Walk 131 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Largs to Skelmorlie via Knock Hill (10.5 miles)

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Largs Pencil

Beginning at Largs Marina this route takes you the length of the promenade before heading inland and uphill across boggy ground towards Knock Hill. From the trig point on a clear day your efforts will be rewarded with beautiful views across the Clyde towards the isles of Cumbrae, Bute and Arran, as well as the Argyll hills and Cowal Peninsula. Descending towards Skelmorlie Castle and Wemyss Bay, with one very short exception the remainder of the walk is along quiet minor roads and pavements. 

  Car parks at Largs Marina (KA30 8EZ) and a few spaces at Wemyss Bay Train Station (PA18 6AR). There is also on-street parking on A78/Shore Road at Wemyss Bay. Train and bus services between Wemyss Bay and Largs.

route-image  Route: Head North from Largs Yacht Haven to pass Largs’ famous Pencil monument. Follow the coast along for 1.6km to cross the Gogo Water then follow Bath Street 300m to reach Largs ferry terminal. Head North along the Esplanade for 1km to reach Aubery Park and it’s pond. Cut across the park and turn right (North East) to follow the Noddsdale Water onto the A78. Turn right (South) onto the A78 then first left (East) onto Barr Crescent. This residential street becomes Noddleburn Road. Where it starts to bend away from the burn look out for a footpath to the left (North) and follow it along the edge of the burn for 800m. The footpath leads onto Glen Avenue. Turn left (North East) and follow Glen Avenue to emerge onto Brisbane Glen Road. Turn left (North) and walk along Brisbane Glen Road for 640m to a fork. Turn left (North) to follow the way-marked track to Brisbane Mains Farm. The route passes through the farmyard and through a gate. Head North from the farmyard. After 1km the rough path bends to the left (North West). 300m further along look out for an Ayrshire Coastal Path marker post – turn left (North West) for the Knock Hill path. The path heads South and circles around Knock Hill up to the summit trig point. From the summit return via the same route to the marker post (6) and turn left (North) to follow the track down to a gate in a dry stone wall. Go through the gate and follow the field boundary fence downhill – fence on your right-hand side. You will pass through a small woodland area with some steep, tricky uneven ground, to emerge onto Routenburn Road. Turn right (North) and continue along this pleasant minor road for 2km, passing through the hamlet of Meigle and ending at the busy A78 Trunk Road. Turn right (North) to walk along the roadside pavement for a short 20m, taking the first road on the right onto another minor road leading uphill and behind Skelmorlie Castle. Continuing uphill, the road passes Skelmorlie Mains Caravan Park and Skelmorlie Golf Club before beginning to head back downhill and into Skelmorlie itself. Walk North along Skelmorlie Castle Road. Go straight on at a crossroads to reach Skelmorlie Cross. Continue ahead (North West) to another crossroads, where you should turn right (North) onto Station Road. Station Road is a brae which winds its way downhill to the A78. Close to the bottom of the hill there is an information board marking the official end of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Turn right on the A78/Shore Road to cross the Kelly Burn. Just beyond the burn there is a road on the right which is the entrance to Wemyss Bay Holiday Park. Here the street name changes to Greenock Road and this is where the walk ends.

ACP Largs to Wemyss Bay

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There are two options for this final section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path: the low route and the high route. Despite the fact it is several miles longer and I had already walked 13 miles by the time I arrived in Largs, naturally I chose the high route! From what I had read it sounded more interesting and over the course of my 4 days on the Ayrshire Coastal Path I had experienced some amazing scenery along the higher paths. Plus I had never been up Knock Hill before ;-)

My mum came along too, she wanted to do the last leg of my charity walk with me so had joined me in Portencross earlier in the afternoon. I don’t know why, but it wasn’t until I reached the final way marker that it really hit home I had just walked 100 miles! It wasn’t something I had given any thought to before embarking on the walk for the Mark McCloskey Foundation, but to have rocked up at Wemyss Bay with only myself to celebrate with would have been a real shame so I am truly grateful to my mum for walking all that way with me.  She was there for parts of the final two days and it gave me a great morale boost. As it was, my dad and family friend Archie came to collect us in Wemyss Bay and even walked the last mile with us. It was then off to Ardrossan for a well earned chippie!!

I have mixed feelings about this Largs to Wemyss Bay walk. I want to say it’s a great walk and I think it is, but I’m finding it hard to muster up the enthusiasm it deserves. I am confident that is only because I was so exhausted by the point of starting it that I couldn’t properly appreciate it. Largs just seemed enormous, a never ending promenade….(although it is worth mentioning that there are more toilet options in Largs than on the entire rest of the Ayrshire Coastal Path put together!!) and when we reached the A78 towards the end of the walk we both could have quit there and then when we realised that the uphill bits weren’t over yet! Now that I have been to the top of Knock Hill, I would consider trying the low route next time for a gentler, less boggy experience.

On a more positive note, the views along this walk were stunning and apart from the long walk through Largs, I found that things stayed interesting thanks to constant changes in terrain. I liked that it involved a bit of hillwalking too and I am wondering whether Knock Hill might be an option with the kids one day if I can find somewhere closeby to leave the car….

Caledonian MacBrayne ferries on their sailings to and from the Isle of Cumbrae (Millport) from Largs
Largs seen from the hillside behind Brisbane Mains Farm
Boggy trail towards Knock Hill
From the summit of Knock Hill the views were spectacular, definitely worth the short de-tour from the main track
Looking back towards Knock Hill – seemed so far away now!
Pleasant minor road with Skelmorlie Castle visible amongst the trees and the Argyll hills standing behind. A downhill section for once!
Perfect end to my Ayrshire Coastal Path journey! It was like the universe was sending me a message of approval and congratulations :-)

Go to: previous section Portencross to Largs
Go to: full Ayrshire Coastal Path review

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5 thoughts on “Walk 131 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Largs to Skelmorlie via Knock Hill (10.5 miles)

  1. Hi Mary thank you so much! You should definitely do the walk, it really makes you appreciate how fortunate we are to have all that on our doorsteps. Do let me know how you get on!


  2. Hi Gillian I followed your posts as you walked & ive really enjoyed reading this account today your photos were also fab ! I’ve completed the WHW before , live in Ayr and you’ve inspired me to attempt this walk although maybe over 6 days but like you within 4 weeks . Loved the details you shared with us and your notes & directions will be an amazing help . Well done again


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