“Gillian led us on a fabulous beach walk. She was full of knowledge about local history, flora and fauna. Delightful, relaxed company, we highly recommend Gillian’s Walks. A full five stars!”
Prices from £25 per person depending on group size and route chosen. Everything from small family groups to corporate team-building days catered for. Gillian’s Walks is based in Ayrshire in the south west of Scotland – close to Glasgow and the home of Robert Burns, Johnnie Walker and a stunning coastline on the Firth of Clyde. Questions? Check out my FAQ.
Popular Private Guided Walk Routes
My most common requests are for walks with links to Robert Burns and walks along the beautiful Ayrshire coastline where you can pass some of the region’s historic castles and links golf courses. It is also possible to walk on the Clyde islands, a short ferry trip from the Ayrshire coast. You’ll find my recommended routes below. They can be adapted to suit your needs in terms of distance and difficulty level so do get in touch for a tailored recommendation:
3.5 mile circular walk starting and ending in the village of Failford – suitable for most levels – lots of steps.
- Dramatic red sandstone gorge along the River Ayr
- Ancient woodland rich in native plant and tree species
- Highland Mary’s Monument – last meeting place of Robert Burns and the great love of his life, Mary
- Tranquil viewpoint (pictured opposite) linked to one of the most famous Covenanters, Alexander Peden
- Option to add a traditional pub lunch or drink at the end of the walk available on some dates
6 mile linear walk – suitable for those with some previous walking experience.
- Incredible walk along one of the more rugged and remote sections of the Ayrshire Coast
- Discover some local history as we visit the main fortress of the powerful Kennedy family – the 15th Century Dunure Castle and nearby Greenan Castle
- Dunure fishing village – Outlander film location and part of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.
- Stunning views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran and Ailsa Craig
7.5 mile circular walk starting and ending at Prestwick train station – suitable for all levels – flat.
- Get up close to two of Ayrshire’s links golf courses: Royal Troon and Prestwick (home of the Open Championship and named Scotland’s Best Golf Club 2022)
- Discover some history of the 18th century Ayrshire Smuggling trade
- Option to purchase a cone from Mancini’s award-winning Italian ice cream parlour as we begin the walk along Prestwick Esplanade
- Stunning views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran
7 mile circular walk starting and ending at Largs Ferry Terminal – suitable for most levels – buggy friendly route (some hills).
- Hop across to Great Cumbrae, “the island of 1000 bicycles” by ferry!
- Experience the quieter roads and trails of Great Cumbrae with a walk to the island’s highest point to enjoy panoramic views across the Firth of Clyde to the islands of Arran and Bute
- Visit the island’s only town – Millport, where you’ll find Mapes Toy Shop, Isle of Cumbrae (gin) Distillers, Britain’s smallest cathedral and the iconic Crocodile Rock – remember your camera!
What sort of groups does Gillian’s Walks cater for?
Any size of group from 2-25 people can be accommodated. Couples, friends, families, corporate groups. I don’t currently offer guided walks for groups of children under 16, however children can attend my guided walks if accompanied by an adult, for example as part of a family group. I offer different grades of walks so that all fitness levels can be catered for. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to come along: there will be times when they can run free and other times when you will be asked to use a lead, such as in areas where there is livestock present, in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
How long are your guided walks?
My guided walk experiences usually last for a half day (up to a few hours) or a full day (up to 7 or 8 hours). The distance covered over a half or full day very much depends on the experience and fitness levels of the group, type of terrain, how much chatting we do about history, heritage etc, and how long we spend visiting the points of interest along the route. Not forgetting the impact the good old Scottish weather can sometimes have (wet and windy days make you walk faster!) I can tailor routes to suit your needs so please get in touch for a bespoke itinerary.
Where does Gillian’s Walks operate?
My main base is in Ayrshire on the south west coast of Scotland, and I can guide groups elsewhere in Scotland on request.
What is Ayrshire like for walking?
