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Passage from Girvan to Dunure
Leaving Girvan is not without its excitement at times. Depending on tide wind and the state of the
River , there can be a considerable standing wave at the bar, which needs some effort to pull
through.
Once out there are magnificent views all around, including the Craig.
Moving north on the shore are the famous Ayrshire Tattie Fields, for new potatoes. If the flesh is
weak and tummies are empty excellent sustenance can be had at Dowhill tearoom. New spuds
and complementary spring onions are an excellent treat, but don’t start the BBQ in the boat.
Approaching Turnberry from the south the key feature is the Light House (Stevenson 1873). To
seaward a large perch marks both the Bristo rocks and a now disused approach to the war-time
runways of Turnberry aerodrome.
A French yacth tried to pass to the east of the light only to wash up on the edge of the famous
golf course. This was pre Trump and so no green fees were incurred.
Rounding the Light one sees Turnberry Castle , birth place of Robert the Bruce. There is a landing
place but should only be attempted in calm seas.
You are now progressing past the Champion Courses. A few years ago , during a very boring
Ladies Open, Carrick Maid photo-bombed and was seen worldwide. Poor old Peter Allis was so
confused that he complained of the skiffs slow progress. We had in fact returned with a new crew.
Just before you draw level with Maidens you pass Port Murray. There can very faintly be seen the
remnants of the first Ailsa Shipyard. Founded by the 3rd Marquis , a variety of ships were built,
including some early Fyfes. The MArquis himself built a private yacht which was reputed to of
similar size to the Waverley. A locally produced DVD tells the full story.
To enter Maidens Harbour you need to pass on past the Harbour wall and outlaying rocks . he
Harbour dries out and entry is not possible for a couple pf hours either side of low water. If
passing please call in and visit our Boathouse . Toilets and showers are available. Very shortly a
new Bistro is opening as well as a very good restaurant – “ Wildings”.
Maidenhead Bay is usually very sheltered except from NW winds and is lovely for gentle rowing or
even a swim. The Keown Rocks in the middle lie in a straight line from the outer Harbour wall and
the Barwhin Point. The are mostly visable or give a wash to show their position. It is possible to
land on them at very low tide, and some of our Learner Coxs’ have confirmed their position by
gently placing the keel plate on the rocks. Precission micro navigation of course!
The next section will be familiar to those of you who have taken part in the Exciseman’s Chase.
Passing Barwhey Point tou will travel beneath Culzean Country Park, passing the Dolphin House
and then under the magnificent Robert Adams master piece of Culzean Castle.
Further north the bay opens up to become Croy Shore and on the A719 behind is the Electric
Brae, the scene of a remarkable Obstacle Illusion. So called as when locals are traveling the road ,
they round a corner only to be met with a tourist bus in the middle of the road. The passengers
will all be out side watching balls water and prams (with their occupants) seemingly defying
gravity and flowing up hill. It’s no Illusion – honest.
Much of the coast all the way up from Loch Ryan is very rugged, punctured with some lovely
sandy bays. On the approach to Dunure the coastline reverts to its savage nature. If there is too
much of a westerly stand well off. Dunure harbour also dries out but there is a good slipway to
recover a skiff. There is also a shop and a lovely bar, but it is sometimes closed. Call ahead.
Hospitality in Dunure has had a mixed history. One past Laird – Black Gilbert – invited the Abbott
to diner. Unfortunately for the Abbott he was the main course aand did a couple of turns on the
spit. However Gilbert was not like Sonny Bean and once the Abbott handed over various lands,
cattle and whatever else he was reasonably requested , he was released in time for coffee and
mints.
Further north is Greenan Castle, one of the last of the volcanic outcrops and beyond that Ayr, “
wham ner a toon surpasses for honest men and bonnie lassies”

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