Ian's South West of Scotland Windsurfing: South Ayrshire

Troon everyone knows about Troon. The south beach works in a southerly to westerly, and the north beach works in westerly to northerly. They are near you can look at both before you decide to sail. You can sail at all states of the tide, but near high tide is best. If it goes, there will be somebody sailing. There are wind driven waves at both, with some swell. Being in the Clyde estuary there is a real sewage problem. SAS have, on their web site, a picture of dried toilet roll at Troon - charming! West of Scotland Water is now a government appointed quango and listens to know one. Chris Hines of SAS met them recently if you want to know more.

Prestwick is a few miles south ot Troon, and faces west. I've not sailed there for a long time and is does not seem to be as popular as before. A new sewage treatment plant, with dainty fantasy castle pumping stations are much in evidence, although I don't know anything about the outfall. Teltale sails - any of the mags. - is in an industrial estate nearby. There is a garden centre near the airport with a pleasant cafe.

People have been known to sail from the Heads of Ayr, south of Ayr, but you can see a sewage pumping station, observe the seagulls feeding and draw conclusions about the very evident sewage slick. I wouldn't sail here and I believe someone, not so long ago, become pretty ill after sailing here. However, Greenan castle standing on a headland nearby is worth climbing to. Oh, and Butlins Wonder West World (or something like that) is just along the road to the south.

Croy Bay is about 10 miles south of Ayr, very near the 'Electric Brae' and in full view of Culzean Castle a mile or two to the south. Follow the A719 from Ayr south and you will see a sign down a small track to Croy a mile or two south of Dunure.
You can sail at any state of the tide in a SW to N wind. There are some waves and a pleasant mile or two of sandy beach. There are two caravan sites right on the beach, but otherwise no facilities. Park right on the sand but watch you don't get stuck! Very popular on sunny summer days. No major sewage outfalls, but there are two big caravan sites so there must be septic tank outflows. Culzean castle is well worth a visit. It is a National Trust for Scotland Adam structure with a fun mock ruined entrance bridge, and huge & beautiful gardens. Pleasant cafe.

Girvan is about 20 miles south of Ayr on A77, is a very pleasant place to sail with recently a new sewage LSO, so it is better than it used to be. These is plenty of cheap accommodation & hotels.
You can sail in anything from SSW to N wind. Its no use if it's offshore because it is has hills all round. Launch from the beech car park S of Girvan on A77, where there is a nice little refreshment booth with sandwiches & coffee. Keep S of the houses on the sea front, because of boulders that you can't see (but can feel!) at high tide. There are no problems at high tide, but as the tide goes out there are some smaller boulders, so get off you board early as you come in. Also watch for a couple of old, now unused, sewage outfalls.
As you get out it can get a bit windier. But generally there are pleasantly sized waves that don't dump much and further out some swell that you can ride in on.
There is a caravan site a few hundred metres to S on A77.

Turnberry, at junction of A719 and A77, 5 miles north of Girvan, right beside the very upmarket hotel, with a landing strip & very fine coastal golf course. You can sail here from a sandy beach at any state of the tide. I've never sailed here because car parking near the beach is a problem and I would choose Girvan. There is a very evident sewage pipe from the hotel & small village.

Ballantrae, 11 miles S of Girvan on A77. You can sail a few hundred meters N of the village - but check at low tide because there are so many large boulders and you must know where they are. There is often wonderful swell driven waves, but there are too many boulders to be practical for wave riding.
South of the village is pretty hopeless because the beach is steep shingle with horrible dumping waves. It is generally a horrible place to sail, unless on a long board in light winds.

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