Walk: A Fairlie good Glen

North Ayrshire | Fairlie | Short walk | ★★★

[Fairlie Glen upper waterfall]

A couple of miles short of the town of Largs, the railway line along the Ayrshire coast plunges into a long tunnel under the steep ground of Fairlie village. Head uphill from the tunnel entrance (there's plenty of parking and a railway station nearby) and you can follow the verdant folds of Fairlie Glen to the local castle: ruined but undergoing extensive restoration at the time of writing. Despite the ugly groundworks and scaffolding, you can see the original owners chose well when selecting a defensive site. To the north are uninterrupted views over the lower slopes of the Whatside Hills, while to the south the burn runs through a series of constricted canyons with dozens of waterfalls, preventing unwanted access from this side. Several picturesque cascades are safely visible for today's explorers without getting onto risky ground, with the most impressive, upper fall reached by a low-risk but muddy scramble up a vegetated crag.

[One of the lower waterfalls]

📌 Walk: A Fairlie good Glen ★★★
Start / finish at Fairlie railway station (customer car park and nearby street parking), Fairlie, G.R.: NS 210546 ///awoke.builder.nest

▶ 2 km / 1 mi | ▲ 80 m | ⌚ Short | Moderate
Features: Fairlie Glen waterfalls; Fairlie Castle
Terrain: Clear paths and tracks with steady ascent and some mud (boots or wellies recommended). Last section of path to final waterfall is a short but steep and slippery scramble on mud.

Route & map

Start - corner of Burnfoot Road - path along north bank of Fairlie Burn via Fairlie Castle to waterfall at G.R. NS 218547 - return by outward route

Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Sheep in fields, grey wagtails nesting on the gorge cliffs.
Weather: Hazy sunshine, about 10°C, but remnant snow patches from a couple of weeks ago.

Chronological photo guide

[Paths are muddy in a few places]

[Fairlie Burn]

[Fairlie Castle]

[Glaisdale Burn - crossed further up]

[One of the lower waterfalls]

[View back down from the confluence of Fairlie and Glaisdale burns]

[Middle section rapids]

[Waterfall in the middle section]

[View towards the Firth of Clyde]

[Sections of the route are on a good track - probably an old route over the moors to Fairlie Castle]

[Old track]

[The final approach to the waterfall is signposted but far from straightforward!]

[Waterfall]

[Final scrambly section]

[Fairlie Glen upper waterfall]

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