Walk 174 – Kirstie’s Trail, Barr

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Beautifully scenic forestry tracks take you along to Kirstie’s Cairn, a memorial to young local farmer Christopher McTaggart who lost his life there in a blizzard in 1913. An easy walk which can either be 4 or 6 miles return depending on your start point. Instead why not form a loop and experience the famous Fairy Knowe Trail whilst you are there?  Or head up to High Changue on the Devil’s Trail for incredible views down the valley? 

Print  Dog-friendly walkresponsible dog owners are welcome on the Barr Trails

buggy friendly image  Buggy-friendly walk (Note – very last short section on approach to Kirstie’s Cairn involves a small stream crossing but entire rest of walk on good tracks)

  Parking opposite Barr Village Hall or in the Trails Car Park, just off Changue Road (KA26 9TT).  Route can be shortened by approx 2 miles if you begin at the Trails Car Park

route image  Route: Head East from the parking area opposite Barr Village Hall. At a bend in the road keep right to continue ahead (South East) onto Changue Road, passing Barr Primary School. Approx 1.7km along from the start you will reach a fork at a way marker – keep left (South East) following the directional way marker for “The Devil’s Trail, Kirstie’s Trail, Changue Forestry Trail”. Continue along the forestry track with the Water of Gregg initially on your left-hand side before switching to your right-hand side approx 1km along. After 3km turn right (South) at a small pond. Just past the pond turn right again onto a narrower footpath. There is a small stream to cross (may be tricky when in spate). You will find Kirstie’s Cairn at the other side of the gate. Return via the same route to arrive back at Barr Village Hall.

Kirstie's Cairn, Barr


You can read about how I came to be in Barr on this date in my report of the Fairy Knowe Trail, when I had the pleasure of checking out three of the Barr Trails in the company of local lady Merlin Currie.

What a beautiful spot, a true hidden treasure in Ayrshire and one which everyone must, must explore. I for one did not appreciate that Ayrshire was home to such extensive areas of forestry; I honestly felt at times as though I was in the Highlands. But why go north, when you can head south!

Part of the Changue Road heading to the beginning of the Barr Trails
Dense forestry, full of life and colour on this sunny early Spring afternoon

Like most people I suspect, I went along to Kirstie’s Cairn fully presuming it referred to a woman named Kirstie. However I soon found out that it was in fact the nickname of Chrisptoher McTaggart, a 19 year old shepherd who sadly lost his life here in the winter of 1913 whilst tending to his sheep. You can read the story on the Barr Village Facebook page.

Kirstie’s Cairn. The photo also shows the grassy access path on the right, as well as the continuation of the Change Forest (mountain bike) Trail just above.
Memorial stone on the cairn

On the way to and from the Cairn we passed a small pond and Merlin explained to me that it comes alive with dragonflies on a hot summer’s day! It did seem such a beautifully sheltered spot and I could fully imagine a family cycle to this spot one day.

Dragonfly pond

Other walks in this area: 

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