Ayrshire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayrshire) is an historic county in south-west Scotland, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine. Ayrshire borders the counties of Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire to the north-east, Dumfriesshire to the south-east, and Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire to the south.

Ayrshire is characterised by lush rolling farmland and pastures; it forms part of the Southern Uplands geographic region of Scotland. The north of the county contains the main towns and bulk of the population. Southern Ayrshire shares with the Galloway counties the rugged hill country known as the Galloway Hills. These hills lie to the west of the A713 (Ayr to Castle Douglas road) and they run south from the Loch Doon area almost to the Solway Firth. To the east of this route through the hills lie the Carsphairn and Scaur Hills which lie to the south east of Dalmellington and south of New Cumnock. Ayrshire is one of the most agriculturally fertile regions of Scotland.

As well as being heavily set to agriculture, Ayrshire used to be heavily industrialised, with steel making, coal mining and, in Kilmarnock, numerous examples of production-line manufacturing, most famously Johnnie Walker whisky. In more recent history, Digital Equipment had a large manufacturing plant near Ayr from about 1976 until the company was taken over by Compaq in 1998. Some supplier companies grew up to service this site and the more distant IBM plant at Greenock in Renfrewshire. Scotland’s aviation industry has long been based in and around Prestwick and its international airport, and although aircraft manufacture ceased at the former British Aerospace plant in 1998, a significant number of aviation companies are still based on the Prestwick site. Nowadays, unemployment in the region (excluding the more rural South Ayrshire) is above the national average.

Ayrshire is also known for Ailsa Craig (the granite monolith supplying curling stones to the world), world class golf courses hosting the Open Championship numerous times and the national poet Robert Burns. Burns has a whole ‘industry’ which revolves around him and his works and, he can arguably lay claim to being the most famous of Scotsmen.

The Rivers of Ayrshire

For fishermen, the main rivers flowing to the Clyde coast are, from north to south, the following:

Smithston Water forms part of the River Doon as it flows north out of the village of Patna (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patna,_East_Ayrshire). There is a convenience store, baker and other shops in the village, which can be reached by turning left from the High Street (enroute to Carnochan Farm and our fishing) left round the grass ‘circle’, past the community centre to a right turn and following the road round to the left.

The postcode KA6 7NL in your Satnav will get you to Patna

Patna was established in 1802 by William Fullarton to provide housing for workers on the coalfields of his estate. Fullarton’s father had worked as an employee of the British East India Company, and the town is named after the city of Patna in the Bihar province of India. Patna lies between the villages of Polnessan and Waterside on the A713 between Ayr and Castle Douglas.

The village is located:

  • 10 miles (20 minutes) from Ayr
  • 44 miles (57 minutes by car) from Glasgow City Centre
  • 51 miles (1 hour 19 minutes) from Dumfries
  • 40 miles (57 minutes) from Castle Douglas
  • 85 miles (2 hours) from Carlisle

Directions to the Smithston Water:

In Patna, turn west (right coming from Ayr and left if from Castle Douglas) off the the A713 (between Castle Douglas and Ayr) and across a narrow bridge over the River Doon. Follow the Main Street until the road rises and bends left. You will see a right turn to the Cemetery and Carnochan Farm. After the right turn, the road dips down and narrows with light woodland, hazel coppice and rising, rough pasture to the left and, to the right, as you break out the trees, grassy slopes down to the River Doon (and the Top ‘A’ Beat).

You pass a grassy small lay-by on the left – a convenient parking place for fishing the Top Beat – and onward 500 metres to a Y-junction (right to Carnochan Farm and left to Shankston Farm). Take the right turn and follow the road downhill to Carnochan Farm. Through the farmyard, you leave the farmhouse on your left and follow your nose to a five-barred gate leading left into a meadow pasture. There are generally livestock in residence so please shut the gate promptly once you have passed. Follow the track – that follows the course of the river (down to your right) – for about 500 metres, until you find our Fishing Hut, set in the western corner of the field, within its own gated enclosure.


Accommodation in the area, reasonably local to the Smithston Water, can be found variously on TripAdvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g186519-East_Ayrshire_Ayrshire_Scotland-Vacations.html) and Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.co.uk) – tuned for East Ayrshire. Various websites offer further information on places of interest, visitor attractions and local amenities: