Barr Walking Routes

AS Walking

Where: Barr Village, Ayrshire
When: May 23rd 2012
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny in the high 70s
Distance: ?

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 road.

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 .

Dailly to Barr road image

I stopped at a passing place to take pics of a ravine by the road. There are one or two cars down there.

Dailly to Barr road ravine image

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.

Barr Village main street image

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.

Barr Village Cemetery image

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.

Changue car park image

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 rough trails.

Barr Hills Map image

I followed the Changue Trail out for about 1 mile until reaching Fairy Knowe, a small steep hill with steps to the top.

Fair Knowe on the Changue Trail image

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 Changue Trail.

Changue Hill from Fairy Knowe image

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 died.

Large Image.

Kirsties Cairn on the Changue Trail image

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 back.

Changue Hill road image

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 mist.

Changue Hill view to Kirsties Cairn image

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.

Changue Hill summit image

The view below is from Haggis Hill looking north to Glengap and Pinbreck hills.

Haggis Hill at Barr summit image

The east side of Haggis Hill is steep down into what is the most impressive looking valley I have seen in Ayrshire so far.

Haggis Hill valley image

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.

Haggis Hill nottheast side image

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 Hill.

Haggis Hill north side descent image

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.

Haggis Hill north side image

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.

Nick of the Balloch view uphill image

Below is a view of Haggis Hill from the Nick of the Balloch.

Haggis Hill from Nick of the Balloch image

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.

Cows on the Nick of the Balloch image

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 Straiton.

Large Image.

Nick of the Balloch from Rowantree Hill image

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 country.

Barr Trails Map and Info

Ten of the Barr Hills Hiking Photo Tour