Found yet another gem and although not right on the doorstep it's close enough to start making this a regular destination for a pleasant wander. It really is a compact wee package that has just about everything.Portencross is a wee hamlet at the end of a single track road. It's on the Ayrshire Coastal Path but has a couple of things that make it quite unique.
The first is the very obvious Portencross Castle which, unlike many, has been restored and is in use. There was a party when we were there today, not a bad venue. It does get opened up to the public but we'll have to wait a few more weeks before we get the chance to see inside. I love the fact that it has a bench up on its ramparts next to the flagpole with the Saltire for you to appreciate the views over the Firth of Clyde to Arran, Bute, The Cumbraes and beyond. It also has a gorgeous way bay right next to it that when the tide is out has fantastic rock pools to go play in. Last week we were treated to the unusual sight of a couple of divers wandering into the water at this bay - very James Bond ;-)
So far we have only explored around the path that goes north towards the second thing that makes this unique, a nuclear power plant. The path is lovely and flat and it's only a couple of km but there is so much to keep you occupied. The first is obvious, the views out to Arran and Little Cumbrae are hypnotic. There is a jetty that, once you ignore the huge hole in the middle of it that gives you an airy walk onto it, makes you feel even closer to them. As you look back south you might be lucky enough to glimpse Ailsa Craig.
This little package just keeps giving. As you are walking north you can see the cliffs known as the Three Sisters but to be honest, they look even better when you are heading south. At the foot of these cliffs is yet something else that will keep you occupied, a lovely wee wood. This is probably the best time of year to appreciate this wood. The first thing that hits you as you enter it is the refreshing smell of wild garlic. It's everywhere making the place look like it has a carpet of green shag pile on steroids - stark contrast to the mostly still bare trees that remind me of The Ents from Lord of the Rings. The way that these trees manage to climb up the cliffs has me mesmerised. Craig of course couldn't resist climbing as many of these trees as possible and even got himself so comfy on one that he could have fallen asleep on it - kids!!
We also had lots of other things to look at. Spring flowers were showing face, daffodils and primrose giving the yellow contrast to the green shag pile. Let's not forget the animals. We had ladybirds, bumble bees and butterflies keeping us company as we meandered through their wood. Up above we were treated to an as yet unidentified bird of prey (ie the standard bloody big bird) causing mayhem with the gulls while the oyster catchers on the rocks squacked away.
As we wandered back to the car still in glorious sunshine feeling sorry for those on Arran which was now shrouded in cloud we wondered where the last 4 hours had gone. I have a very funny feeling that this wee section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path may just be affected by a timewarp, one which we shall continue to explore and enjoy