Crosshill to Ardrossan

The railway
The railway

The BBC weather centre promised this would be the best day of the week, and encouraged by the early warm sunshine we stepped out in shorts for the first time. The farmer advised us to make the most of it as the next few days would see a dip in the weather, so we were disappointed to be caught in an hour long torrential downpour on the hilly exposed road to Ayr. The road was flooded in places with diluted cowshit spilling onto the road to enhance the rustic charm.

The rain stopped as we approached the coast and cycled along the soggy seafront, calling in at a hotel to dry off and change. The lunch menu was poor so we settled for a drink and later scoffed our sandwiches on a bench. A succession of old railway lines and new paths took us through a Sustrans wonderland of golf courses, industrial estates, alongside main roads, through housing estates and finally back to the sea where it was by now hot and sunny. Our padded cycling shorts were saturated so we had to roast in leggings!

The signage failed us after crossing the railway on the edge of a large housing estate at Irvine. We tried several alternative paths in a forlorn attempt to pick up those welcome 7 signs before giving up and joining the rush hour traffic along the busy A road then mercifully turning off to Ardrossan harbour for the ferry to Arran. We arrived just as it was casting off at 18:00, and it transpired that this was the last crossing of the day. Damn! We’d have caught it had it not been for the rain and the Irvine bother – we later found out that the sign pointing over the railway bridge had been mischievously turned. No matter, we found a friendly B&B, Crescent Park House, and booked in for Saturday too, on our return from the island. It had been dry and sunny all day in Ardrossan!

We walked to a Chinese restaurant on the other side of town for dinner.

Day 5 – Ardrossan to Lochranza (44 miles)