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Explore hidden treasures with South Ayrshire snorkel trail

Written by Fiona

June 10 2024

A new snorkelling trail has been created in South Ayrshire. The best snorkelling sites from Ballantrae to Troon on the Ayrshire coast have been compiled – by the Scottish Wildlife Trust in association with Adventure Carrick – into a useful snorkel trail leaflet.
Launched at Maidens World Ocean Day Festival on Sunday June 9, the new South Ayrshire snorkel trail shares the best places for snorkelling, such as below castles, around skerries and through ancient volcanic sea caves. The trail also features the fantastic iconic backdrop of the island of Ailsa Craig rising from the Firth of Clyde.

Snakelocks anemone. Credit: Julie-Hatcher

Snorkelling for all

The six spectacular coastal sites detail beginner and advanced snorkelling spots such as Big Isle in Lendalfoot, where high tide is the ideal time for new snorkellers to take the plunge.

Horse Rock in Girvan is an easily accessible golden sandy beach perfect for a fun family day out exploring rock pools before venturing deeper underwater.

The West Pier Beach at Maidens offers a secluded sandy cove, while Culzean Country Park has the magnificent castle as a backdrop, semi-precious stones on the beach and a network of caves punctured amont the 350 million years old volcanic cliffs.

Swathes of seaweed and seagrass near Dunure Castle in the village of Dunure offer the chance to spot juvenile fish and crustaceans.

Snakelocks and beadlet anemone along with spiny starfish make for interesting marine wildlife to find hidden amongst the kelp forest at Troon’s Ballast Bank.
Elouise Dalziel, Living Seas Policy and Engagement Officer with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “Each site featured in the South Ayrshire snorkel trail offers a different snorkelling experience, with sandy beaches for families or historic sites such as Big Isle in Lendalfoot with its memorial to a Russian warship wreck to reflect on the past.

“The diverse range of marine life to encounter is what makes snorkelling magical, along with how relaxing it is to spend time immersed underwater. 

“This trail aims to help more people realise the importance of Scotland’s seas by discovering the amazing life under Scotland’s waves.”
The project is a partnership with Adventure Carrick, based in Girvan, which offers a variety of adventure activities to individuals, families and groups in the south west of Scotland.

Adventure Carrick has been leading on the development of the South Ayrshire snorkel trail through their charity the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE). 

Several snorkel sessions were led by Adventure Carrick at the Maidens World Ocean Day Festival on June 8 to 9. The community event was dedicated to celebrating the ocean. The weekend featured a diverse array of activities designed to engage participants with the marine environment.
Chris Saunders from Adventure Carrick expressed his delight at seeing the South Ayrshire Snorkel Trail launched at such a prestigious event. He said: “The snorkel trail is a fantastic asset to the region and a wonderful way for more people to engage with the underwater world.”
See South Ayrshire snorkel trail.

View of Ailsa Craig. Credit: John Phillips.

11 snorkel trails in Scotland

The Scottish Wildlife Trust have created 11 snorkel trails covering Arran, Berwickshire, East Lothian, Lochaber, Moray Firth, North Argyll, North Harris, North West Highlands, South Fife and Torridon. Further new trails to be launched this year include the Small Isles and Orkney.  

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