131. Ballantrae to Girvan

Today was going to be a shortish walk, which was a relief after two tough days walking in strong sunshine. I deliberated the pros and cons of parking in Ballantrae then begin walking to Girvan to get the bus back. Or driving to Girvan, wait for the bus to Ballantrae the walk back to Girvan. I opted to park in Ballantrae and start walking, aiming for the 12:30 bus from Girvan.

I had previously heard about Ballantrae on  three instances, from the book by R.L. Stevenson “The Master of Ballantrae”, which really did not feature Ballantrae in it at all; the gruesome undertakings of Sawney Beane et al ; and from  my Geology student days re:The Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex.

Looking towards Bennane Head from the beach at Ballantrae
What used to be the A77

I started walking at 6:45 and immediately popped into the local co-op to buy a couple of sausage and bacon rolls, which I munched away on as I walked out of the village. The footpath stopped at the edge of the village and so I transferred to the beach, which was quite firm in places. Eventually, I came to higher ground known as  Bennane Head,  where the A77 & ACP detours inland and uphill. I could see the old coast road was still well intact and would be the better option. Barbed wire had been strung across the top of on gates which ran across the old road. Most of the barbed wire had been removed and quite rightly so! The old road was effectively a large cattle pen and also acted as a large dumping ground for animal waste. I rejoined the main A77, above Sawney Beanes Cave, which I did not see. I walked on the grass verge, which was quite wide and closely mown. The road dropped down past a caravan park and then into Lendalfoot on a good footpath.

Varyag monument

In Lendalfoot I visit the memorial to the Russian Destroyer – The Varyag, which ran aground here in 1920. The ship had an interesting  history, which would take about a page of narrative to complete! A huge bronze sculpture, which commemorates the ship and its crew, sits just off the main road amongst a host of information signs written in Cryllic. The one information board written in English, read as though it was written by the Politburo.The memorial was attended by senior officers of the Russian navy when it was unveiled and is held in high esteem in Russia.

The old coast road

I continue on a footpath running alongside the A77. When the footpath stops a mile further on I transfer myself down onto to the beach and continue onto Pinbain Bridge. Here I cross the main road, walk through the old quarry and climb steeply up onto the old coast road. Although, effectively a green lane, once the steep bit is over the road is a delight to walk along. I continue to above Kennedy’d Pass where a mobile mast and the ruined house of Kilranny stand. I have a beautiful view down towards the A77 snaking its way into Girvan.

Looking towards Girvan above Kennedys Pass

I hunker down for almost hour in this spot, because I would be far to early to catch my 12:30 bus and too late to the 10:30. I use my small binoculars to survey Girvan and the road leading to it. I decide to wait till I can see the 10:30 bus coming from Girvan before I continue my journey. I have become very comfortable in this grassy high perch. On seeing the bus I descend towards the A77 and continue along the ACP in an adjacent field. The path emerges onto the A77 at Ardwell and here I simply cross the road and move onto shoreline which offers easy walking.

Girvan harbour

I cross over some brilliantly folded rock strata, which this area is famous for. I rejoin the road which now has a footpath all the way into town. I stop for a cup of tea and ‘toastie’ as I pass a refreshment hut at the car park as you come into the town. I walk along the sea front towards the small harbour. The short has taken a very leisurely 5.5 hrs.

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:


Distance today =  14 miles
Total distance =   2112 miles



2 thoughts on “131. Ballantrae to Girvan”

  1. Hi Ruth, thanks. Closer to the time, I’ll try and send you some notes about walking in Scotland. I’ve been doing it on and off for about 30 + years. I’m really glad you are getting your confidence in dealing with cattle. You will certainly need it Dumfries & Galloway, particularly on The Rhins


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