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New cycling film highlights the beauty of South Ayrshire

Written by Fiona

June 01 2023

A new film highlights the beauty of South Ayrshire and the efforts of a volunteer community group to give a disused railway line from Ayr to Girvan a fresh lease of life

Edinburgh-based filmmaker and author Markus Stitz has partnered with Scottish composers Lisa Busby and John Harries to make, The Culzean Way, which highlights South Ayrshire’s countryide and the efforts of a volunteer community group to revamp the disused Maidens and Dunure Light Railway from Ayr to Girvan.

The film was commissioned by South Ayrshire Paths Initiative (SAPI), a volunteer community group dedicated to the development and promotion of a network of safe and attractive walking and cycling paths and routes in the region.

It is the first step towards securing funding for the development of a safe, attractive and traffic-free all abilities walking and cycling path linking the towns of Ayr and Girvan and to encourage community health and improve tourism.

Markus said: “Giving this disused coastal railway route a new lease of life would create one of the most picturesque cycling routes in the world in my opinion.

“I didn’t know too much about South Ayrshire before I worked on this project, but spending five days in this beautiful part of Scotland inspired me to not only produce this film, but also to give South Ayrshire the ‘pole position’ in my latest book Bikepacking Scotland.”

What is the Culzean Way

The Culzean Way will be based on the track bed of the disused Maidens and Dunure Light Railway. It will co-exist with the Ayrshire Coastal Path, linking and sharing sections where appropriate.

Although there are many opportunities to get outdoors and go walking and cycling in the area, the route will address barriers and safety issues that currently exist.

South Ayrshire Paths Initiative is working with the local council, roads department, community councils and organisations such as Sustrans, Paths for All and Cycling Scotland to realise the project, which will be developed in stages over coming years.

An already existing short section of cycle path on the former railway passes through Alloway, best-known as the birthplace of Robert (Rabbie) Burns, Scotland’s greatest poet. It also provides the setting for his poem Tam o’ Shanter.

Another major landmark on the proposed route is Culzean Castle. Perched on the Ayrshire cliffs, the castle was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th century and it once also decorated the back of a £5 note issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The small coastal village of Dunure, on the route, was a filming location for Outlander.

Throughout the route, there are great views towards Ailsa Craig, the island which has long been the place where curling stones are quarried, and, in summer, it is home to 40,000 gannets.

Bill McKinlay, secretary of South Ayrshire Paths Initiative, said: “For many years I’ve looked at the curves of this old railway line sweeping along the South Ayrshire coast, with magnificent views of Arran, Ailsa Craig, Kintyre and Northern Ireland as its backdrop.

“Always viewed from the car, or while cycling, it’s long been my dream to walk and cycle the route off-road.

“So many disused railway track-beds have been repurposed as active-travel routes and this one would rival any for location and scenery.

“It will be a superb facility for people living in the area, and a boon for tourism. We’re finally getting close, with funding available, a political will to make it happen, and now this wonderful film from Markus to showcase the concept.”

See the film and also

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