Friday, 27 September 2013

Dailly 25 September

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Malcolm, Rex, Robert

Robert's living room has had a makeover. He won't employ those cowboys again.

Other commitments, holidays, injuries and illness reduced the Ooters to a round half dozen as we assembled at Dailly for the walk up Barony Hill on what was to be a perfect day for walking – dry and bright, but without too much sunshine beating down on sweaty bodies.
This walk has been described before so the route needs little description. Suffice it to say we headed out of Dailly before joining the path through the woods taking us up to the road which descends past the now famous pigs with the’ Sty’ television. Not to be outdone the cattle next door had installed a ‘CooView’ box. Coffee was called for as we reached the farm on our ascent to the hill and it was here that Malcolm was pleased to pass round his Daily, or was it Dailly?, Record. This had been bought in order to read about the downfall of his team’s biggest rivals, or at least their former biggest rivals as they are now a couple of divisions apart, at the hands of lowly Morton. Robert remained unusually quiet!
What's that Christmas pudding doing in the background?
The route up to the ruins of Mackrikill Chapel was a bit muddy, but no more than that, and we made steady progress. The section beyond the ruins up to the top of the first hill was the only taxing part of the day due to the longish grass but before long we were on top and heading for the trig point on Barony Hill. Having reached the adjacent bench first, Robert was starting to unload his rucksack and have his lunch when the rest of us caught up and advised him that a better option was to lunch at our usual lunch spot down by the limekilns. ‘Oh dearie me!’ was his reply (Aye right) as we bypassed him and headed downhill, taking in the fabulous (how we are missing Davie Mc) views of the rolling Ayrshire countryside. Dalquharran Castle, or rather the ruins of it, stood out in the weak sunshine – what a pity that nobody has had the wherewithal to bring it back to life.   A leisurely lunch was had by the burn in what turned out to be the sunniest part of the day.
Stopping on the hill, Malcolm engages the handbrake!
As we set off again Robert reminded us that this walk was slightly deceiving as there was still an uphill part to do. This confirmed Allan’s views of the Ooters’ walks i.e. it’s all downhill from here except for the next wee uphill bit. This was soon overcome and after a wee rest at our usual bench place we continued down the path to the main road. Crossing over, we continued along the river bank before crossing to the other side and re-crossing again in order to return to the cars. It had taken almost five hours at a respectable and sensible pace and all agreed it had been one of the better walks recently.
FRT was taken at Willie Wastle’s in Crosshill where we treated ourselves to chips with our drinks. See us, see splashin’ oot!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Dailly Walk 25th Sept.

Here are a few images from a very pleasant, leisurely walk over Barony Hill.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Failford to Stair via Enterkine 18 September

Allan, Andy, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Paul, (Peter), Robert

     I’m leaning on a lamp-post at the corner of the street

     In case a certain little lady comes by

     Oh me, oh my, I hope the little lady comes……. Aaaaargh!!!!!!!

