Scottish Industrial Railway Centre

Tucked away in rural inland Ayrshire, steam trains run along a short section of track at the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre on a few days each month over the summer period. It's the main draw of a messy, no-frills attraction on the site of a former colliery and later brickworks; remains of tumbledown industrial buildings (with lots of Keep Out! signs) overlook old engines, trucks and indoor exhibition areas. The site describes itself as a "work in progress", and it's certainly not perfect: funds are clearly limited, display sheds are rough around the edges and rust rules the roost. But it's an interesting piece of history if you can get there on one of the open days.

📌 Scottish Industrial Railway Centre★★★☆☆
Location: A713 just south-west of Waterside, G.R.: NS 442083 ///spared.third.bonfires
Open (2018): Irregular dates (mostly Sundays) between April and September - see website
Cost (2018): £7 (adults), £4 (children)


The tiny fishing village of Dunure is bypassed by the main coast road south of Ayr, so you have to make a conscious decision to seek it out. If you're not in a hurry to get somewhere else, it's worth the short detour: quiet harbour, a few rows of cottages, the Dunure Inn (with decent reviews) overlooking the bobbing boats, shingle beaches with plenty of wildlife, and a sizeable ruined castle within walking distance to the south. The Isle of Arran is well seen from here, and the views even better from the nearby high ground: our route up Brown Carrick Hill is linked below.

📌 Dunure ★★☆☆☆
Location: G.R.: NS 255160 ///whips.occur.trickles

Within walking distance

>> Dunure Castle★★☆☆☆
>> Walk: Brown Carrick Hill - caravans, crabs & castle★★★☆☆


>> Electric Brae★★☆☆☆ (2 miles away)

Walk: Brown Carrick Hill - caravans, crabs & castle

An interesting hill walk? In Ayrshire? This ascent of Brown Carrick Hill cleverly combines a grassy summit with a beguiling section of the Ayrshire coastal way, starting from the lovely fishing village of Dunure - complete with its ruined castle, harbour and the Dunure Inn (which serves food). Finding the right day requires a bit of planning - sections of the coast path are tidal - but hopefully you'll have a few minutes spare to dabble in the rock pools: crabs of all shapes and sizes guaranteed! Before all that though, you've a small hill to climb, with excellent views all the way into the Highlands from the broad summit on a clear day.

📌 Walk: Brown Carrick Hill - caravans, crabs & castle ★★★☆☆
Length: 14 km / 9 miles
Ascent: 350 metres
Main summits: Brown Carrick Hill (287 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: Ayrshire coastline; Dunure; Dunure Castle
Start / finish: Limited street parking at Dunure harbour, G.R.: NS 254160 ///image.request.lordship

Route: Car park, Dun…

Greenan Castle

Several centuries ago it must have been every family's dream to have a residence in a place like this. Greenan Castle's clifftop location makes it the ultimate defensive stronghold... until it succumbs to wave erosion, anyway. The current tower house was probably built early in the 14th century for Thomas Davidson, with his family having been given the land decades earlier by John, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles. Originally the door would have been at first floor level but later upgrades included a ground-floor entrance. The castle has lain in ruins for the last couple of centuries at least, adding drama to what is basically the southern tip of Ayr's town beach. The best views are probably from beach level (especially in morning light, and hopefully not at high tide), but you can get up close and personal by following a track along the cliffs: more info below.

📌Greenan Castle ★★☆☆☆
Location: By the coast, west side of Doonfoot, 3 miles south-west of Ayr town centre, G.…

Geilston Garden

Geilston Garden dates back over 200 years, lying at the end of an avenue of limes on the Clyde coast a few miles west of Dumbarton. The garden splits into several varied parts: an interesting kitchen garden, orchard, slightly nondescript paddock, wooded burn and - the highlight - a very colourful walled garden. These all fan out from the (private) Geilston House: owned by a succession of wealthy merchant families until 1998, when it was taken into the care of the National Trust for Scotland. A pleasant diversion for an hour or two on a summer's day.

📌Geilston Garden★★★☆☆
Location: A814, north-west side of Cardross, G.R.: NS 339784 ///bloom.pinches.elaborate
Open (2018): Daily, late March to October
Cost (2018): £7.50 (adults), £5.50 (children), free for National Trust for Scotland members