past my ear lobes. There was no footpath along the roadside so I was forced to find a way across clumps of long grass behind the crash barrier. In places the bushes beside the barrier were so overgrown that I actually had to walk OUTSIDE the crash barrier which meant that I was right next to the trucks, coaches and cars doing 60mph. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like there was a constant stream of traffic, but something did go past every 30 seconds or so at high speed. I was so close to the road that every time a large vehicle went past my hair whooshed around, I held my breath and my heart missed a beat. Not fun, and pretty dangerous in places. Having said all of that, the views from the top of the hill were spectacular (see cover photo)!

Going some way to make up for that last section, the beach at Lendalfoot was a real pleasure to walk along:  the near white sand dotted with dark grey rocks every so often and the silhouette of Ailsa Craig beginning to show itself on the horizon. On both occasions, despite the fact that I was walking parallel and very close to the A77 the whole time, I was not actually aware of the road being there thanks to a high embankment between the road and beach, and the noise of traffic being drowned out by the waves.

The beach at Lendalfoot, Ailsa Craig peeking out of the horizon.
The impressive bronze Varyag memorial – built in memory of a Russian battleship which sank 500m off this point in 1920. Most of the inscriptions and information at the site are in Russian! This marks the end of this section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.

Go to: next section Lendalfoot to Girvan

Go to: previous section Glenapp to Ballantrae

Go to: full Ayrshire Coastal Path review

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7 thoughts on “Walk 122 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Ballantrae to Lendalfoot (5.6 miles)

  1. My husband who knows one of the organisers received a reply that there is an issue with access through farmland at this section. If you want a copy of the full response, please email at alifarrer@hotmail.com.


  2. Such a shame isn’t it Alison. I read somewhere about subsidence on the cliffs but I don’t know if that’s true or not. I will def need to go and investigate ;-)


  3. Thanks for that Gillian. My husband and I have walked most of the coastal path but this is a part we have still to complete. If we find out why the alternative route is closed, then we shall let you know.


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