Walk 199 – Blue Bonnet Trails, Ayr & Alloway

The Blue Bonnet Trails are made up of the 3 mile Tam’s Trail and the 1.5 mile Alloway Trail. They follow the journey taken from Ayr Town Centre to Alloway by Tam o’ Shanter as recounted in one of the most famous poems ever written by Rabbie Burns. The Trails are best experienced using the fantastic Ayr Through the Ages app, in fact I would go as far as to recommend not doing them without it! The app not only loads up an interactive map which allows you to follow the correct route, but along the way you can also click on any of the 31 pinned locations to reveal fascinating historical information relevant to that point on the map, as well as hear excerpts from the Tam o’Shanter poem being recited. As you walk the trails look out for the blue bonnet way markers. The route described in the post below is 7.5 miles in total and takes in both trails with the addition of a loop back into Ayr via the beautiful promenade.

Walk 174 – Kirstie’s Trail, Barr

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? 

Walk 149 – Irvine & Kilwinning New Town Trail – 12 miles

A 12 mile circular route which I suggest starting at Eglinton Country Park. Half of it follows the NCN73 cycle path whilst the remainder is along a mixture of earth tracks, surfaced footpaths and urban areas. An entirely flat walk makes for easy walking and feels surprisingly rural, often accompanied by either the Lugton Water, Annick Water or the River Irvine. Sights to look forward to include Eglinton Castle, the Cairnmount Hill standing stones, Sourlie Woods and Garnock Floods Wildlife Reserves, Robert Burns statue, plenty of bridges, and if you do it in summer, apple trees and wild flowers galore! Possibly the most difficult trail I have had to navigate so far, I would suggest not relying solely on the way-markers which I found to be confusing, missing or hidden at times!

Walk 139 – Peppermill Dam Walk, Devilla Forest – 5.6 miles

A multi-terrain circuit taking in two of the four lochs within Devilla Forest, Fife. Situated between Kincardine and Dunfermline, Devilla covers over 1700 acres of land and is one of the largest pine forests in the Scottish lowlands. On this walk you can expect wide gravel tracks and grassy footpaths throughout. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, in particular around the Moor Loch and Peppermill Dam areas! 

Walk 138 – Knockentiber/Springside Loop

Two great walks between the Ayrshire villages of Knockentiber and Springside. Both start along the dismantled Kilmarnock-Irvine railway track (NCN73 cycle track) before moving onto country roads. Lovely views down to Crosshouse and beyond from the highest points and the shorter loop is buggy-friendly too! 

Walk 132 – Blairadam Forest S.E Corner – 4 miles

Depending where exactly in Blairadam you are walking, you might either be in Fife or in Perth & Kinross! This walk covers the south-eastern edge of the forest, beginning at a small car park just off the B914 next to Kelty. It takes you deep into the forest with the path initially running parallel to the M90 before heading to higher ground from where you can enjoy fabulous views North to Loch Leven. The route then loops back to the start via Clentry, a cluster of farm cottages. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of the fabled ‘Beast of Blairadam’ during your visit 😮

Walk 116 – Calais Muir Wood, Dunfermline – 1.5 miles

This is a short walk around a scenic woodland area of Dunfermline called Calais Muir. A popular place with local dog walkers, the gravel track is also perfect for a stroll with the pram. Easily accessible from the neighbouring residential areas of the town if you wish to extend the length of the walk, or park right beside it – your choice!

Walk 113 – Southannan Waterfall, Fairlie – 1 mile

At only a half mile each way, this super short walk from Fairlie Train Station takes you uphill through local woodland to an impressive waterfall on Southannan Burn. Go after (or during!) heavy rainfall to see it at it’s best.

Walk 104 – Shore Road, Torryburn

The Shore Road between Torryburn and Crombie Point is a tarmac footpath which widens to become a narrow road with some impressive sized homes to the left. It runs along the Firth of Forth and on a clear day you will be able to make out the illustrious skyline of the Grangemouth Refinery. There are two route options described below and in both you leave the Shore Road at Crombie Point onto peaceful country roads, with the extended option continuing on a cycle track and roadside pavements to return to the start point. 

Walk 103 – Pollok Country Park, Glasgow – 2.6 miles

Home to one of Scotland’s grandest Edwardian country homes, Pollok House, and also to the world famous Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park is the largest park in Glasgow. This circular walk takes you past both of these attractions, as well as through quiet woodlands and gardens, along the White Cart Water, through the Old Stable Courtyard, past the kids play area, and also visits the quirky Hobbit Village. Something for everyone!