Stranraer to Glenapp
The Loch Ryan Coastal Path extends from Stranraer in the south to Glenapp Church in the north, a distance of approximately 11 miles (18 km). Sections of it include steep gradients and stout footwear is recommended for the off-road sections.
At the north end the path joins the Ayrshire Coastal Path which extends for a further 100 miles (160 km) northwards to Skelmorlie.
The walk follows the beautiful coastline of Loch Ryan providing panoramic views of the loch and adjacent lands, where there are large numbers of species of birds and other wildlife such as deer, with wild flowers of varying varieties providing colour throughout the walk. All walkers using the path do so at their own risk and are expected to take responsibility for their own actions, the safety of themselves and others, the welfare of livestock and wildlife, and the avoidance of damage to crops, all in keeping with the recommendations of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Route - Stranraer to Glenapp:
The Loch Ryan Coastal Path commences at the Stranraer Tourist Information Office in Market Street, at the side of which is a plaque on top of a low wall marking the official opening on 7th August 2009 by Alex Fergusson MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. At this location there is also the first of ten information boards sited at intervals along the route.
Having left the Tourist Information Office and passed the plaque and information board the route follows eastwards and northwards adjacent to the main road to Ayr (A77) around the south end of Loch Ryan. After 1¼ miles (2 km), at a gap in the concrete wall approximately 350 metres beyond the 30 mph derestriction sign and just before a ‘P 400 yds’ sign, the first waymarker post is sited where the route leaves the main road and follows the shoreline. From this point on the route is way-marked with the arrows showing the direction of the route.
Cognizance must be taken of the signs warning of sizeable waves created by the wash from the ferries using Loch Ryan.
A food outlet is available at the Balyett parking area adjacent to the shoreline.
The route continues on the shoreline to Ryan Bay Holiday Park. At the entrance to the park the route veers to the right and again follows the footway at the side of the main road as far as the entrance to Innermessan Farm; this being directly opposite the A751 junction. Turning left the route follows the Innermessan Farm road past the farm buildings and into the fields through the first of 12 kissing gates. On each of these gates the directional arrow is fixed on the top of the gate post.
The route continues around the western edges of two large fields to a track which links the main road to the shoreline. Here the route turns left and follows the track, continuing along the shore, crossing Beoch Burn and Several Burn on stepping stones. In the event of these burns being in spate alternative routes can be followed in the direction of the roadway (A77).
On reaching the boundary of Cairnryan Ferry Terminal the route rejoins the main road footway past the marshalling yard, terminal building and car park before returning to the shoreline and following the route of the old Cairnryan Military Railway. A restaurant and B & B establishments are available within Cairnryan village.
At the entrance to the former shipbreaker’s yard and lighthouse the route again joins the main road until past the small cemetery, where it turns left before crossing the Glen Burn by way of a footbridge. Proceeding through the picnic area/lay-by where, picnic tables and toilets are available, the route then crosses the main road and climbs steeply up the road leading past Bonny Braes to Laird’s Hill. Here the route crosses a cattle grid on to a stone track which continues to climb to the top of Little Laight Hill.
Passing through two kissing gates the route follows a fence line down to a small bridge over the Galloway Burn at the boundary of Wigtownshire and South Ayrshire. Passing through a kissing gate at the corner of a wood the route veers slightly downhill where it picks up a rough grass track which contours round the slope of the hill before joining a stone track leading to a telephone mast.
The route now turns uphill before turning off left to rejoin the grass track. The route continues to meander with the grass track until it returns to the edge of the wood where it drops down to a kissing gate which leads to a deep ravine formed by the March Burn. A steep drop takes the route down to a timber walkway and bridge before rising steeply up the opposite bank to a track. Here the route turns left following the track all the way down to the main road.
On crossing the main road the route turns right along the road verge to the north end of the Loch Ryan Coastal Path and the southern end of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Walkers wishing to return to Stranraer by bus should wait at the bottom of the hill track where it is safer for a bus to stop.