Start location: South Beach, Troon (NS 328 298)
End location: Dundonald (NS 365 346)
Geographical area: Arran and Ayrshire
Path Type: Smugglers' Path
Path distance: 8km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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The Smugglers' Trail starts from the South Beach car park opposite Crosbie Tower. It runs generally southwards along the Ayrshire Coastal Path until at NS334287 it turns inland following the Wrack Road. The route crosses the Royal Troon Golf Club course and then the railway line via a bridge before heading northeast across both the Southwood and Monktonhill Road to reach the site of Crosbie Church. From here the Trail turns northwards through Fullarton Estate and along the B746 to the Loans crossroads. Head northwards out of Loans along Main Street, turning right off the A759 at NS342326 in order to cross the A78 (Troon Bypass) and reach Collenan. The Trail strikes generally northeast picking up a route through ancient woodland before eventually descending to Dundonald Castle and the village of Dundonald.
Download the Smugglers' Trail leaflet, here.
This route is a promoted trail developed by local community councils with assistance from South Ayrshire Council. However, it is based upon a historic route used by smugglers. It is said that, in the eighteenth century, almost the entire population of Dundonald was in some way involved with smuggling. Although illegal, it was a well-organised business. Alcohol, tea and tobacco were shipped to Troon where small boats were kept on the beach for the purposes of unloading cargo, received by local people with up to 500 horses carrying the goods inland.
The smugglers leased land at Troon's beach from the Fullarton family. This meant they controlled the area and this gave them protection. Understandably, the revenue officers were not happy about this, so wished to station soldiers at Troon Point, but they were thwarted by the Fullartons who profited from the high rent the smugglers could pay them.
The Wrack Road is historically interestng in its own right, as it was the route used from Fullarton Estate to collect fertilising seaweed from the shore. It was also used as a coffin road from Troon to the graveyard at Crosbie church.