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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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