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Pencil Walk at Largs 2km. Follow the Promenade southwards past the ferry terminal and the newly developed flood prevention measures to the war memorial. Follow the path over the bridge where you will see a plaque to the memory of Sir Thomas Brisbane. Follow the promenade around the park area past a jetty used by sailing clubs. This is Cairnie's Quay named after Dr John Cairnie who lived above the grass of Broomfields at Curlinghall. He devoted much of his time to sailing and curling. As founder of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1828 he established one of the first outside artificial curling rinks at Curlinghall. He also had a yacht called "Nancy", which he kept, in the winter, at the side of the house. The story is told that when the ice on his artificial rink was hard enough for curling, he used to hoist a flag on the yacht mast so his local curling friends could come along for a game. The house is now replaced with modern flats.Continue along the path following the curve of the bay. The raised path was built in 1909 with funds raised by the Largs Visitors' Club. The rocky beach area is known as the Bowen Craigs. Finally you reach Largs' famous landmark, The Pencil. This commemorates the Battle of Largs in 1263. The 70 ft high Pencil monument was completed in 1912 to a design by J.S. Kay of Newton Stewart.Continuing past the Pencil you join the road leading to the Largs Yacht Haven. Here you are likely to see windsurfers riding the waves, yachts racing or young sailors from the National Sailing Academy developing their skills in dinghies.Keep an eye out for gannets plummeting into the sea in search of a meal.The waterfront path continues behind the marina and gives a view of the many, and some substantial, craft moored here. Across the main road to Irvine is the entrance to Kelburn Country Park.As you return along the same coastal path you can watch the ferries to and from Cumbrae passing mid channel.
Greeto Bridge Walk at Largs 4km. Start the walk from either the Car Park across from Nardini's or alternatively there is a small car park at the start of the Gogo Glen path at the top of Flatt Road.Make your way up the Main Street and after the pedestrian crossing near the Railway Station turn left, past the Post Office, turn right onto Gateside Street which becomes Flatt Road. At the top of the road take the right fork to find the start of the path. Here is a small car park and a path leading down to the Gogo Water. Take this short detour to appreciate the heavily wooded Gogo Glen.From the Gogo Glen car park take the paved road through the gate up the hill. The gradient is such that you will want to pause frequently to admire the views across Largs to the Cumbraes, Bute and Arran.Climbing the grassy path to the Greeto Falls is a popular outing for Largs families but must have been an arduous path for their ancestors collecting peat for the winter. On the south side of Gogo Glen you will see the well-known landmark of Cock-ma-lane cottage below Castle Hill.The route continues from the Greeto Bridge and climbs over rough ground to the old mast giving spectacular views over the North Ayrshire hills and the Clyde Coast.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE: For the experienced walker there is an opportunity to follow the route shown by the dotted line on the map. Note that this unofficial route is not clearly marked and there is no actual path for 90% of the way. It crosses rough ground and great care must be taken. The route crosses the Gogo Water by a bridge below the falls. The walk involves a very steep descent to the bridge and a longer, equally steep climb on the other side. The walk is across rough moorland and would require good navigation skills, sensible clothing and footwear. Eventually you will reach the viewpoint above Largs at Castle Hill. Rest here for some spectacular views of the West Coast, Largs, Cumbrae, Bute and Arran. The path then drops down to the Haylie Brae car park or down the hill into Douglas Park for a return path to Largs. Click on the Douglas Park path for more details..
Douglas Park/Castle Hill walk at Largs 5km. There are various starting points for this walk depending on your ability. The main walk starts from the Largs promenade as you follow the path of Pencil Walk (click the map for details) until you reach May Street. Take a shortcut through Anderson Park and across the main road into Douglas Park. This pleasant park of formal gardens and tennis courts belies the strenuous climb ahead. Even if you are not going all the way to the top of hill, you should pass through the gates to the upper park and make a short detour right to the Haylie Chambered Tomb (see HISTORY page). This small but ancient 3000BC Neolithic tomb was discovered in 1772 by James Wilson of Haylie when it still contained the remains of 5 people.Retrace your steps to the gate into the upper park and climb at your leisure stopping periodically to admire the views of the Clyde. Having accomplished the long flight of steps, walk south to view the surrounding hills from the indicator at the viewpoint.From the viewpoint follow the circular route north to Castle Hill. This appears as a rocky knoll on top of which are traces of an Iron Age Fort. There are signs of a ditch topped by a low rampart. Continue the circular route until you rejoin the path back to the promenade.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE: If you do not fancy the strenuous walk up from Douglas Park you can access the highest ground from the Car Park at the top of the Haylie Brae. There is a lower viewpoint which can be easily accessed at this popular picnic stop. You can also cross over the fence and make your way up the hill to the highest viewpoint mentioned earlier with its dramatic views. Click on some of the viewpoints on the map for photographs giving a flavour of this impressive location.
Knock Hill Walk at Largs 11km. From the car park at the beach across from Nardini's walk North along the seafront. Passing the RNLI lifeboat station you will see a slipway down into the water. This was used to transfer Catalina seaplanes to and from Barrfields (across the road - now Vikingar) for repair during World War II.Continue along the promenade and then follow the path by Noddsdale Water, crossing the A78 main road into Barr Crescent. Keep to the path by the burn until you reach Brisbane Glen Road. Opposite the cemetery you pass gates that once marked the entrance to the home of the Brisbane family, important landowners and benefactors to Largs.Follow the road past the houses on the right. Once in the open country look for a drive on the left which heads towards Brisbane Mains Farm, a white building below Knock Hill. Take this path which passes by Brisbane Mains and winds behind the hill. On the North side you have the option of a spirited climb to the top where you will find great views, the remains of a hill fort and a triangulation point. The other option is to take the spiral track up the hill and as you climb think of the grand ladies who would travel up by horse-drawn carriage to picnic while their husbands were shooting in the Brisbane Estate below.Rejoining the main path head West along Blackhouse Burn to the paved road near the Manor Park Hotel. Follow the Routenburn Road South again past Knock Castle (private) and stop for some great views across the Clyde. Follow the road past Routenburn Golf Course until you rejoin the A78 back to Largs. The gatehouse to Netherhall marks where Lord Kelvin the renowned scientist and mathematician once lived. Where the road crosses the Noddsdale Water head through the small park to the point with fine views and return to the town centre.
Largs is a popular seaside resort located just an hour from Glasgow on the west coast of Scotland in North Ayrshire. Largs can be accessed by bus and train, by bike on the cycle path from Ardrossan, or by car along the scenic coastal roads or over the moors from the east and down the dramatic Haylie Brae. Largs has been a resort since Roman times and for Glaswegians going 'Doon the Watter for the Fair'.