I’d rather be kayaking …

Golf stuff
Guess where we were last weekend … the photo on the right is a clue. No, it wasn’t the Crazy Golf course on Dunoon shore front. It was somewhere even more famous. Yes, Turnberry. I know that even my farthest flung readers will have heard of that.

And what, might you ask, does this have to do with kayaking? Let me explain.

Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig, or Paddy's Milestone ... and paddler

A change of scenery had been scheduled for our latest paddling excursion, away from Argyll and Bute. Well, when I say a change of scenery, the predominant feature throughout the paddle can be seen from our front window. Perhaps a change of coastline is more accurate. We were headed for South Ayrshire to spend a day against a backdrop of Ailsa Craig, aka “Paddy’s Milestone”.

We set off from the quaint little harbour of Dunure, attracting various passersby who were interested in our preparations. It could well be that the shenanigans of one of our group, involving a piece of men’s outsized swimwear apparel (the memory of which I am working hard to purge) was causing some distress amongst the locals. One of them enquired, rather hopefully I felt,  if we were paddling to Ireland. Perhaps another day. The conditions were uncharacteristically calm for this part of the coast, I am assured.  I even broke out my summer wear and was paddling in short sleeves, partly by way of experimentation (to see if I could will it to be warmer).

Dunure Castle

Dunure Castle

We passed the ruins of Dunure castle (where an abbot was roasted back in the bad old days), heading south with Dave, who used to paddle this coastline regularly. He provided interesting insights into the various features of the land and seascape as we progressed. We could see the Irish coastline to the west, as well as the coast of Kintyre, including the Mull of Kintyre. It was a very different orientation from usual for us. Our voices echoed as we passed the caves before Culzean, and soon we were at the majestic Culzean Castle, obtaining one of the best views of it possible.

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle

Castle Port Lighthouse

Castle Port Lighthouse

We continued on past the town of Maidens before reaching Castle Port lighthouse and the hallowed coastline of Turnberry Golf Course. Even I, who know virtually zero about golf, felt a sense of awe. This is the course where Very Famous Golfers golf – people like Jack Whatsisname, Tiger Thingmy, and that Tom guy. We could see the silhouettes of golfers (potentially Very Famous ones?) trundling their golf trolleys (sorry, whatever they’re called) along behind them. I saw one stop and take stock of our little group of kayakers and it occurred to me that he was quite possibly wondering what it must be like to be out on the sea instead of playing a round of golf. At that very same moment, I wondered what it would be like to be him wondering, being that I’m fairly convinced that – venerated golf course or not – we had the better deal. I sensed him sighing enviously, and I restrained myself from waving.

With a bit of skillful maneouvring, we pulled on to the rocky shore to eat lunch. An examination of our lunch spot revealed the presence of various golfing paraphernalia – an actual golf ball and several tees. Some tuts were uttered amongst our group at this inconsiderate littering of the shoreline by surely lesser skilled golfers. This was only assuaged by the realisation that the tees were made of wood and not the dreaded plastic.

The journey back

The journey back

After lunch we continued south for a short while, reaching Brest Rocks where we encountered several grey seals and a large cormorants’ nest atop the beacon (which initself resembled something out of The Wicker Man).

We retraced our paddle-strokes northwards and the clouds parted, creating interesting and photogenic skies. Eventually, we were back at Dunure and ready for the drive home.

Turnberry golfer

Forlorn golfer

We might not have had a 19th hole to visit, and there were no reflections on putts, eagles and holes-in-one in our group (although we had plenty of birdies), but out of the many ways to spend a pleasant Sunday in May, I know sea kayaking tops my list.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello Pam I am glad you had a great day on the Ayrshire coast, your photos are lovely. My friends went round Ailsa Craig that day. The land you saw to the west is the Kintyre peninsula. You can’t see Islay from Ayrshire as it is hidden by Kintyre. The “island” you saw to the SW of Kintyre is actually the Mull of Kintyre south of the low land at Campbeltown which is below the horizon when viewed from the Ayrshire coast at sea level.

  2. pamf says:

    Douglas, Thank you for this correction. My information was wrong – I should have checked the Bing 3D map (or any map)! I have amended my post to reflect your more accurate info.

    I had heard that there was a party out at Ailsa Craig. It was certainly within the bounds of possibility for us, esp in view of the conditions, had we not reached South Ayrshire by late morning. It seemed a little too late to take on such a trip. I’d love to go there one day, esp as I am rather fond of gannets 🙂

  3. Pam it is very confusing looking out at all the land masses from the Ayrshire coast! Apart from Ailsa Craig and the north of Arran it is all rather indistinct. Like you, I would have loved to go to Ailsa Craig. If there is no wind it usually takes us about 2hrs 45 mins f faiorly leisurly paddling to get out there. The bird life is simply amazing and sadly this is the first spring in years I have not made it. If you go, it is worth climbing to the top but it is worth taking a change of clothes and boots. Phil tried to climb up in his wetboots but they were too slippy and he very sensibly turned back.

    I hope you get there soon. :o)

  4. pamf says:

    Thank you, Douglas. I will post here if/when I do of course! Hope your recovery is making good progress.

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