Adventures of the Early Ooters

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Sorn to Ballochmyle Viaduct 5 August

Alan, Alan McQ, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Kenny R

The torrential rain of yesterday had given way to a dry, overcast morning and, with the prospect of more rain to come by the middle of the day, we wasted no time in setting off from Sorn, heading up the road and making our way down in to Catrine. Howford Bridge, our usual coffee spot, was reached just after an hour, but today we decided to press on to the Ballochmyle Viaduct and combine coffee with lunch.

Despite all the rain that had fallen, underfoot conditions had been much better than anticipated, but we decided that we would simply retrace our steps from here rather than extending the walk further. Two reasons for this: 1) Gus (good to have him back in the fold) needed back early and 2) we would try and finish before the weather turned.

Gus strode on ahead at a serious pace leaving the rest of us (still not hanging about) to make our way back into Catrine where we stopped to say ‘hello’ to Peter. It was good to see him and he was proud to show off pictures of his granddaughter.

However, as we chatted, our luck ran out and the first drops of rain began to fall, so we wished him ‘all the best’ and headed up past the voes and on to the River Ayr walk. By this time, it was teaming down, and it was to remain so until we reached the cars, absolutely drookit, at about quarter past one. It was so wet that we immediately took refuge in our vehicles, tried to dry off, and set off for home, without even saying 'cheerio' or making arrangements for next week.

Some you win, some you lose!


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Arrangements for 12th August

Since we were all desperate to get out of the monsoon conditions today after our walk, no decision was made as to where we were going next week. I suggest we meet chez moi at Darvel at 10 am for an easy road walk. This will be a trainer walk.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Muirkirk Circular 29 July

Alan, Allan, Billy, Dan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Dougie, Ian, Jimmy, Malcolm, Paul, Robert

It was decidedly ‘fresh’ as we set off for our familiar Muirkirk Circular walk (aka the Lunky Hole walk) from Kames. Tibbie’s Brig was soon behind us as we took to the old railway line and then passed Adam’s Stane (the Covenanter memorial). At this point Jimmy, who had indicated that he would not be doing the whole walk as he was still nursing his sair back, called a halt and returned to his car, whereas the rest continued to our usual coffee spot on the walkway beside the River Ayr. By this time, the temperature had risen a bit, meaning that walking conditions became very good, not too warm, not too cold. Underfoot conditions had been OK given the recent rains with only a couple of muddy stretches to negotiate.

On the boardwalk for coffee

As is our norm, we had a wee look into the big hole in the ground, now looking a bit more picturesque, before crossing the A70 and taking to the tarmac and heading for Netherwood. Lunch would normally be taken at the bridge over the Greenock Water, but today we stopped on the road between Netherwood and Burnfoot Farm and sat down with our backs to the wall, which offered us some shelter from the breeze. Davie Mc had said that this was a better option as the bridge was covered in sheep droppings, and, if your scribe’s memory is right, we have stopped at this spot before.

The problem with this resting place was getting back on your feet when it was time to go, but eventually we were on our way again down to Burnfoot Farm and then up to the remains of the old opencast. We took the high path as the lower one was flooded and, after fighting off the midges, arrived at Glasgow Road which took as down to Muirkirk and the now legendary, at least in the annals of the Ooters, Lunky Hole. Suffice it to say that Dan survived his initiation and, whilst we took a breather, half a dozen bikers arrived, drove round the car park, and then moved off.

A decision was taken to take the shortest route back to the cars, so we walked down the road noting that the Empire Bar was open and approached the Corner House with its outdoor covered drinking area. It was closed but we wondered what had happened to the barmaid with whom we had had many spirited conversations. You couldn’t write the script, but, as we passed the caravan park, who should come out to greet us as long-lost friends? Lauren, who had been helping the staff at the park, told us she had taken a one-way ticket to Vietnam and had spent the last two years there before returning to run the Coach House again. She said that if we were back down in Muirkirk we should give her a ring and she would make sure the hostelry would open early for us. Nice touch! Thanks, Lauren.

The cars were reached four hours and twenty minutes after having set off, not our fastest time for this walk, but the pace had been moderate on certain stretches, and the reckoning was about ten miles.

A good day out!

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Arrangements for 5 August

Sorn to Ballochmyle Viaduct and back
Meet at the car park adjacent to Sorn Kirk cemetery (the usual place) at 10am.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020