River Ayr Way (Wellwood to Glenbuck Loch via Cairn Table)

A fairly challenging linear walk taking in the first section of the River Ayr Way as well as an ascent of Cairn Table (1945 ft / 593 m), the most prominent hill in East Ayrshire.

Technical sheet No. 25951242

A East Ayrshire walk posted on 24/08/22 by Gillian's Walks. Update : 25/08/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h45[?]
Distance Distance : 22.71 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 447 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 374 m
Highest point Highest point : 585 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 192 m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : East Ayrshire
Starting point Starting point : N 55.512764° / W 4.133985°
Ending point Ending point : N 55.543443° / W 3.984588°
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Cairn Table summit The River Ayr

Description

(D) Head south along the unnamed minor road to reach a bridge over the River Ayr.

(1) Cross the bridge then just before reaching the A70, turn left (East) through a kissing gate. The path leads you across a wooden footbridge and into some trees, running parallel to the A70 to another kissing gate further along.

Take care crossing the A70 and pick up the continuation of the trail at the other side of the road (South East). The path heads into the trees then bends left and runs behind the tree plantation, meeting up with the River Ayr again close to the A70.

The next section hugs the river on a grassy footpath – a beautifully scenic and tranquil area.

(2) After 2km the path begins to veer away from the River Ayr. It bends to the right along a fenceline and joins up with another track.

(3) Turn left (East) onto the track.

(4) At a crossroads next to Upper Wellwood farm, turn right (South West).

(5) You will soon reach a fork in the path - turn left (North East) along a disused railway track bed.

(6) At the bottom of some steps turn right (South East) onto a wider, gravel track.

(7) You are only on this track for 130m before there is a fork, keep left (East).

(8) 270m along this path you will reach Tibby’s Brig.

(9) At the other side of the bridge the path heads uphill and onwards to a fork. You can continue along the River Ayr Way (avoiding the hike up Cairn Table and cutting out 4.5 miles) by turning left (North) here – it takes you directly to Kames Racetrack. To include the Cairn Table hike, turn right (South) at the fork and follow a grass and gravel footpath along a fence line for approx 0.8 miles (1.3 km), passing MacAdam’s Stone along the way.

(10) After 1.5km, turn left onto a fairly indistinct trail up the hillside through heather and tussocky grass.

(11) At 498m of elevation, you will arrive at the main "tourist" path to the summit - turn right (South East) to continue uphill.

(12) 700m (and 100m ascent) later, you will reach the large cairn on top of Cairn Table.

Start your descent via the same path, heading north west for 700m. Keep right at the fork (11) to pass the track by which you ascended and continue downhill for 3km in a north-westerly direction.

You will pass some brick fortifications and a stone ruin before emerging at the walkers car park at Kames.

(13) Walk through the car park then just before you reach the road, turn right (North East) to follow the directional arrows for the River Ayr Way. This takes you onto a footpath between two fence lines.

(14) Turn left (North) at a fork 300m along.

(15) A further 1km along this path you will reach a minor road. Turn left (North) and at the end of the road turn right (South East) onto another road.

(16) 100m along this road look out for a River Ayr Way wooden marker post on your left

Go through the kissing gate and follow grass and gravel footpaths along a disused railway track bed for 4.7km, eventually emerging onto the A70.

(17) Cross the A70 carefully to another kissing gate directly across the road and turn right (East) along a path running parallel to the A70 behind a row of trees. The path ends on the minor road at Glenbuck Loch. Turn left (North) along the road.

(18) After 160m turn right (North East) onto another road leading towards a cottage. Pass through the gate (ignore the “Private Property” signs – this is the official River Ayr Way route) and continue along this road gently uphill to a small parking area.

(19) In the parking area you will find the Glenbuck Sculpture as well as the information board marking the official start point of the River Ayr Way. If you have time, I can recommend exploring the woods here and the path which heads down to the banks of Glenbuck Loch where there is a bird hide and information centre.

If you are parked at the Glenbuck Heritage Village, retrace your steps to the cottage/gates with the private property signs (18) and turn right (North) onto the road.

Follow this road uphill for approx half a mile / 700m to the car park at Glenbuck Heritage Village (A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 202 m - Unnamed minor road just off the A70 (KA18 3NG)
1 : km 0.38 - alt. 193 m - Kissing gate
2 : km 2.92 - alt. 198 m - Path veers away from River Ayr
3 : km 3.2 - alt. 210 m - Left turn onto wider track
4 : km 3.42 - alt. 213 m - Crossroads next to Upper Wellwood farm
5 : km 3.62 - alt. 223 m - Fork
6 : km 4.85 - alt. 218 m - Right turn at bottom of steps
7 : km 4.98 - alt. 225 m - Fork
8 : km 5.24 - alt. 226 m - Tibby's Brig
9 : km 5.75 - alt. 252 m - Fork - right for Cairn Table, left to miss it out
10 : km 7.26 - alt. 275 m - Left turn onto hillside trail
11 : km 9.57 - alt. 498 m - Main "tourist" path to the summit
12 : km 10.25 - alt. 585 m - Cairn Table summit
13 : km 14.07 - alt. 232 m - Right turn at end of Walkers Car Park, Kames
14 : km 14.36 - alt. 239 m - Fork
15 : km 15.36 - alt. 231 m - Left turn onto minor road
16 : km 15.64 - alt. 233 m - River Ayr Way wooden marker post
17 : km 20.36 - alt. 251 m - Kissing gate at A70
18 : km 20.92 - alt. 266 m - Right turn towards gate and cottage
19 : km 21.16 - alt. 270 m - Official start point info board, River Ayr Way
A : km 22.71 - alt. 280 m - Glenbuck Heritage Village (KA18 3SB)

Useful Information

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

Transport
At the start of this walk there is an unnamed road close to Nether Wellwood Farm just off the A70 (KA18 3NG) where there is space for 1 or 2 cars to park at the side of the road. Please park responsibly without blocking passing places. Near the end of the walk there is a large car park at Glenbuck Heritage Village (KA18 3SB).

Terrain
A mixture of grass and gravel tracks with a few boggy bits, especially on the hillside. The lower sections of the Cairn Table "tourist path" have a tendency to be very boggy even in the driest of weather. Some steps and kissing gates along the route.

It is possible to miss out the Cairn Table ascent which shortens the route to 9.2 miles / 14.8 km.

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

  • Tibby’s Brig
  • MacAdam’s Stone – a memorial to John Loudoun MacAdam who ran the tar works in Muirkirk in the 1800s and developed the process of laying tarmac to build roads
  • Kames Racetrack
  • The Glenbuck Sculpture
  • The River Ayr Way - one of Scotland's Great Trails and the first source to sea long distance walking route in Scotland
  • Cairn Table summit
  • Glenbuck Loch
  • Glenbuck Heritage Village

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

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