The decision had been made on the previous evening to travel to Failford rather than do the Cobbler. A good decision given the dodgy weather!
We were 10 minutes late in setting off from Failford whilst we completed the checklist for leaving a car unattended i.e handbrake on, leave in gear, chocks under the wheels, handbrake on, handbrake on …. i.e. doing what any sensible person was taught to do.
Some shady autumn sunshine
The seven of us made our way onto the River Ayr Path in what was to be a very changeable day – sunshine, showers, rain, cold wind- and it was one of those days where clothes and waterproofs were on, then off and so on. Robert, Paul, Gus and Davie Mc had set their own brakeneck speed and had decided to take the wee detour to Peden’s Pulpit whilst the rest, travelling at a more moderate pace, and not knowing to take the detour, continued on their merry way thinking the speedy group were still in front. After some fifteen minutes it dawned that they were not in front and logically had to be behind. So they waited, and shouted, and waited, and shouted, and it was not until Holly appeared from behind that their notion had been confirmed. Still there was no reply to the shouts until eventually they could hear a reply from far below – yes the boys had taken the low route and they were on the higher one. Having met up, a coffee brake was called for but those who know better suggested leaving it a bit longer.
Now, where did I leave that toothpick?
The fishermen along the river were having no luck as we passed by and continued up to the diversion at Daldorch from where we crossed over the field and joined the path and road down to Yett. Again coffee was not to be taken, surprising, as a packet of Brakeaways had been produced. The decision was to follow the road up to Enterkine Wood, and then down to Enterkine Mill, passing by Enterkine House and eventually meeting the main road and turning left down to a bench on the way to Gadgirth Bridge. Here, we did stop for a well-earned lunch, brunch, whatever! We ate all we had in our piece boxes before being entertained by wee Davie who gave us five minutes of brake-dancing. How he could spin on his head and eat his banana at the same time was a mystery. For his encore, he rolled down the hill and hit a lamp-post.
From here we turned left at the river, rejoining the path, and passing under the Enterkine Viaduct before continuing up towards Stair. This part of the route had seen some work done and was looking the better for it, and the only real water-logged part of the path only lasted thirty metres or so. Soon we were retracing our steps to Daldorch and beyond, before coming across a vision in the distance. Yes, it was oor Peter, who had come down to join us for FRT but, rather than wait at Failford, had decided to walk up to meet us.
Failford has the attraction of an Inn with real ales, but it would be even more attractive if it would open at times convenient to the Ooters. So it was to Poosie Nansie’s in Mauchline that we travelled. The walk had taken a tad over 5 hours, a strenuous enough day out for some!

P.S. Rumour has it that Jimmy is trading in his car for a shooting brake.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Arrangements for Wed 25th Sept.

Meet in  the middle of Dailly at 10.00 a.m. The walk will be our usual circular walk taking in the tops of the nearby hills, the lime kiln, and the river and castles on the return route.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

4 September A few points of interest on Arran

Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Paul, Rex & Robert

The northerly airstream that gave us brilliantly clear air and blue skies over the last couple of days might have given us some remarkable view today had it lasted. But it didn’t last. It went overnight to be replaced by an Atlantic system that brought heavily overcast sky, building winds and the threat of rain anytime. Indeed the forecast was for persistent rain in the early afternoon. This was a great pity for we were bound for Arran today and hoped for a great day on the high tops.
            On the ferry, interest in the high tops waned as the cloud drifted lower down the slopes and the sky thickened. But where to go to keep out of the weather? Davie Mc had a plan (Doesn’t Davie always have a plan? - Ed.) This was adopted unanimously for we had all lost interest in the high tops by this time. That’s why, just this side of half eleven, the bus dropped us off at the south end of Whiting Bay as the first spots of rain dropped.
            There were some thoughts of ignoring the light rain and hope it would go away but when it became serious, we all donned waterproofs then started off into the damp day. The path was signed for Glenashdale Falls and the Giants' Graves, two point of interest that some of us had already visited but some hadn’t. The path was flattish at first but turned steep as we turned off the main one and took the one climbing towards the Giants' Graves. The rain went off but the waterproofs didn’t, for there was still some dampness in the air. It was a hot, sweaty, zigzagging climb to the Giants' Graves, the walk only being broken by the occasional halt to pick the brambles growing in profusion alongside the path. But we made it to the flat plateau of the graves to overlook a soggy Whiting Bay though the rest of the island disappeared in the damp gloom.
The Giants' Graves turned out to be a bronze age horned valley burial mound mostly robbed out of its covering stones but the grave cist is still more or less intact. And the trees round it have been felled recently so the spectacular siting of it above the sea can be more appreciated now. And appreciate it we did, taking photos for the record. 

