Day 46

Muirkirk to Sorn – 12.4 miles (723.6 total)

Today’s walk followed part of the River Ayr Way. At 44 miles in length the River Ayr Way is a relatively short walk, going from the river’s source at Glenbuck to the sea at Ayr. It can be easily packaged into a long weekend (3 or 4 days). I found it very enjoyable and would recommend it. The section of it that I did today (Muirkirk to Sorn) was my favourite part of the whole walk so I was more than happy to walk it again.

River Ayr Way

My daughter, Madeleine, was my companion for the day. The day didn’t start well. I couldn’t find my pre-printed A4 maps for today’s walk anywhere in the house. These were all printed off months ago, before I actually started walking. Everything is a bit of a jumble now anyway – I’ve got paperwork, receipts, plastic bags etc. all over the house. Thank goodness Elizabeth is in control of my clothes and looking after all the domestic chores that I would normally be doing. Anyway, I decided that the printed maps weren’t essential as I had my GPS plotted with the route plus I had an Ordnance Survey map covering the walk.

After being dropped off, Madeleine and I started walking around 10.30am. from Kames, at the southern edge of the village of Muirkirk. We crossed Tibbie’s Brig then joined the River Ayr just after Martyr’s Grave.

Covenanting country

The rest of the day’s walk is best described as simply shadowing the River Ayr all the way to Sorn. It was a pleasant walk, on mostly grassy paths which are well-maintained and easy to follow. The stiles and kissing-gates are all in good condition and the bridges which cross the river itself, and its various tributaries, are also well looked after. The way-walk signs are maybe starting to fade but that’s the same everywhere.

Once again, we were walking in good conditions with a possibility of rain in the afternoon. It was as if we had the whole river to ourselves. We met no other walkers – but then, I rarely do – and the only humans we encountered were 3 men who had been strimming the grass and weeds on the path. The wildlife was as varied as I’ve seen on my travels with a wide range of birds in evidence. We saw 2 geese foraging on the river with their goslings swimming between them. In every field and on open moor there were countless ewes with their lambs, all making a dash for it as we approached.

Yes, it was a fascinating day’s walk, communing with nature without feeling like an intruder. There were one or two muddy areas but nothing too bothersome – duckboards and steps had been provided to encourage walkers. Madeleine enjoyed it, I think, apart from the time that she swallowed a flying bug. She declined my offer of a drink of water.

We finished in Sorn just after 3.30pm having managed to avoid the rain.