Saturday, 27 February 2016

Troon to Irvine Beach Walk. Ayrshire.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
Another beach walk as the forecast at the weekend around a month ago was dull with showers inland, but a chance of seeing blue skies and sunshine at the Ayrshire coast. So it proved once again. I used to get this beach walk to myself 10 or more years ago but the internet has changed many walks where you would see an occasional beach walker or dog lover into a fashionable outing taken up by hundreds. Being a nice winters day it was a busy walk across the sands from Troon car park to Irvine via Barassie. It's a classic of its kind.
This is us heading for the massive Ballast Bank, seen here, a natural curving arm-like protection for Troon harbour that was raised and extended to form a sheltering buffer against the often fierce winter storms. Great panoramic views from this raised embankment over the harbour and the seas around. A large ship was just passing on its way towards the Firth of Clyde, heading north.
This is it here. Not close enough to read the name but a large one. If you can read the name you can look it up on Ship Finder.
The top of the Ballast Bank returning in the direction of Troon. On this walk you can visit this panoramic viewpoint then retrace your steps slightly to the bottom of the slope at Troon, cutting up into the busy main street and rows of shops to reach Barassie on the other side where you pick up another expanse of beach again ( You can park on the shore front grass in Barassie if you want a shorter walk ( 8 km one way from here to Irvine Train Station or return along the dunes path for a higher level return instead of the beach you came along.
A beautiful sunny day again with miles of sand exposed at low tide. Very popular and pleasant walk this one and my companion Alan and his faithful hound really seemed to enjoy it. Fresh air, the tang of sea breezes laced with sailors spit and flat stunning horizons The Ardeer Peninsula walk we did half a dozen posts ago is not as popular, being isolated, semi industrial in places and rather spooky, unless you are brave or have a large capable dog as a companion. It lies 10 km further north, just across the River Irvine.
Birdlife at Barassie beach. Oystercatchers, curlews and various gulls in an I.D. line up here.
Curlew, or possibly a large whimbrel. My bird book has disappeared again :o(
More beach folk making nice silhouettes. I like the LS Lowry effect here and in the top photo.
Wide Horizons.
Low tide satisfaction. Easy walking on a firm surface.
Looking back from Puff the Magic Dragon ( stone sculpture of a dragon in Magnum Centre Beach Park) in the direction of Troon. It's around a 12 km walk in total one way from Troon to Irvine train Station with loads of variety and highlights. Looks a long hike here back to Troon in this photograph. Train takes you back in two stops in under 10 minutes for a couple of quid. Around a 4 to 6 hour day at an easy pace, depending on stops.
On the way to Irvine we passed this. There is always some rubbish lying in the dunes along this stretch but with the number of large storms we have experienced this winter the problem was magnified and someone had turned it into a modern sculpture statement on our throwaway, junk addicted society.
As modern art goes this hit the nail right on the head and it was impossible to ignore as every beach walker had to pass it. Well done that artist. A Turner Prize exhibit and none so worthy. As well as junk from ships and fishing gear, numerous throwaway plastic holiday stuff left by the general public was on view. The drawback of producing items very cheaply is that they are not valued and are quickly abandoned for various reasons, (heavy rain coming on suddenly, strong wind blowing, children dropping items or throwing them into the sea)
This I can understand but the photo below I can never get my head around despite seeing it everywhere on walks.
This was the sight that greeted us walking up off the beach sands and dune system into Irvine Beach Park. A place that tourists visit and little children play in the nearby meadows of short grass. It's mainly dog poo in individual plastic bags around an overflowing small bin. I don't have a dog but if I had one, and had taken the trouble to bag its natural waste, I certainly wouldn't leaving it lying here scattered around an overflowing bin for animals or young children to discover. Instead, I'd carry it to an empty one further on as there are numerous bins around the nearby car park. This is a personal issue for me on country walks nowadays as I see it all the time now, little bags of shit hanging off branches beside paths and trails or left abandoned on the ground beside any item of street furniture, post boxes, telephone kiosks, etc...
Who do they think is going to pick it up from there? The magical shit fairy? What an advert for Scotland in 2016.
No wonder this goose was angry.Up close and personnel. Made me even more annoyed than watching " How the Rich Avoid Paying Tax." A recent TV programme highlighting the scandal of  the rich elite and how they exploit numerous loopholes in the law to avoid paying any tax on their millions while the rest of us are grabbed by the balls and squeezed hard for any pitiful earnings we might acquire. Politicians could close these tax gaps easily enough but will not do anything to hurt the well off so it's up to the "hard working tax paying" suckers on the bottom rungs to bail out the richest in society yet again. They meanwhile, use their " moral compass" to decide what level of tax they wish to contribute ... zero or maybe just a little so as not to feel too guilty when eating their 500 quid lunches. No wonder they call us "Plebs."
We deserve it.
I'm not politically motivated in the slightest and I.m also content with my lot and have never been money hungry, driven, or ambitious at any time where work is concerned as I live for weekends like most people and do not require a large income. I could keep this blog all picture postcard, light and airy but when I see or hear something that is blatantly unfair and gets me angry I will mention it. Like This. Another example of the "moral compass" perhaps. Better not use this one up in the mountains then as it seems to be faulty.