There is a forest road just above the graves which would take us to the head of Glen Ashdale and the falls. But did we take it? Davie Mc had a plan! We retraced the steps back down the zigzag path, ignoring the brambles this time, to the foot of the glen. Then we turned left, up the wooded glen toward the falls.
The path was flattish beside the burn and the walking was easy. But still the sweat refused to evaporate in the damp air. Then the slope turned steeper and the sweat built up inside the waterproofs. It was a rather steamy bunch of Ooters that stopped on the viewpoint overlooking Glenashdale Falls. The burn was running fairly full today and the falls were spectacular even under the gloomy sky, dropping a hundred and forty feet in two leaps into a dark, deep-looking pool at the bottom. And the rush of the water was deafening. Or was that the rain falling on cagoule hood? For once more the persistent dribble came.
‘Coffee,’ gasped a parched Rex. But Davie Mc had a plan. There is a picnic bench just over the burn above the falls, just up here a bit. (Aye, we’ve heard this one before, Davie. – Ed) This is where we went and took a well-earned break. As we sat for coffee/lunch, the rain went only to be replaced by the midges. We didn’t hang about for coffee/lunch. To escape the biting blasties we set off into the forest.
Almost immediately the path entered the forest. Except for the fringes of the glen, this is coniferous plantation, thick, dark and with no ground vegetation. And it was into this forest that we went. The path was clear and led us to another point of interest, an Iron Age fort. Despite its age and the obvious robbing out for building materials, a substantial part of it remains and we spent some time speculating on it and then reading the information board beside it to see if our speculation was correct before moving on into the forest again. One thing about these forests is that once you are in them the rest of the world disappears. And there is no interest except for the next tree which looks exactly like the previous one. There was nothing to divert the attention away from the blethers of each other. Such was our interest in our own conversation that we missed, all seven of us missed, the signpost, the large blue signpost that directed our path to the left. We went right! Half a mile later we thought we were lost. OK, we have been lost before in the forest. We know what to do. We wander around like headless chickens looking for a way out. Eventually, after wandering about for twenty minutes looking for an exit in the woods, we retraced the steps and found the sign, the large, blue sign that directed our par straight on to the forest road. YEH!!!
The forest road turned to tarmac on the steep downslope into Whiting Bay. In the village itself we stopped to eat again and for some to dispense with the waterproofs for the rain had now gone and the day looked as though it would brighten. So much for weather forecasts! Still, the dampness persisted and sweat still refused to evaporate.  But the day was yet young and we had energy enough to spare. Davie Mc had a plan.
Northward then, he directed us, on the road for Lamlash. Why was he constantly looking in every drive, every break in the hedge, every layby to his right? He was looking for a path he had last trodden some twenty-odd years ago and wasn’t quite sure where it was now. But he found it in due course and we were led along a narrow trod through the trees – real trees this time - and into a field. At the far side of the field we decanted onto another road and turned right, downhill towards the coast. Then we left the road and took to fine manicured grass between stands of whin and brambles, still leading downward, down towards Kings Cross. ‘Why is this called Kings Cross?’ asked the inquisitive one, ‘The name is obviously English and not the usual Gaelic of the island. It must be a much later name’. His answer would come in due course. Down we went then, down between the stands of whin and brambles, and down to an ancient Viking burial ground and fort. On our way we had passed a cyclist, a lady cyclist, having a break on one of the benches scattered around here. Jimmy had stopped to talk to her but caught us up before we reached the fort on Kings Cross. Apparently, according to the lady cyclist, this was where Robert Bruce was camped awaiting the signal from Turnberry that the way was clear to return to the mainland and commence his fight for the Scottish throne. This is where the King crossed hence Kings Cross. Well, we live and learn!
From Kings Cross we came down toward the beach and found ourselves coming into somebody’s garden. Just as we were about to go back, a man approached and showed us through the garden onto the beach. Many thanks to him for allowing us to do that. A gentle stroll thereafter brought us along the beach and back into Whiting Bay.

FRT was taken on the 16:40 ferry back to the mainland. Due to weather conditions this had been a short yet interesting visit to the island and some of us had been to places we hadn’t been to up till now.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Wednesday 18 Sept

Be aware of lengthy delays on Erskine Bridge. Roadworks in place for 10 months.

