Walk 163 – Ballochmyle Viaduct from Catrine – 3.7 miles

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Hidden in a small woodland near Catrine, discover one of the most extensive areas of ring and cup marks ever found in the UK. Then take a short walk along the River Ayr to the impressive Ballochmyle Viaduct. It is the highest masonry railway viaduct in Britain and even featured in a scene in the movie Mission: Impossible! Being on the Failford to Catrine section of the River Ayr Way means that you can extend the walk in either direction should you wish.

TERRAIN: mostly earth footpaths and quiet roads. Can be muddy at times. Reaching the ring and cup marks requires crossing very boggy and uneven ground.  

Print  Dog-friendly walk (one wire fence to cross to reach the ring & cup marks)

Car park on corner of Wood Street, Catrine (KA5 6RJ). There is also a local bus service with stops at Mill Square, at the start of the route. 

Catrine to Ballochmyle

WALK REPORT: 20th December 2017

When I went out with the Scottish Wildlife Trust Ayrshire to do some volunteering for the first time, I certainly didn’t expect to be writing up a new walk report afterwards! Winding down for Christmas, the plan was to clean out some bird nesting boxes at the beautiful Ayr Gorge Woodland before stopping by Catrine House Coffee Shop (now closed) for some of their delicious home-made ice cream and finish with a short walk along the River Ayr to try and find some ancient ring and cup marks which Harry had read about online. I was delighted at the prospect of a day out and about exploring! I had already walked some of the River Ayr Way and the day I did the Failford to Catrine section I met someone who told me about the ring and cup marks and how to get to them but short on time, I hadn’t investigated any further, nor given any thought to them since….. Between Harry who had the location co-ordinates of the marks, me with my vague memory of what I’d been told almost 2 years ago, and directions given to us by a local dog-walker, we managed to find them without too much trouble.

Across the grass, over the fence, jumped the stream, through the trees and mud, up the slope…. and there they were! Huge walls of red sandstone covered in various shaped rings and dents. Only found in 1986, the carvings are thought to date back to the bronze age and have now been designated a scheduled ancient monument.

The River Ayr near Catrine

Before heading back to the cars I suggested taking a wander along to the railway viaduct which I knew was only a short distance away and an interesting feature of the area since it is the tallest masonry railway viaduct in the UK!  Part of the Glasgow to Carlisle line, the viaduct is still in use today and standing beneath it really lets you appreciate it’s jaw-dropping height and the work that must have gone in to building it back in 1846.

Looking up at it’s dizzying height!

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