Where: Barr Village, Ayrshire
When: May 23rd 2012
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny in the high 70s
The weather forecast was sunny in the high
70s with mist over the sea, so I decided to
head from Ayr southeast inland for the clear
views around the village of Barr. The main
road to Barr is from the town of Girvan
I decided to go the Dailly village road
then take the hill road to Barr, 15 miles
southeast of Ayr, 1 mile north of Dailly. I
had crossed this road a few times years back
so knew what to expect. I took it easy going
up onto the top of the hills towards the wind
farm, as the road there is narrow with a lot
of blind corners.
After reaching the top of the hills, as
seen below, the winding road down towards
Barr has great views and many passing places.
It is a great walk, or cycle, from Barr out
to here and back, as few cars use the
There are over 30 miles of roads like this
around Barr, over the Nick of the Balloch,
and on to the Stincher Bridge. Many top
cyclists use these roads in preperation for
the David Bell cycle race on these roads in
May each year. David Bell used to refer to
this area as the Ayrshire Alps. See the Nick
of the Balloch images at the bottom of the
page for the toughest section.
Road Map .
I stopped at a passing place to take pics
of a ravine by the road. There are one or two
cars down there.
The main street in the Village of Barr has
parking and seating the full length, with a
burn and River Stinchar here that kids like
to explore. The sign here gives information
on the walking trails around the village.
From the cemetery next to the main street,
you get good views of the 1,030 feet
Auchensoul Hill. This is a popular hike from
the village with the trail well marked from
only a few hundred yards south of the
village, on the Girvan road. You can also
walk over this hill and ridge towards Girvan,
about 5 miles distance.
About half of a mile up Changue Road,
straight past the hotel, you reach a car park
at the start of the Changue Plantation
Walking Trails. There are five well marked
trails out here, through the woodland and
onto the hills.
The map below shows the walking routes by
the village of Barr. The blue and white dots
show the Tourist Trails from the village,
green and yellow dots show the good hill
trails, and the green and brown dots show the
I followed the Changue Trail out for about
1 mile until reaching Fairy Knowe, a small
steep hill with steps to the top.
Going up Fairy Know, you see Changue Hill
about 1 mile further north. There is a trail
from the top of Fairy Knowe heading south.
You can also hike north along the hills from
here to Changue Hill, but it looks tough
going. It was unbelievably warm up there, so
decided to go back down and follow the
Following the Changue Trail, I passed a
sign pointing west marked the Devils Trail.
This seemed to go through woodland and up
over a hill. About 1 mile from Fairy Knowe, I
reached Kirstie's Cairn. The story of the
Memorial Cairn is as follows:
Christopher McTaggart (Kirstie to his
friends and family) a nineteen year old
shepherd lad set out on January 11th 1913 in
a raging blizzard to care for his sheep.
Later that day he was found dying by his twin
brother David and two friends. Their efforts
to restore heat to his frozen body were in
vain. He died fifteen minutes later. With
such weather they were unable to carry his
body back. Kirstie's faithful dog "Wag"
refused to leave his master. The following
day between twenty and thirty men set out for
the Howe of Laggan to bring back the body of
their friend. At Kirstie's funeral the
Reverend John Angus charged the young men of
the village to raise a memorial to the young
shepherd and this they did by building a
cairn a few yards from the spot where he
You can follow the trail right round from
here, or go over some of the hills.
There is a road from the cairn that leads
up into the hills. If you follow the road
straight up, it takes you onto the 1,572 feet
Cairn Hill by crossing the Lead Mine Burn.
The road seen below, branches off to the left
half way up, heading north towards the 1,710
feet Changue Hill. I followed the tree line
here, then up onto Changue Hill summit. Along
the tree line is tough going in places due to
branches left from tree clearing some years
The south side of Changue Hill gives good
views down over Kirstie's Cairn, and over to
the island of Ailsa Craig. The island could
just be seen here sticking out of the sea
The top of Changue Hill has no marker, and
is covered in thick spongy stuff. There are
ten hills in this area that you can walk
round, with only short drops between them.
The highest hill on this range is to the east
of Changue Hill, the 1,854 feet Craigenreoch
Hill. The view below is from Changue Hill
looking north to Haggis Hill.
The view below is from Haggis Hill looking
north to Glengap and Pinbreck hills.
The east side of Haggis Hill is steep down
into what is the most impressive looking
valley I have seen in Ayrshire so far.
The northeast view from Haggis Hill shows
the steep climb up Glengap Hill, and the Nick
of the Balloch road running up between
Glengap and Pinbreck hills.
Going down the north side of Haggis Hill
starts off steady then gets steeper the lower
you get. There is a small cliff of about 30
feet you have to watch out for close to the
bottom, but apart from that it is a good way
down. You can see the Changue Walking Trail
on the left in the image below, left takes
you back to Kirstie's Cairn, right takes you
round to Barr the longer way. This would also
be a good way up and go back down Changue
Below is a view back at Haggis Hill north
side. If you do not fancy climbing a hill,
you should consider a walk up the valley here
as the views are incredible.
There is a gate here from where this photo
was taken, that leads back onto the Changue
Trail. I took the same trail back to the car
park, should have gone right round as it is
not that much further from here.
Heading home, I decided to take the hill
road back to Ayr over the Nick of the
Balloch, past Bells
Memorial, and up through the village of
Straiton, my favourite road in Ayrshire.
Below is a view of Haggis Hill from the
Nick of the Balloch.
Below is a view of seven cows on the Nick
of the Balloch at a passing place with the
1,811 feet Rowantree Hill in the distance.
Had to wait a while until they all squeezed
into the passing place. It is a few hundred
feet drop over the side so did not want to
scare any of them over the edge.
Below is a view down the Nick of the
Balloch from Rowantree Hill when I was hiking
round most of the hills here earlier in the
week. This road used to be known as a
smugglers road. The image below seems to show
the old cart road was probably a few hundred
feet higher up the hill, a road that would
not have had a barrier.
This is the toughest section for cycling
in the area, and there is another tough
section between here and the Stincher Bridge,
a few miles north heading for the village of
When the sun is shinning, the village of
Barr is as picturesque as any in Scotland.
The walking trail through the plantation was
more open than I thought, and most of the
road had grass between the tracks. Saw two
deer on the Changue Trail on the road back,
many sheep, and of course the seven black
cows that looked lost high up in sheep
Barr Trails Map
and Info . Ten of the Barr Hills Hiking
Photo Tour .