The hill roads of South Carrick make up the ultimate road cyclist’s playground. Popularly referred to as ‘The Ayrshire Alps’, the terrain offers fantastic scenery, cycle friendly roads, and a tough cycling challenge.View The Climbs
Safety in the Park
Ride the Ayrshire Alps is a fun challenge. 16 climbs, close together, in beautiful scenery. When you have finished your ride you are going to want to come back and complete the set. Therefore you are going to want to stay upright and safe.
We’re not going to lie, these are quiet moor roads that experience harsh conditions in winter. Therefore, we cannot guarantee a smooth pothole-free passage. The climbs of the Ayrshire Alps are on public roads which experience dynamic conditions, so cyclist beware! You will also encounter the odd cattle grid (or three). More below.
Many of the climbs in the area cross open moor land and it is not unusual to zip round a bend to find Daisy the cow munching on some tasty hay, oblivious to your climbing exploits. It is also common to have a nice clear descent of the Nic O Balloch only to find Dolly the sheep teaching her kids the green cross code. Just remember; she lives here, you are just visiting, so please show some respect and caution. And if you’ve ever hit a barnyard animal by bike you’ll know just how sore it is!
Not including our animal friends, you’ll also encounter lots of other road users on your travels. Just last week we came across a dustbin lorry, a bus, a logging contractor’s van, and even a forestry commission minibus – all during one 3hr ride! We refer you to the nice people at the Department for Transport and their handy little guidance document ‘The Highway Code’. We recommend that all visitors to the park follow it to avoid any unnecessary complications that might spoil your visit.
In much of the park area the mobile signal is very poor. Those in the know will insist than you can get two bars when standing by the third pillar under the awning of the McCandlish Hall in Straiton (providing it is not raining) but otherwise it is a bit hit and miss. So long as we take sensible precautions this ‘mobile tranquility’ just adds to the joy of the park:
- Wear clothing appropriate for the weather (knowing it might change fast)
- Carry at least one spare tube and know how to carry out basic road side repair
- Just in case, always make sure you are carrying identification with an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number.
The ‘Ayrshire Alps’ are situated in South Ayrshire, nestled at the north end of the Galloway Forest Park. The area is popular with road cyclists for the abundance of hill climbs nestled among a fantastic network of quiet roads and trails.The South Carrick area is known for its warm welcome, and plays host to several major cycling events each year including the Graeme Obree Sportive, the David Bell Memorial and the Tour Doonhame. Many of Britain’s top professional cyclists including Mark Cavendish and Chris Boardman cut their teeth here, competing in the former Girvan 3 Day Stage Race.
The Ayrshire Alps is a concept with the aim of enriching the cycling experience in the South Carrick area through partnership working with community, tourism, local authority and enterprise. Our aim is to create Scotland’s first road cycling park, similar in ambition to the off-road trail centres found across Southern Scotland.
A network of signed hill climbs, stylishly mapped and promoted form the basis of the park. This is supported by local community and business, providing all the appropriate resources and hospitality to welcome visitors.