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28 Oct 2020

Enjoying Scotland’s coastline … in all weathers!

Written by Caroline Borwick, member and former Trustee of the National Trust for Scotland
A small group of people walk along a sandy beach, with two dogs running beside them. Culzean Castle can be seen on the cliff top in the background. The walkers are well wrapped up, with waterproof clothing.
Walking by Culzean | photograph: Seth Gardner
A small group of Ayrshire National Trust for Scotland members took up the challenge to Stride Out for Scotland on a distinctly damp Saturday in early October.

Our aim was to highlight the unique contribution the Trust makes to caring for, sharing and promoting so much of Scotland’s world-renowned heritage. From castles to cottages via beautiful coastline: the wide spectrum of the Trust’s portfolio is perfectly encapsulated in Ayrshire.

The contrast between the magnificent Culzean Castle and the modest white thatched cottage where Scotland’s most famous poet was born could hardly be greater. The Ayrshire Coastal Path connects these two iconic symbols of Scotland’s built and cultural heritage, with walkers able to enjoy spectacular views across the glorious coastline and its wonderful birdlife, marine life and islands including Arran and Ailsa Craig.

A hazy view of the rounded lump of Ailsa Craig, an island surrounded by calm waters. It is almost silhouetted against lines of cloud in an orangey sky.
Ailsa Craig | photograph: Seth Gardner

Our merry band decided, with very high spring tides forecast, to split and start from the two points of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Culzean Country Park.

Our RBBM gang of Chris, Nick, Bruce, Nicky and Hilary, along with dogs Pilgrim and Pickle, ventured forth to the point at Dunure Castle. Scrambling over rocks, climbing along the cliff sides, avoiding the advancing waves … they had an adventurous walk! Damp and much in need of sustenance, they made good time to Dunure. The walk was enlivened by Bruce deciding the way to sample the coast was a swim in the rapidly rising sea!

Meanwhile Seth (our expert photographer), Pattie, Joe, Emma, Luke and I, accompanied by our four-legged friends Treacle, Bonnie and Topsy, set off from Culzean. Entranced by herons, oystercatchers, terns, curlews, glorious light, Ailsa Craig ’floating’ in the rain-laden clouds and sunlight glinting off Goat Fell on Arran, we had a beautiful start to our walk. We made it to Dunure, and Joe, Emma and Treacle valiantly continued on to RBBM, enjoying ‘the wettest picnic ever’ on the way.

A close-up selfie of a man and a woman in cagoules, standing in front of a thatched cottage in the rain. They hold a very soggy dog between them.
Arriving at Burns Cottage in pretty dreich conditions!

Thank you so much to all who supported our walk, especially the wonderful members of the Ayr Country Curling Club. Together, we have raised £1,000 towards the work of the National Trust for Scotland. Caring for our natural heritage is critical; taking the time to appreciate the gifts of nature that we’ve been entrusted with is life-enhancing.

Keep walking and loving where you live.

The coronavirus pandemic has left the Trust in crisis, with the loss of a third of our essential income this year. The Save Our Scotland fundraising appeal has so far raised over £2.5 million to ensure the continued protection of the properties and cultural heritage in our care.

Walkers helped to raise vital funds for our emergency appeal by taking part in Stride Out for Scotland, which encouraged people to enjoy all landscapes in Scotland, including those that are looked after by us. Share your Stride Out for Scotland pics on social media, tagging #NTSSOS and let us know about your walk.

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