Fairlie Glens and Waterfalls Circular

On a clear day the views from this route are simply outstanding: the islands of Cumbrae & Arran and the pink sandy beaches at Fairlie and Hunterston. A variety of woodland paths, tracks and grassy hillsides lead you gently uphill past the remains of Fairlie Castle and along the base of Black Hill. The return section follows the Fairlie Moor Road and then the Ayrshire Coastal Path. There is the opportunity to visit some hidden waterfalls along the route.

Technical sheet
No. 21792699
A North Ayshire walk posted on 09/05/22 by Gillian's Walks. Update : 10/05/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h40[?]
Distance Distance : 7.67km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 180m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 183m
Highest point Highest point : 148m
Lowest point Lowest point : 3m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : North Ayshire
Starting point Starting point : N 55.751851° / W 4.853488°
Download : -
NCN 757 View from the track along the base of Black Hill Woodland Path Path to the base of Black Hill


(D/A) Fairlie Rail Station (KA29 0DX). From the car park follow a lane heading North between the last house on Station Road and some trees.

(1) After only 80m it emerges onto Burnfoot Road where you turn right (East) to follow a path signposted “Fairlie Castle, Glen & Waterall, Kaim Hill”.

From here a woodland path follows Fairlie Burn uphill to the remains of Fairlie Castle.

(2) The first waterfall can be found by veering off the path immediately behind the castle. You can pick up a faint trail in the trees heading towards the burn and if you follow it upstream a little across rougher ground, you will reap your reward. The waterfall tumbles down beneath a giant stone slab – this is the footbridge you will soon cross to continue the walk.

(3) Return to the main path behind the castle. Turn right (East) and approx 40m along you will see the footbridge on your right. You can either cross now, or follow the route to another stunning waterfall a little further along the path (some scrambling is required to reach it). If you feel up to it then leave the bridge for now and continue along the main path for approx 200m. Look out for a wooden sign that says ‘Waterfall’ on your right at one of the bends in the path. Follow the trail into the trees and up a muddy banking. You will hear the noise of the waterfall before you see it! Enjoy, then retrace your steps back to the footbridge.

(4) Cross the footbridge, go through the kissing gate and you will emerge onto a meadow.

Cross the meadow diagonally uphill (South East) to go through a gate in the wall. There are 2 paths from here (only one shown on the map) – take the lower path which runs parallel to the wall heading South. On a clear day the views from here are spectacular!

(5) Traverse the hillside for approx 220m, gradually gaining height to emerge at a gated entrance to the woods.

(6) Immediately on entering the woods there is a small ford to cross then the path continues through the trees for 640m to a gate leading onto open hillside. Just beyond this woodland you walk across a large rock in the ground which has some ancient stone and cup markings on it (though you can easily miss them!)

Follow a faint path left (South East) towards the corner of two dry stone walls and pass through the gates.

Follow the (sometimes muddy) track to the right (South) along the base of Black Hill. After 1.5km this emerges onto the Fairlie Moor Road. The continuation of the route is to the right, but for a short and very worthwhile detour to another waterfall turn left (East) along the road for 90m.

(7) Just beyond the bend in the road, look for a faint footpath on the right (not signposted). It leads to a beautiful hidden waterfall on Glen Burn – you can actually walk in behind it if there is not too much water at the time of your visit!

Retrace your steps to the Fairlie Moor Road, turn left (West) and follow it downhill for 1.5km to meet with A78/Irvine Road.

(8) Take care crossing over then turn right (North) onto the NCN 757 / Ayrshire Coastal Path route. Continue along the cycle path for 1.3km to reach Fairlie.

Take the second road on your right (East) onto Montgomerie Avenue and at the end of the street turn left (North) onto Montgomerie Drive. Station Road is at the end of this street. Turn right (East) on Station Road to reach Fairlie Rail Station (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 15m - Fairlie Rail Station
1 : km 0.1 - alt. 18m - Start of riverside path on right
2 : km 0.52 - alt. 62m - First waterfall
3 : km 0.79 - alt. 88m - Second waterfall
4 : km 1.02 - alt. 65m - Footbridge
5 : km 1.46 - alt. 112m - Gated entrance to woods
6 : km 2.09 - alt. 138m - Gate and ring and cup markings
7 : km 4.05 - alt. 127m - Third waterfall
8 : km 5.62 - alt. 12m - NCN 757 / Ayrshire Coastal Path route
D/A : km 7.66 - alt. 15m - Fairlie Rail Station

Useful Information

For more information and a walk review visit Gillian's Walks

By train: regular service to/from Fairlie Rail Station from Glasgow and the Three Towns
By car: small car park at Fairlie Rail Station and on-street parking options on surrounding residential streets

There are often sheep on this route, especially along the track at the base of Black Hill

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Views to the islands of Cumbrae and Arran as well as Hunterston Power Station
  • Fairlie Castle
  • Waterfalls
  • Ring and cup markings
  • Alternative route from point (6) is to go over the top of Black Hill instead of along the base. You will emerge onto Fairlie Moor Road at the same point.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.