Meanwhile, in an elegant street not that far away, we wandered through a lovely part of Irvine Harbour. Well worth a visit to this regenerated waterfront which can be combined with the nearby Scottish Maritime Museum. Part of Irvine Harbour below.
This is a large estuary and usually full of geese, swans and other wildfowl. A couple of nice pubs can be found along the seafront here. Irvine Harbour was once a major Scottish port and very busy with arriving and departing boats. It's mainly small pleasure craft now and a large open car park for the shoreline, dunes, park and beach. The Magnum Centre is also nearby.
Man and his faithful horse.
The Big Idea ( now closed up and abandoned so not that important an idea seemingly.) This modern building lies across the river in the Ardeer Peninsula.
Part of the Scottish Maritime Museum, part open air machinery, part indoor historical attractions and several old boats.
After a quick visit here we caught the train back to Troon and the waiting car. Another cracking day out.

Video this week is a visual feast for the eyes. For me nothing compares to the concept of Bioshock as a potential film rather than a game. There's more exhilarating ideas, intrigue and subtlety in this excellent five minute video than Jericho,(started out with promise but petered into a soap western) The new X Files (disappointing crap) and the woeful Beowulf:Return to the Shieldlands (strictly for children under five) combined. For instance... Why is the noose so slack? What keeps him from falling past the red roses? Who is getting drowned in the fish tank? Deliberate clues to be understood. There is so much going on unsaid during this or on the edge of vision it's joyful. And a great driving song to boot. Best watched full screen. For me personally this is "Modern Art"in its truest sense.


Linda W. said...

Lovely beach walk and great photos! I thought the leftover plastic bags of dog poop was only an American thing.

Ian Johnston said...

Some really nice shots here of what looks to be a great beach walk Bob. A couple of the silhouetted figures on the beach remind me of the Anthony Gormley installation "Another Place" on the shore of the Mersey estuary. Superb Curlew image - one of my favourite birds birds with perhaps one of the most evocative wild calls :o)

Kind Regards

blueskyscotland said...

Evening Linda,
Ah, so that's where that idea came from :o) Years ago most folk didn't pick up dog poo in wild areas but when they do and a small but persistent minority leave it dangling from barbed wire fences or tied around branches( for mad reasons only they know)it makes it even worse and it's usually left at a height small inquisitive children can reach. Beats me what the reason is as nobody collects it and its just left to rot or get opened by wildlife to become an even bigger health hazard.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian,
It is a great walk when it's quiet and clean. The call of curlews is very typical of the open moors and marshlands in Renfrewshire where I spent many happy years growing up. A contender for the most haunting and desolate sounding bird call as it usually occurs in flat empty feilds or remote coastlines.

Kay G. said...

I envy you your walks but you can keep those bags of dog poo there, we have quite a few here! But mostly, the dogs go wherever they want to and that can be dangerous on our stone mountains! (They are not allowed on the walk up trail at Stone Mountain.)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
Yes, I've had dogs in the past and they can make great companions. I've noticed in the last couple of decades the rise in status dogs here. Huge hounds that are just like modern cars, over-sized and bulky. Also the number of self employed dog walkers has shot up in the last decade to the extent that many parks have taken measures that they can only walk three dogs at a time in them.

Carol said...

Love the horse statue and the 'litter sculpture'. On the subject of litter, a headmaster has just said that 'he thinks it's demeaning for his schoolchildren to have to pick up litter THEY'VE dropped'!!! :-o what a lunatic! No wonder the world is getting in a state.

On the tax front though, I have to say that if us ordinary folks had loopholes to avoid tax, many of us would - I certainly would.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Carol,
What gets me about the tax is that these folk can easily afford to pay it but choose to do everything to avoid it. The recession was caused by a culture of pure greed at the top and I know other countries around the world are far worse but it still gets me that we are tightening our collective belts and services are cut to the bone during endless austerity drives at the same time as the rich get richer. They already get huge legitimate expenses everywhere the rest of us would have to pay for yet are repeatedly caught claiming extra. Meanwhile they hammer the poorest and most vulnerable in society and try to demonize them at every opportunity as the culprits. "We are all in this together." and similar political spin gets right on my T***s as the same culture of reckless greed and irresponsibility is still there and we could easily fall down the rabbit hole again. At the moment there is a massive carve up and land grab for the remaining resources of oil,minerals, food, water,etc causing deliberate population displacement and instability and no-one seems to be giving a **** about the actual planet we live on as long as they grab their share. The richest one per cent at the moment have more than the other 99 per cent put together and it is that group that others aspire to and help to destroy our planet so I am extremely pessimistic about our future while this trend continues which is why I speak out. It is futile of course but it makes me feel slightly better as they flush our world down the toilet and strip it bare year on year conning us into buying junk we don't actually need and turning us into slaves of consumer technology that only a tiny rich minority benefit from. My religion and church is the world we live on and they are peeing all over it every day.
Rant over. See added link at bottom of post :o)