Muirkirk has the feeling of a remote community but is on the main route to Ayr from the M74 at Douglas. The walks illustrated on the Muirkirk map give a flavour of the industrial and social history of the area, and the dramatic beauty of the open countryside. Muirkirk is a thriving community having received an award in the Scottish Community of the Year awards for the third year running. The 1800 people of Muirkirk have more than 35 organisations catering for a wide range of interests.
For serious exploration of the area we recommend that you obtain a good quality map such as the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 328 and 327. For more energetic walkers you could detour from the Sanquhar Road Walk mentioned on the map and turn right to walk up Wardlaw Hill to the Baird monument on top.
Around Muirkirk you will find many remnants of bygone days, disused railway lines, evidence of mining, cairns, standing stones and memorials. From the starting point on the map you could walk west 1.5 miles to Upper Wellwood to visit the Martyrs Grave where William Adam is buried (see History). Just over 2 miles south-west of Muirkirk just north of the A70 where it meets the disused railway is Cameron's Stane and monument. This marks the spot where Covenanter Richard Cameron fell at the Battle of Airds Moss in 1680. 3 miles east of Muirkirk on the A70 is Glenbuck. This small town was the home of Bill Shankly the football legend. It is also the source of the River Ayr.
If you want to explore along the River Ayr from its source to the sea there is a River Ayr Way running for some 66km.
Fishing is available on the River Ayr and Greenock Water. Salmon, seat trout, brown trout and grayling can be fished for in the area, click here for details of fishing locations around Muirkirk.
You can see a variety of birds from Owl to Kestrel and Golden Plover on the Cairntable Walk, John Brown's Walk, and at Tibbie's Brig.
There is a 9-hole moorland golf course at Muirkirk near the starting point for the walks.
Kames Racetrack is situated near the starting point of the walks at Furnace Road in Muirkirk. It was built by members of East Ayrshire Car Club in 1984. The track hosts rounds of the Scottish Sprint Championship, the Scottish Speed Championship and various EACC and visitor events.
Eight miles west of Muirkirk on the B743 lies the picturesque village of Sorn. This conservation village has an impressive church dating back to 1658. There is a Covenanter's Monument in the churchyard. Across the road is Sorn Bridge a steep hump-backed bridge built in 1710. The castle is even older with parts dating from the 14th century. James VI stayed here in 1598.
There are a some traditional farmhouse B&B's and local Hotels available in the area. Go to the Ayrshire and Arran Tourist Board website to search for accommodation.