Posted by: natsevs | June 8, 2010

Troon to Old Kilpatrick

We were setting off from Troon at around 9.15 with Moon at the most motivated I had seen him yet as I had given us a shorter day to be able to watch the FA Cup Final, which obviously featured the mighty Portsmouth who we both support.

The day started off back on the promenade before going round the point and to the beach where we joined a path along the dunes. It was right next to a golf course and the path, which started the beach side of the road, started crossing over for short bursts. Suddenly, Andy was saying to duck but I just looked at him confused, some old guys teeing off were giving us hassle for being on the edge of the course. The path led up to the tee and they waited for us to get there before teeing off, and telling us how dangerous it was and how we would be safer on the beach. We both felt like mentioning it was only dangerous if they were exceptionally bad at golf but let them have their moan.

The path went onto the beach then anyway and the weather also perked up considerable after a windy and showery start to the day. When we hit Irvine we were fully expecting to have to come in because of the river but that did not stop us being severely disappointed at the sight of an almost, but not quite, finished bridge. It would have cut off a fair chunk of unnecessary miles.

We had lunch there once Andy had nipped into the supermarket then we followed the cycle route for the most part. Along the road then next to the railway past many more golf courses. At Kilwinning we took a left off the cycle route, hopefully to cut off a bit and walked into the demolished remains of some sort of industrial estate.

Thankfully, we managed to navigate through that without to much trouble and back onto the cycle route down to Stevenston and back onto the beach. Coming up to Saltcoates I had a lovely chat to some friendly drunks out for a stroll and several beers. Here we came off the beach and round the headland, past all the seaside attractions, and onto the front at Ardrossan.

We reached the B&B not long after the start of the FA Cup final after going for it to get there with Moon struggling but very determined. They weren’t showing the game on Scottish TV, the Scottish final was on.

I’ve never seen someone look so dejected.

Thankfully, the day before my mate had told me about a website to view TV on the iphone so was able to get it on that. If I’m completely honest, I watched the Neighbours omnibus instead. In the evening, we got beers from the supermarket and a chipshop tea.

Breakfast was pretty good and the owner was very chatty, when I told her I was in that day’s Scottish News of the World she rang her husband to get a copy which was really nice of her. It wasn’t the most accurate article, apparently I’m from Southampton and raising JUST £1000. It did get me some sponsorship money though so can’t complain.

We set off along the road towards West Kilbride, then from there it was onto the beach again. It took us past another golf course to Portencross, a very quaint place. Then there was a path from there to Hunterston where there was a nuclear power station. That took ages to get around and we stopped for lunch at the side of the road looking at the foreboding clouds coming our way. Five minutes after we set off the rain came down in bucket loads and the waterproofs went on. All road walking to Fairlie by which time the rain had stopped.

It is a pretty town with lovely views over the water absolutely ruined by industry. We hit a dead end by following the coast so had to backtrack slightly to re-find the Ayrshire coast path taking us along roads and cycle path to Largs. It was here that Andy was getting a train to Glasgow then on back home. It’s a nice seasidey place but as I set off again on my own it absolutely tipped it down on me. It was promenade to start with but then road to Skelmorlie, with not a lot of room for me and the cars. The campsite, Mains holiday park, don’t actually take tents any more but made an exception for me as its for charity and let me off the fee. It’s right at the top of a steep hill providing some awesome views. The rain also held off to get the tent up without soaking anything so a good end to the day.

It was actually warm in the tent in the morning, which was really nice but that coupled with so much more room in there makes it harder to get going in the morning. I dropped my toilet key back off and headed along the high road down into Skelmorlie. I got a little breakfast snack in the village shop and completed the Ayrshire coast path.

I took the road to Wemyss Bay then along the coast to the point where I couldn’t get any further due to the beach being blocked by private houses. I tried going down the next road up as it looked on the map as though there was a path at the end. It was a complete dead end with houses in the way though so had to come back then found a path up the hill between streets resisting the urge to just peg it down the side of a house to the beach.

I got to the A78 and headed along there, with a path turning up on the side to take me to Inverkip. There is a marina and very posh village on the coast here and I skirted around them and reached a path along the headland shore and all the way to the start of Gourock. I took pavement through Gourock, then Greenock and onto Port Glasgow. The places got less nice in that order.

Out of Port Glasgow I started off on the edge of the main road but saw a path on the other side and that took me to a boardwalk right along the side of the sea wall. Unfortunately, I was soon forced back onto the road verge all the way to Langbank. Not long after that, the A road became a motorway so was onto a lesser road inland slightly then back out towards the Erskine bridge. I was pretty tired by this point and crossed it just before 7pm but the scenery was brilliant looking back on where I had been (below, with a pic of Nat on the bridge below that). I came into Old Kilpatrick and went to find my B&B.

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