Completion of our Historic Auld Ayr Trail
Yet another ACP long-term aim was achieved this week, when two small squads of Pathminders spent several hours completing all the signage for our Historic Auld Ayr Trail – in good time for the 2023 walking season.
While all previous Guide Books suggested that visiting walkers should explore a short but interesting designated route through the historic parts of Auld Ayr; because there was no signage, we quickly came to realise that on reaching South Harbour Street, most walkers simply crossed the New Bridge and headed north out of Ayr without ever actually experiencing the Auld Toun itself, with its coffee shops, eating places, and historic buildings.
So last Autumn we highlighted this fact to South Ayrshire Council’s ‘Destination South Ayrshire” and with a much-appreciated grant of £500 from DSA to purchase 17 signs from Owen Kerr Signs, and cooperation from Ayrshire Roads Alliance to identify where appropriate to site them, we finally found a window of opportunity to get the job done – arousing public curiosity as to what those men up ladders were actually doing.
And the interest was encouragingly positive – with one lady about to open a small art gallery near the Auld Brig seeing possibilities for business, and likewise the customers of a coffee shop in River Street. We are sure that many other small businesses in Auld Ayr would similarly welcome new passing trade from walking groups keen to have a wee rest, a coffee and snack, before they ‘hoy on’.
But South Ayrshire Council, having done such a good job recently of improving the riverside ambience opposite the Town Hall, will now have to turn their attention very soon to restoring and upgrading the Blackfriars Walk riverside path from the Auld Kirk down to the Auld Brig.
A pleasant and enjoyable walk, constructed forty years ago when the new Marks & Spencer store was built, it has received no attention or maintenance since, and is showing the ravages of time – with marked undulating subsidence of the ornamental brick paving, rusted and badly-corroded metal railings, and dangerous missing slabs on the steps leading up to the Auld Brig itself. Not to mention multiple other unpleasant “trip hazards” from copious dog poo.
Come on SAC, you’ve made a fair start, and we are delighted with your support, but we all want to give our visitors – and oor ain folk – a fascinating historical riverfront experience that they will remember for all the right reasons.