The Ayrshire Coastal Path is essentially a practical ‘route’ rather than a formal laid-out path. Consequently – and especially in the south – it is primarily a route for well-equipped agile walkers, since many stretches along cliff-tops, up gullies, and over rough rocky shores are not suitable for cyclists, horses, or slip-on shoes.
Walkers: Easily accessible, 6-8 mile (10-15 km) stages, are ideal for young families, youth groups, and veteran day-walkers. Energetic long-distance backpackers might tramp several sections in a day. Choosing their base, visitors may opt to linger for a few days to explore the surrounding countryside, and other walks such as the River Ayr Way. Or take a sail round Ailsa Craig, a trip on the Waverley from Ayr, or a ferry trip from Ardrossan across to Arran, or from Largs to Millport.
Since it has very few steep hill climbs, the ACP is less daunting than some other Long Distance Routes. And happily, the topography of the broad bights of Ayr and Irvine Bays, with their low-lying hinterland, provides an almost uninterrupted beach walk from Girvan to Largs – almost two-thirds of the entire route. Here is some Grading advice to help choose your best route.
Cyclists: The route from Ayr north to Largs can be cycled, since the National Cycle Network routes NCN7 and NCN73 run parallel with, or route-share, a good part of the Coastal Path.
Horse Riders: Many of the adjacent long sandy beaches in the middle and north sections are suitable and already used for horse riding.
Wheelchair Users: The paths through Culzean, all beach promenades, most of the NCN cycleways from Ayr to Ardrossan – and the roadside pavements from Ardrossan to Seamill, and Hunterston to Largs – are smooth enough for wheelchairs.