To Prestwick Airport and back




August 2011
110 km




I had used the services of Prestwick Airport a lot during the last ten years. Both as going to Norway with Ryan Air and to go to London. I have always wondered how long it would take me to cycle down there. With the discovery of some new routes, I decided to find out this summer. The weather forecast was good for the morning, but rather bad for the afternoon. I put my alarm clock on for an early morning and hoped I would get a quick return.



I felt fine when the alarm clock went off and was on my way after a short breakfast. Due to the iffy forecast (heavy rain) for the afternoon, I decided to cycle down to Prestwick over Lugton as fast as I could and find out how much I had in the tank/body when the heavy rain arrived. That was my plan. I set off over Barshaw Park and up the rather hills past the mental hospital to Barrhead. My tempo was quite high up these hills and I set off up the canyon towards Lugton. This is one of my least favorite, if not the least favorite road in this area. Long, medium boring climbs with the emphasis of just keeping the pedals going without much return. But I made very good progress to the top of this canyon and down past the golf course to Lugton.
These 25 km took me around one hour and I was pleased with myself. The road over to Dunlop started with a pretty steep hill. The road was pretty rolling up and down the three-four kilometers down to Dunlop with a small hill up to this village. The rolling terrain continued past Stewarton down to Kilmaurs too. Here, I turned off the main Lugton to Kilmarnock road and took some smaller roads over some minor climbs and along farmfields over to a small village called Crosshouse. I had memorised the layout here because I had to twist and turn in this village to get on the road to Troon. I found the roads (thank you, Google Maps) and was on my way over some hillclimbs towards Troon. I joined the Kilmarnock to Troon road and followed that rather flat road to some roundabouts and under the motorway until I was on the outskirts of Troon. This whole tour so far had taken me around two and a half hour.

The road up some gentle, but still substantial hillclimb on the A 759 to Loans was pretty scenic. I was following this road, bypassing Troon altogether to it joined up with the main A 78 where I took a small break at a small viewpoint with good views in all directions.


Looking back towards Troon and Saltcoats in the distance from this viewpoint




Looking down towards Prestwick Airport, Prestwick town and Ayr from this viewpoint

A small unmarked, but still well used B road took me down towards the Troon to Prestwick road. This road down the hill was both narrow and twisty. I was soon down at the road which took me over to the Prestwick Airport. The whole tour from Paisley to Prestwick Airport had taken me thre hours effective cycling. The train uses 40 minutes. Which is not too bad. The distance is 50 km.
After crossing the main motorway, I found the B 739 road over Monkton on the back of the airport and to this village itself. The road was OK. It turned sharply to the right in the village and I took the road past the airport parking under the A 78 motorway. The road now climbed steady up a hill with a total height gain of 100 meters in a matter of 3 km. The hill past a fishery was pretty steep in the sun. The descent down to the A 719 pretty hairy too.

The A 719 road towards Galston is both scenic and very undulating. It is a hard road on a bike in my view. I was struggling a bit here. The road has two major climbs before it went into a valley which narrowed into a river canyon with a couple of narrow bridged before it ended up on the major A 76 road. A very interesting road it is though and one I want to do again.
At the A 76 road and roundabout, I went straight through this roundabout and continued on the A 719 on the hill taking me over to Galston.


Overlooking some cows and Galston from the A 719 hillroad

I went straight through Galston and hit the big hills taking me up to Moscow again. I am really starting to get fed up with this hill now. It is a shortcut, but a rather boring one too. Moscow and this road has lost it's appeal and charm now. The dark skies above told me that problems was afoot ahead. It was not a questions of if, but rather when. I continued through Moscow and up the hills taking me to the A 77 road. I was starting to get tired too. I was glad when I hit the A 77 road, but also very tired. The tank was starting to get empty, indeed. The climb up the A 77 is gentle, but still unrelenting. This is a pretty good climb though. It is pretty steep when crossing under the motorway again. Thankfully, I was now overtaken by a mother with two kids on their bikes. I hooked up with them in the back and got a free ride over the hill towards Glasgow. The skies was very dark now. I thanked the family for the ride and decided to go for Paisley with whatever I had remaining in my tank. Which was not much. I was though overtaken by a violent hard burst of rain just outside Newton Mearns. I cycled through this village on the road towards Balgray Reservoir. The ride down the hills at Balgray Reservoir was very scary. I almost had a big crash there. I reached Barrhill again and hurried through this village in the rain. I thought I was safe when I just outside Paisley arrived at the scene of a car accident and crashed myself. Both my wheels was torn up a bit and the bike spent the next days being repaired. Thankfully, I survived this without any damage myself.


Conclusion



Another great bikeride in this area and one I will probably do again. I am getting fed up with the ride over Moscow though. But the rest is a great bikeride. It is a hard bikeride though so beware. In particular, the ride from Prestwick to Galston is both great and hard. I will recommend this tour though.