Walk 130 – Ayrshire Coastal Path: Portencross to Largs (7 miles)

This post contains affiliate links from which I may make a commission. All opinions are my own. If you’d like more information you can contact me via the Contact page, a link to which is at the bottom of this page in the footer.

Portencross: Arguably one of the best places from which to view the Isle of Arran! The Isle of Cumbrae quickly takes it’s place as you progress towards Largs via the industrial grounds of Hunterston and the pretty town of Fairlie. Much of this walk is along cycle tracks, pavements and minor roads. 

  Car parks at Portencross (KA23 9QA) and Largs Marina (KA30 8EZ). No public transport to Portencross – closest train station is West Kilbride 2.3 miles away. Largs train station is 1.5 miles from end of walk, so travelling by train makes the walk 11 miles in total. A shorter option is to stop in Fairlie and take the train back to West Kilbride from there – walk distance 7.5 miles. Then come back and do Fairlie to Largs another time!

route-image  Route:  Exit Portencross car park onto the road and turn left (North West). Continue along the road for 200m, past the road down to Portencross Castle (recommend taking the short de-tour to see it though!) After the cottages, turn left (North West) to go onto a gravel footpath leading towards the water. Walk North along the track, the steep banks of the Three Sisters to your right-hand side. After 1.3km you will arrive at a gate and a small parking area. Continue ahead (North) along Power Station Road. After 1km at a roundabout continue ahead to stay on Power Station Road. Another 1.2km along the road you will reach a fork. Keep left (North East) to continue along Power Station Road. Approx 900m further turn left (East) to come off the road and onto a tree-lined path which leads to a pavement along the busy A78/Irvine Road. Turn left (North) and follow the NCN757 cycle path for 2.5km to the outskirts of Fairlie. After passing Southanan Sands take the first road on the left (North East) towards a small parking and picnic area . Skirt past the car park and picnic area to cross a footbridge over Fairlie Burn. From here a path runs alongside a high stone wall, allowing easy progress around the bay. After 800m, a short section of which is along the sandy beach, use the ramp to walk onto Bay Street. Turn left (North) and at the end of the street turn right (South East) onto Pier Road, heading towards Fairlie Parish Church. Before the church, turn left (East) to reach the A78. Turn left (North) on A78 and continue along the pavement for 1km. Shortly after crossing the Kel Burn turn left (West) go to through a railway underpass. The track (lined with different types of anchors!) continues along the side of Largs Yacht Haven for 800m to Largs Yacht Haven car park.

ACPlogo Purchase the official Ayrshire Coastal Path Guide Book

Use this website often? I invite you to support my work through Patreon or by making a one-off donation.


Today we were blessed with beautiful weather and a crystal clear view across to the Isle of Arran. I remember standing in the car park at Portencross taking it all in, completely mesmerized by my surroundings. My mum was with me today for the final 17 miles of my adventure along the Ayrshire Coastal Path. I was hiking the whole 100 miles to raise funds for the Mark McCloskey Foundation and today would see me complete it! I had already walked 6.5 miles from Ardrossan by the time I met up with my mum in Portencross and I was in good spirits, excited to find out what lay ahead!

What I enjoyed less was the track alongside the A78 between Hunterston and Fairlie. Too much traffic noise, no coastal view. Good thing it is a short(ish) section. We met a man who had walked from Ardrossan like me, and he admitted this was his least favourite part of the whole 14 miles…. says a lot considering we had all just walked through the grounds of a decommissioned power station!!

If you like boats you will love the cycle track between Kelburn and Largs Yacht Haven: it is lined with different types of anchors each with a plaque explaining it’s history! Like a mini outdoor museum 🙂

Isle of Arran seen from Portencross on a particularly clear day <3
My favourite section of this walk was between Portencross and Hunterston: a wide gravel track with high cliffs to the right and views across to the island of Little Cumbrae on the left.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the 2 miles of road through the grounds of Hunterston Power Station. To be honest I was intrigued as to what it looked like, having passed the entrance in the car countless times en route to Largs. Although certainly possessing an industrial air, I was pleasantly surprised. I had imagined it to be a really ugly area, very built up and noisy. Not sure why I expected noise, I knew it was no longer in operation! In fact I found it to be very peaceful, clean and on the whole very enjoyable.  We met a few other walkers there too and I got the impression it is a route well-used by locals.
Quirky red sandstone & concrete footpath between Fairlie and Largs

Go to: next section Largs to Skelmorlie (via Knock Hill)
Go to: previous section Ardrossan to Portencross
Go to: full Ayrshire Coastal Path review

Use this website often? I invite you to support my work through Patreon or by making a one-off donation.

Share This Post

Use this website often? I invite you to support the continued creation of high quality content through Patreon or by making a one-off donation.