A wander around town

Our first walk of this New Year did not, for once, involve a long drive up into the Highlands.  Instead it started at the front door of our house in the Girdle Toll housing estate on the edge of Irvine.   Nita just had one day off work between two lots of shifts, so to go for any kind of walk was pushing it a bit.   That said however, the weather yesterday here in Irvine, was really quite fine.  Sunny dry days have been few and far between this last year and so we decided we’d better get out and make the most of it. Hence, a local walk …a very local walk….. following the route of Irvine’s New Town Trail.

River Irvine: New Town Trail

View from the Irvine New Town Trail

I’ve walked this path a couple of times over the last fifteen years and it makes for a very pleasant wander.  The route passes within a couple of hundred metres of our house, following the line of an old railway track.   As it’s a circular route around Irvine we could go either way, but decided to save the best bit …through Eglinton Country Park, till last, and so headed left along the path, following it as it wanders through trees and grass, skirting one of the housing estates.   Beyond this, it continues, picking its way through a large built up area before reaching a small river, which it then follows closely for several kilometres. This stream joins the River Irvine on the edge of the town centre, close to a new, rather over the top road bridge.

The River Irvine on the New Town Trail

The River Irvine

The River Irvine looked very tranquil yesterday with various ducks paddling around…..such a contrast to the dreadful scenes of flooding over in Perthshire, Angus and Aberdeenshire …. for once, I guess it was a case of the sunny west.  The path follows the banks of the River Irvine and  as it goes underneath the main shopping mall, we took advantage and dropped off for coffee and a sandwich in one of the cafes and then headed on our way.   The full circuit of the New Town Trail is, I think, about 12 miles long and as we started again after lunch we suddenly realised we only had a couple of hours of daylight left …..we’d been dawdling too much!  Not wanting to walk through the country park in the dark, we picked up the pace and were soon making our way past the wonderful area of wetland that lies between the River Irvine and River Garnock. It looked beautiful in the low afternoon sun  and we just had to stop and take in the scene.  Further to the west Nita said she could just make out the Isle of Arran across the Firth of Clyde …but its hills were shrouded in mist.

The River Irvine

The River Irvine …perfect for ducks!

After crossing the River Garnock by a small road bridge, the path turns and follows the banks of the river, up stream to the edge of Kilwinning.  This is a particularly nice bit of the route and the late afternoon winter colours looked great again.  At the edge of Kilwinning the path once again turns and then enters the fabulous Eglinton Country Park.  As anyone who visits the park knows, there are numerous routes criss-crossing this large area of formal parkland, woodland and rough scrub / heath land and the New Town Trail takes a particularly good line through it. It emerges on the far side to rejoin the old railway line about a mile from our starting point.  We were back in the house on the dot of four o’clock …..five hours after setting out.

Wetlands on the River Garnock near Kilwinning

Wetlands near the River Garnock

Despite being a low level path around a new town, it makes for a really enjoyable short day and reminds you just how fine the countryside is around Irvine.  It’s sometimes very easy to forget what you have on your doorstep ……this really is well worth a try if you live in the area …..it would be very good on a bicycle too.

Eglinton Country Park Castle

The formal part of Eglinton Country Park

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