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From Troon Yacht Marina walk out the main exit on to Harbour Road. Turn left (East) and walk along Harbour Road to a roundabout. Continue straight on at the roundabout then almost immediately look out for a grassy footpath on your left which takes you away from the main road for a short distance. Emerging onto North Shore Road next to a car park, turn left (North East) and walk along the pavement for a short distance before merging onto the cycle path running parallel to the B746/North Shore Road. Follow the cycle path for 1.4km into Barassie. Where the cycle path takes a right turn towards the train station, keep walking ahead (North) along the grass. Beyond the last houses cross a footbridge over a burn and then head down onto the sandy beach. The next 4.5km is an easy walk along Irvine Beach. When you reach the car park at the north end of the beach, turn right (North East) along a sandy ramp which leads past the Coastguard building and out to the roundabout on Beach Drive. From the roundabout head North onto the promenade – there should be a large car park on your right-hand side and the River Irvine should be on your left. Turn right (North East) and walk along the promenade and onto Harbour Street. At the Scottish Maritime Museum, Harbour Street becomes Montgomery Street. At the end of Montgomery Street turn left (North) to walk along the pavement on Cochrane Street, a row of houses on your left-hand side. Go around Victoria roundabout in a clockwise direction, coming off at Church Street and following the pavement beneath the railway bridge. You will arrive outside Fullarton Parish Church where you should follow the pavement left (North West) parallel to the slip road off Marress Roundabout. After 300m this lane ends and you should turn right (East) to go through an underpass, then continuing ahead onto Waterside Road. Cross Waterside Road to a footbridge over the River Irvine – crossing the bridge takes you to Low Green, Irvine where this walk ends.
I completed this walk on a blustery April morning, not ideal on such an exposed section of beach! I had the pleasure of the company of my mum and friend Helen who had walked with me all the way from Ayr, 9 miles further south. They did so well to walk the full 16 miles especially with a strong headwind making the going all the more difficult. Actually, to be more accurate it was more of a sidewind; a free facial exfoliation on the left cheek was received! About halfway along Irvine Beach we decided to seek shelter behind the sand dunes where we knew there was another path which ran parallel to the coast. It wasn’t as straightforward as we had expected, with very deep soft sand in places and some steep uphill and downhill parts. We were glad of the break from the relentless 30mph winds though. It was the first time I had seen the quad bike tracks too! Often I hear them when visiting Irvine Beach Park or the Stone Dragon with my kids but I hadn’t ever been able to see where the noise was coming from.
One thing I noticed about this stretch of coast was the lack of seabirds compared to more southerly sections. I was walking the whole Ayrshire Coastal Path (100 miles) for the Mark McCloskey Foundation and had already covered the first 60 miles from Glenapp in the south. Around Irvine there were plenty of Seagulls but not a lot else. Perhaps it was the wind keeping them away…… but on reflection I couldn’t recall ever seeing many varieties of birds on my countless walks along the beach between Barassie and Irvine throughout my lifetime.