Walk 66: Troon Circular: The home of the 2016 Open

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 8 miles (12.9km)

Time to walk: Roughly 3 hours which includes sitting on the beach or a bench & taking in the scenery

Difficulty: Flat & easy walking. A mixture of hard surfaces, grass & sand, plus some water if you fancy a paddle & why wouldn’t you!

Parking: Plenty of free on-street parking

Public toilets: Lots of cafes etc within the town, but not much en route

Map of the route:

Troon

This is another of the walks we did on our recent working trip to Scotland in May 2016. We were staying in Irvine &, as the weather was superb & The Open Golf Championship was shortly to be held nearby, we thought we’d have a look to see what Troon had to offer

We knew there was a leaflet containing various walks online, but it couldn’t be downloaded. Luckily a local newsagent had one. The map above contains 5 different walks, all around 4 miles long. We combined the Royal Troon Golf Course Walk with parts of the Past & Present Circular

So what can we tell you about the seaside town of Troon?

Troon is in South Ayrshire, situated on the west coast of Scotland, about 3 miles northwest of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport. The town is also a port with freight & ferry services. The name Troon is likely to have come from a Brythonic or Pictish name cognate with Welsh trwyn (nose, cape). It’s famous for Royal Troon golf course, one of the hosts to the Open Golf Championship, which was being held there a couple of months after we visited – we’ll actually walk on the golf course on this stroll!

Troon Harbour is now a fishing port, yachting marina, seasonal passenger ferry port & a terminal for timber & containers. The shipbuilding industry at Troon Harbour ended in 2000

There’s lots to see &, on a day like this, it’s time to put the shorts on & explore so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts bang in the middle of town, outside Troon Town Hall…

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The hall was designed by James Miller & completed in 1932 & financed by the 6th Duke of Portland. This impressive hall is of Neo-Georgian design with municipal offices to the front & a concert hall at the rear

2. Facing the building, cross the road & head down the right side towards the beach & esplanade…

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…turning left at the end & passing the rather striking war memorial

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The monument contains the names from the 1st World War & a screen wall, with a bench attached, on the east side, has the 2nd World War names attached on a plaque. The memorial depicts Britannia standing on chains & holding a trident & palm. The statue was sculptured by Walter Henry Gilbert. There are a large number of names of men on this memorial who died on 12th July 1915 at Gallipoli while serving with the 1st/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers

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3. This is Troon’s South Beach & stunning it is too. The only down side is it’s directly on the flightpath into Prestwick & the planes come over extremely low

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You have a choice now…you can either walk along the esplanade, or take off your shoes & socks & walk on the beach. Guess which we did?

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4. As you walk along don’t forget to keep looking back as well as forward as there’s some great views

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On a day like this there’s no better place than Scotland’s West Coast. In the distance is the Isle of Arran

IMG_83225. You can keep walking along the beach past the golf course, but we fancied trying to get close to the clubhouse so headed back up to the esplanade…

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If you follow our route turn right at the top of the steps…

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The area along which we’re walking now is part of the Troon Sands Restoration Project which is taking steps to protect this beautiful stretch of coastline against erosion

6. The path to the clubhouse was blocked as it bent left so it was time to rejoin the beach for the next half mile of so. There’s steps down on the right…

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Continue walking parallel to the golf course. Much of the grandstands were already erected & it’s amazing how close to the beach it runs

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When you watch the 2016 Open on television & hear the planes you’ll know why. I reckon a well struck wedge wouldn’t be far off!

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7. For now though enjoy the beach…

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After about half a mile start looking for a wooden fingerpost in the dunes on the left. If it’s low tide it’s opposite a group of rocks in the sea known as Meikle Craigs

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8. Walk up to the post which indicates our route across the golf course & is a straight line, but obviously be careful as the warning notices say…

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It’s just a case of using common sense & waiting as most golfers will wave you across. Anyway this gives us a chance to have a closer look at this famous course…

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Royal Troon Golf Club was founded in 1878, initially with five holes & was granted its “Royal” accolade in 1978, during its centennial. 2016 will be the 9th time it’s hosted The Open

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The course is home to both the longest & shortest holes in Open Championship golf. Regarded as one of the top holes in the world, the par 3 8th hole (“Postage Stamp”) measures a scant 123 yards, but its diminutive green measures a mere 420 square feet. Two holes earlier, the par 5 6th (“Turnberry”) extends to a lengthy 601 yards. If you fancy one round in the weeks leading up to the competition you’ll pay £22o, or £165 if you can wait until after it

The day we were there Royal Troon was holding a special general meeting to determine whether to allow women members

9. Upon reaching the hard track, ignore it & continue in a straight line heading for the railway bridge

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Once across the bridge turn sharp left onto the cycle path heading back north towards the town alongside the train line…

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10. We’re going to stay on this cycle path for a couple of miles as it passes through more golf courses. It’s very quiet & pretty walking with the gorse glowing everywhere

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At the junction head straight across & under the bridge

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The path now becomes more enclosed with trees & hedges & the views across the gold courses are fleeting

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11. At the next junction there’s the opportunity to turn left & head back into town if you wish to cut the walk short. It’s too nice a day for that so we continue along the high stone wall…

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…to pass under another bridge & arrive at Marr College

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Built in 1935 & financed by Charles Kerr Marr, who left his vast fortune for the education of the people of Troon. It’s now a secondary school &, when we were there, was undergoing a vast building improvement programme

12. Keep on the same path north of the college, crossing Darley Golf Courses

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This is another long flat stretch, where again you need to be on the lookout for stray golf balls

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13. Finally we arrive at the end of this very long cycle path & it seems ages since we first joined it. Look out for steps leading up to the main road by the railway bridge

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On reaching the road turn left towards the sea once more & an area known as Barassie

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14. This is Troon’s North Sands which is well known for water sports such as kite surfing. It really is another stunner…

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Rather than go up the coast as above, turn left & follow the esplanade path back towards the town centre

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The earlier haze was now beginning to disappear in the late afternoon sun & the Isle of Arran was coming more into view

Just sitting & enjoying the view

Just sitting & enjoying the view – now we fancy some of that

Oh for this on your back doorstep

Oh for this on your back doorstep

15. The path comes away from the grass as it nears the town & becomes beside the road…

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Just before we left the sea wall we’re glad we turned back to have a look where we’d walked as this is a fabulous place & somewhere we’ll definitely come back to

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16. At this point we confess we’d made the ultimate walkers mistake of not taking enough water with us, but weren’t expecting such a hot day. At the roundabout cross straight over…

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So, suitably refreshed at the garage follow the road as it bends right past the yacht clubs…

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17. Time to head away from the harbour so turn left down Craig Road & at the end climb the slope…

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Just when we thought this walk couldn’t get any better look at the view from the top of the slope…we sat there for a fair bit

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18. This is an amazing way to return to the town & we defy you not to stop & sit on one of the many benches…

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Aisle Craig is now more visible

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19. Continue to the end of the grassy area & then down the slope. This picture shows how close the golf course is to the sea

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At the bottom of the hill follow the road towards the town…

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20. On a day like this why not just sit on the wall & take it all in…it’s a stunning place

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Follow the sea wall until we get back to the road down to the Town Hall again where we started our walk

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So…we turned up in this town hoping to just have a look at the impending Open Golf Championship, which we did, but we found so much more in such a beautiful area of Scotland

It’s simply stunning so….

Go Walk!