The Outdoor Partnership will work with clubs, schools, individuals, and specialists to increase opportunities for people in Ayrshire to achieve their potential through outdoor activities, active participation, volunteering, training, and education.

Friday 8th March – Caprington Castle, Kilmarnock

Gillian’s Walks is delighted to have teamed up with The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire to offer a winter programme of guided walks, including this one on International Women’s Day!

Have you seen Caprington Castle yet? This is one of my most popular routes! A beautiful walk through the wooded Estate leads us to the 14th century castle, still occupied today! From there we head out through the pretty hamlet of Earlston – the birthplace of Johnnie Walker, returning to the start via the golf course and former coal mining area land. Expect boggy woodland tracks and surfaced roads. Easy | 3.5 miles | Well-behaved dogs are welcome on a short lead.

Full price: £15.00 | Subsidised price* £8.00

*To make this event more inclusive there is the option to book a subsidised ticket. These tickets are subsidised by The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire (TOP). You can choose what you pay based on your circumstances – you won’t be asked for any proof or ID. This is entirely based on trust.

Kids go free with paying adults! Please add 1 ticket per child to your booking. Max child age is 16. Younger children are welcome as long as they are capable of walking the advertised distance at a reasonable pace. Routes are not buggy-friendly.

To Book click on this link:

North Ayrshire Divers Scuba club

" The Outdoor Partnership, Ayrshire are pleased to work with North Ayrshire Divers Scuba club to grow their club membership and promote Scuba Diving on the great Ayrshire and Scottish coast. An exhilarating sport for all which "Opens the Doors to the Outdoors, under water".
Gillian’s Guided Winter Walks with the Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire 

February the 10th – SPACES STILL AVAILABLE

Winter brings a unique kind of magic to the outdoors: imagine cosy layers , frost-kissed landscapes , and the joy of exploring it all with a group of like-minded friends.

So, grab your favourite woolly hat, and let’s start the New Year as we mean to go on, exploring some of the best walking in Ayrshire together!”

Tickets £15.00 | TOP Subsidised tickets £8.00 | Kids go free with paying adults

Tickets available through Gillians Walks.

Ayrshire Snorkel Trail

The Outdoor Partnership, Ayrshire is involved in an exciting new outdoor adventure project to create a Ayrshire Coastal Snorkel Trail. We are working with other groups and lead partner Adventure Centre for Education – ACE who are eager to develop a Ayrshire Snorkel Trail. While there are several of these trails across the country, there is currently none in the southwest of Scotland. You can find more information about snorkel trails on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website:…/snorkel-trails/.

We have identified several potential Ayrshire sites for the trail, including at Lendalfoot, Whilk Point and Whilk Isle at Lendalfoot, Horse Rocks at Girvan, Turnberry Lighthouse Point, Maidens Harbour area, Culzean, Dunure, and Ballast Bank, Troon.

Initial meetings have been held with Scottish Wildlife Trust and local partners to investigate the best and most suitable locations in Ayrshire and we aim now to start engaging with local communities. We want local groups, Community Councils, wild swimmers and bathers, divers and beach users to be involved at this early stage of planning and discuss with us your thoughts or concerns of this proposal.

Ayrshire Boat Building Project – Update February 2024

For the past two years a group of volunteers and pupils from Ayr Academy have been building two coastal rowing skiffs in an old chicken shed, finally with many hours of building, sanding and painting they are finished and they will be launched sometime in the near future. One boat has been named Selkirk Grace to celebrate our Robert Burns heritage in Ayrshire, the other boat Storm Drift.

As one project finished another one starts with the next boat building project starting in Dalmellington, linked to Doon Academy. Local volunteers and pupils are building a boat for a future Loch Doon Rowing Club. This project will run for over a year in a local shed constructing a St Ayle skiff, creating the first inland St Ayles Skiff in Ayrshire. For more information contact me. ( Pictured are two of the Dalmellington volunteers and the completed new Selkirk Grace Skiff)

The Outdoor Partnership held a great day at the River Ayr on Sunday 17th March officially opening the new River Ayr access steps and St Ayles skiff naming ceremony with Dame Katherine Grainger .   The boat has been a three-year project started in 2021 with local volunteers and pupils from Ayr Academy. A Covid project supporting mental health, social isolation and skills development. The new Ayr Skiff named” Selkirk Grace” will join the six other Ayrshire boats built over twelve years supported by The Duke Of Edinburgh`s Award programme and The Outdoor Partnership from 2020.

A second skiff which is nearing completion will be launched after the school exams are over in June.

The river Ayr access project has been five years in planning and developing from early days of Come and try session at the river offering canoeing and rowing and sculling with Scottish Rowing Association. A fantastic joint project with multiple partners. Thriving Communities – Community Learning & Development South Ayrshire Active Schools Scottish Rowing, Kyle Kayak Club. University of the West of Scotland

Look forward to future rowing & Water Sports development on the Ayr.

The Selkirk Grace Skiff will be based at South Ayrshire Council Dolphin House Outdoor Centre for young people to get on the water.