Hi All,
         I'll piggyback Allan's post to keep you up to speed.
Treatment was delayed AGAIN.  First treatment will now be
tomorrow 17/9/13 to 28/10/13 - every weekday ~ 10 o'clock.
Barring delays should be home 1130 - 1200.   Cancer Care (Irvine
& Troon branch) excellent! Know personally 2 of the 3 drivers so far
- I have nice friends (you guys included).  I'm still up for providing lunch
and beers if you EVER decide on a local walk(Robert)  Look forward
to seeing you ALL.   Johnny

Thursday, 5 September 2013

4,2,0 Tops Afton Glen 4 September

Alan, Allan, Andy, Davie C, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Ronnie

Top 4 from down the loch
We welcomed Gus into the brotherhood at our rendezvous at Cumnock – he looks far too fit to be an Ooter – but were disappointed to see Jimmy arrive in civvies. Not that his civvies were an issue, they were fashionable when he was demobbed, but his back had gone again and he obviously was in no state to walk. His drinking arm was unaffected though, and he was able to join us later in the day for FRT.
Fun boy 2
Journeying up to our parking spot at the waterworks in the Afton glen the weather was set fair for the 4,3,2,1,0 tops.
 (See previous reports for a descriiption of this walk).
Allan, Andy, Johnny and Malcolm decided to take a more leisurely walk round the reservoir whilst the rest set off back down the road for the main event.
Looking back from lunch spot at the head of the loch
The walk round the reservoir was reasonably uneventful although, for a while, the wind brought with it a chill. It was interesting to note that, even after a dry summer, parts of the path were still very boggy, as Malcolm found out to his cost. One question though. What’s the explanation for the parallel strips of white water running down the reservoir? For all the world, it looked like the wake of umpteen torpedoes passing down the length of the loch.
Malcolm and Andy left for home soon after arriving back at the cars as Malcolm was on camera duty in Durham later on in the day, but the other two amigos set off down the road to the cut off point for the hill walk (basically to kill time) before returning to the cars and awaiting the arrival of the rest.
Explanation please!
Alan arrived first having done two tops whilst the remainder appeared about twenty minutes later having bagged all four. A bedraggled looking Ronnie was last to report in before we could set off for FRT in the refurbished Sun Inn in Cumnock where, not only were they obliging about turning the music down so we could hear ourselves speak, but provided us with copious amounts of free nuts.
Maybe one of the 4 toppers could write a wee addendum to this blog.

A wee addendum

With Holly being on holiday and Jimmy being incapacitated, the 6 (Rex, Paul, Gus, Ronnie, Davie C, Alan) who chose the 4 Tops walk were left leaderless; but remarkably two of their number had brought maps with them, whilst others claimed to remember the route.
The long descent down the newly-tarmaced road eventually took us to the turn off for Blackcraig Farm and above the farm we stopped for coffee at our traditional resting place. Continuing our ascent, Rex pointed out how dry the track was and how on previous walks it had been very boggy.  A few steps more and we reached the bog.
The first cairn at Quintin Knowe was reached and at the wall we turned sharp right up the steep path towards  Top #1, Blackcraig Hill. We picked our away across more boggy ground, having to cross and recross a fence in search of a drier route and soon reached the trig point. The wind on the top was strong and we decided to descend into the steep valley between Blackcraig and our second top, Blacklorg. There we would have lunch. However, despite the steepness of the descent the ground was far too wet to sit on and after a couple of stumbles by Gus and Paul we  reached the valley bottom. Still searching for dry ground we were two thirds the way up Blacklorg before a halt was called on the stroke of one o’clock.
From our lunch spot it was no time at all before we reached Top #2 Blacklorg, where fences delineate the boundaries of Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Dumfriesshire (we do listen to Jimmy, sometimes).
After another sharp descent and more gentle climb we reached Top #3, Cannock Hill – but now the 6 had become 5 as Alan chose to skirt the hill and wait for us below. “I don’t need the tick” was his justification.
Below Cannick Hill, Alan decided to head back down to the reservoir, whilst the 5 survivors headed for the final top. Top #4 Craigbraneoch Hill is more rugged than the others and we picked our way up to the summit carefully. Paul and Ronnie  had become semi-detached by the time the leading group got to the top, and in true Ooter tradition, when they arrived at the top the vanguard departed.
The descent to the Afton Reservoir is steep and it was a case of each man for himself as we picked our way around boulders  and rocky outcrops. Four made it to the bottom, with Ronnie bringing up the rear. Having directed Ronnie to the steps which descended to the track, the four Four-Toppers at the front set off for the cars, where they were reunited with  the Zero-Toppers and the Two-Topper … and by Ronnie, eventually.