Ayrshire is a region almost 2000 square miles in size and best known as the birthplace of the famous poet Robert Burns as well as the world-renowned whisky brand Johnnie Walker. An area rich in farmland, if you visit at the right time of year you can experience our very own potatoes – Ayrshire tatties – growing in the fields along the coast.
Ayrshire enjoys over 100 stunning miles of walk-able coastline – known as the Ayrshire Coastal Path – and is also home to Scotland’s first source to sea long distance walking route – The River Ayr Way. Both of those routes have official NatureScot designation as Scotland’s Great Trails which means that they are amongst Scotland’s “finest long distance trails”. The islands of Arran and Cumbrae are a short ferry journey away.
Inland there are many attractive rural towns and villages as well as several river valleys which offer an abundance of walks. Particular favourites of mine include the villages of Straiton and Barr, The Doon Valley and the Irvine Valley.
What accreditations, experience and knowledge does Gillian’s Walks have?
You can expect an experienced, friendly guide with detailed knowledge of walking in the South West of Scotland. I can help you discover some of the history of the areas we will walk in, as well as the flora and fauna growing around us. I’ve been leading group walks since 2017 and am a certified Lowland Walk Leader. This means that I have undertaken nationally accredited training and assessment with Mountain Training UK and it qualifies me to lead groups on day walks in lowland countryside and woodland. I’m also trained in outdoor first aid and am fully insured. A member of the Ayrshire Coastal Path Management Board, I’m truly passionate about showcasing the walking opportunities the area has to offer. I’m considered a Walking Ambassador for the Ayrshire region by the 11,000 people who follow me on social media and take advantage of my free Walking Route resource.
How much are your guided walks?
Prices start from £25 per person depending on group size and whether you’re looking for a half or full day experience. I will put together a bespoke quote for you based on your group’s needs. Contact me today to start the conversation.
I can advise on travel options for reaching the start of the walk from your accommodation, and where walks are linear in nature, for returning to your accommodation at the end of the walk. I can also assist with recommending local taxi or minibus/coach companies on request.
What should I bring with me on the walk?
Walkers will need comfortable walking boots or trail shoes with good grips, and a light day pack to carry some spare clothing (the Scottish weather can be very changeable), drinking water and snacks/packed lunch if on a full day walk or planning to be out over lunchtime.
Depending on the weather forecast the following items of spare clothing should ideally be carried: a waterproof jacket and trousers (if you have them), hat, gloves, a warm layer of clothing, sunglasses, spare socks.
Optional extras: walking poles (great for balance on uneven ground and/or taking strain off your knees), a camera, sunscreen, midge repellent. Spare sunscreen and midge repellent will be carried by the Walk Guide.
What are your Terms & Conditions?
Outdoor activities can be hazardous. Gillian’s Walks is responsible for the overall safety of the group while out on a guided walk, so in order to manage the risk, you are requested make the Guide aware should you feel unhappy or feel the activity is beyond your ability. By agreeing to participate on one of our private guided walks, you agree to accept these risks and will be responsible for your own actions.
Payment for the walk is required in full at the time of booking. If you decide to cancel for any reason the following will apply:
- All walks are subject to a non-refundable booking fee of 10% (PayPal and Stripe do not refund fees to us)
- If you cancel within 14 to 8 (inclusive) days of the walk you will receive a 50% refund.
- If you cancel within 7 days of the walk your payment is non-refundable.
Walks go ahead in most weather conditions so it is important that the group comes prepared for any forecast wind, rain etc (see section “What should I bring with me on the walk?”) In the event that severe weather is forecast which might put the safety of the group at risk, Gillian’s Walks reserves the right to postpone the walk or offer an alternative, safer route option. Gillian’s Walks is unlikely to cancel a walk completely, however if that happens we will notify you as soon as possible to arrange a full refund.
“Today was our first walk with Gillian. We were lucky with the weather and Gillian was easy to talk to and the walk was well planned and pretty adventurous too. Thoroughly an enjoyable day.”
— Madhuvanthi Sengole
“Great to meet you Gillian. I really enjoyed the walk and hearing about the history of the woods and seeing the wildlife.”
— Morag McNaughton