SUP Safer Course at Troon Lifeboat Station – Look out for updates regarding 2024 courses !

The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire launched the SUP safer Course at Troon Lifeboat Station earlier in the month supported by local member of Scottish Parliament Siobhan Brown. On Saturday 20th May the first class started on the river Doon.

Vincent McWhirter TOP Ayrshire Outdoor Activities Development Officer said “We had a great start to our collaboration between RNLI Troon Lifeboat, The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire and  British Canoeing: running SUP Safer workshops. This water safety initiative will run for the next four weeks delivering eight certificated training course to 64 Ayrshire paddlers thanks to funding from the Darroch Bequest. Thanks also to Craig and volunteers at Adventure Paddle Co for planning and delivering this course. The training will help increase people’s knowledge and understanding of SUP safety at sea and inland locations and hopefully reduce RNLI and emergency services call outs.”

Feedback from one of our attendees of the sup SUP Safer course – “The instructors were excellent and provided a very fun and informative course. we got thoroughly wet & learned new ways of helping other SUPper’s get back on their boards and how to Tow them to safety. “

The Outdoor Partnership, Ayrshire are very happy to receive funding from Hillhouse Quarry and The Duke of Edinburgh`s Award along with TOP Ayrshire Adventure funding to deliver a 5-day adventure sailing Gold DofE Residential for Ayrshire DofE pupils. The June voyage will start in Inverkip in Ayrshire and sail for the next five days around the Mull of Kintyre and up the west coast of Scotland to the fantastic “Gateway to the Isles” town of Oban. Young people will explore the firth of Forth, Inner Hebrides Isle of islay, Jura and Mull before departing at Oban. Pupils will experience sailing on “Taiping” a sixty ft trans-Atlantic yacht and receive instruction in navigation, sail training, helming and teamwork. The yacht will sail in areas of natural beauty and see Scotland magnificent marine life with Bottle nose dolphins, basking sharks, whales and puffins.

Many thanks also to Ocean Sailing Scotland for a very generous charter discount along with our other funders which enables our young students to experience this great opportunity.

Inclusive Climbing Programme

The Ayrshire Barnardo’s group have had a great five weeks of climbing and bouldering development jointly funded by Above Adventure Outreach funding and TOP Ayrshire Inclusive adventure sport funding.

The group have been working on building confidence, social skills, bouldering and climbing development with expert staff instructors from Above Adventure climbing centre in Kilmarnock.

Next month they hope to move on to the newly opened climbing arena and work on using ropes and belays and climbing much much higher…

The Outdoor Partnership’s Hike and Dip – Look out for updates regarding 2024 events !

The Ayrshire Outdoor Partnership’s first Hike and Dip session was a great success.

The Outdoor Partnership has a policy of regular shared learning meetings and discussions across all areas we operate in the UK.

Since 2022, my colleague Sioned Thomas has pioneered a Hike and Swim programme in the Swansea Bay region of Wales, which I have replicated in Ayrshire. A great example of shared learning between Wales and Scotland!

The Ayrshire Hike and Dip at Irvine went extremely well! 12 of us headed out on a 3 mile coastal walk guided by Gillian’s Walks learning some fun facts about the area as we went along and getting to know each other a little bit. The views from the dragon were stunning! Following that Open Water with Elaine gave us a fantastic introduction to open water dipping, with many of us trying it out for the first time! After 20 minutes in the 14 degrees water we dried off and gathered around the firepit for a wee while afterwards, munching on melon and cake and enjoying hot drinks from our flasks whilst reminiscing about the amazing experience we’d all just shared. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning . We will be planning more of these combo events throughout the summer, hopefully trying a few different locations. So keep your eyes peeled for more details! This event was made possible by support and funding from The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire.

Health and Wellbeing – Hike and Dip with Gillian and Elaine

 “You know it’s going to be a good day when even the drive down to the car park makes you say “WOW” out loud to yourself.

The buzz everyone felt from today’s Hike & Dip event was absolutely contagious! Thank you all for being amazing sports and bringing all the energy .

Conditions were picture perfect with possibly the clearest view I’ve ever seen of Ailsa Craig and Arran. We enjoyed a peaceful walk along our beautiful coastline towards Culzean Castle, perched on its clifftop and illuminated by the sun all the way. After a very important loo stop at the visitor centre we made our way back via “secret” wild woodland tracks and trails . Open water with Elaine then took over and led us through a fantastic dip. The water was a very pleasant (actually!!) 19 degrees. If you’d been on the beach you’d have heard many MANY shrieks of laughter and cheers of support coming from us as members of the group attempted mermaid dives or handstands in the water.

“So. Much. Fun  On days like this Ayrshire really does deliver! Look out for my reel coming soon too, which includes photos sent to me by others in the group . A huge thanks to The Outdoor Partnership Ayrshire for bringing Elaine and I together to deliver these Hike & Dip events and funding subsidised tickets”.

The Ayrshire Intergenerational boat building project