Thursday, 31 July 2014

Failford to Gadgirth Bridge 30 July

Holly looks on in the hope of a corner of sandwich

Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Malcolm, Peter

Looking down the river from the weir
The morning was overcast with a smir as we assembled at Failford. Undaunted we were soon on our way along this familiar part of the River Ayr Way. The path up to Peden’s pulpit was ignored as we continued down the gorge. Jackets were dispensed with before D, G & P decided to take the steps down to the lower walk beside the river, meeting up with A & M at the bench. Davie advised us to keep our waterproof trousers on as, having done this walk recently, he indicated that there were parts which were overgrown with long grass. In the event there was no need as most of the route had been strimmed in the last few days. As we reached the diversion at Daldorch Farm we met a couple who said that they were staying at the farm and that the farmer said that he had built a new bridge further up the path and that the path was passible right up to Stair. After a moment’s deliberation we decided to give it a go and continued straight on. The farmer had indeed built a new bridge and a good job he had made of it! Further on, having negotiated some wee tricky bits, we came across a lad who was cutting back the undergrowth. He had umpteen layers on, to protect him from the clegs he said, and must have been sweating buckets. His view was that to continue further was very dodgy. But we had come this far so we continued until coming across the remains of a wee landslip. This was negotiated with a lot of care and would not be recommended if the ground had been any slippier. Anyway, we made it and sat down for coffee at the weir at Stair.
Entrkine House
From here we went up the road to and turned left on to the remainder of the path up to Gadgirth Bridge, passing below Enterkine Viaduct as we went. Davie vowed to go up on the viaduct one day, if he could find a safe way to do so and Peter also showed interest. Some parts of this walk have been very wet in the past but, glad to say, underfoot conditions were good, given the recent dry spell.
As we finished lunch at the bridge, the rain came on and stayed with us until we reached Enterkine House, but, by the time we had reached the old mill house, the wet weather gear had been removed and was not to be needed again.
Coming down back in to Stair Holly turned right to go back the road she had come, but discretion being the better part of valour, we decided to turn left and take the diversion up and down to Daldorch Farm. On the way back we stayed high and were back at Failford 4h 50mins after leaving.
This had been a long walk, in much better conditions than had been forecast, and we were ready for FRT which was taken at the adjacent Failford Inn.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Dunure to Culzean 23 July

Alan, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Peter, Rex

The fine weather continued as we met at Dunure for our walk to Culzean Castle and back. This was the first time, as far as your scribe can remember, that we have walked from Dunure in a southerly direction as the ‘usual’ route starts at Maidens and ends up at Dunure.
We normally go the other way
The first part of the walk did look and feel different as we climbed the bits we normally went down and vice versa and it added a different slant to our journey. Glad to say, the path through the long grass had been strimmed and the beach was made in about 45 minutes. Coffee was called for immediately and no-one objected as the day was glorious, although the views were a bit hazy.
The tide was on its way out so there was no difficulty in reaching Culzean.  Davie was right in as much as we arrived there 2 hours after setting off.
This is what it's all about
After lunch Allan and Davie decided to set off on the return journey straight away whilst the rest went to the book shop for a browse and then for a coffee. We are glad to report that Gus bought some books, but let himself down by forgetting to purchase the necessary crayons. Maybe next time!
The view still takes some beating
The walk back along the beach was helped by the fact that the weather had become a bit overcast, but by the time we had all joined up again at the top of the path leading up from the beach, the sun was out again in all its glory.
FRT was taken at the Dunure Inn where we manoeuvred the picnic benches into the shade for our comfort. Our pleasure was only partly disrupted by some wee yappie dugs who, to give them the benefit of the doubt, were suffering in the heat. They should have taken a lead from Holly, who lay and rested in the shade after her exercise and never made a sound.
Another good day out!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Anniesland to Clydebank 16 July

Alan, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Peter, Robert

Lock aye the noo
The ugly ducklings
The forecast for the morning was not good so, as we met at Anniesland, the decision was taken to apply plan B and head off down the canal walk towards Clydebank. To begin with rain jackets were adorned but very soon these were dispensed with as, although overcast, it was warm and humid. Coffee was called for after about 50 minutes at one of the locks and before long we were under way again and by half past eleven Clydebank had been reached. Alan, Allan and Johnny decided to have a seat in the warmth outside McMonagle’s  chip boat whilst the others walked on to the Beardmore monument before returning to join up with the rest for a fish supper. Only Davie resisted the temptation and chose to eat his packed lunch, much to Holly’s disdain.
The return along the path to our cars was speedy, with only a short stop to witness a pint-sized puffer, the 'Wee Spark', negotiate a lock.
Fortunately, deep fried swans were not on the menu
Old boys and their toys
FRT was taken back at the Kings Arms in Fenwick.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lochwinnoch and beyond 9 July

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

Guess who had already left!
We were blessed with a beautiful summer’s morning as we assembled at Castle Semple Visitors Centre prior to our walk/cycle. Unfortunately the café didn’t open until 10am so, rather than hang around, we set off on our journeys.
Danger, man at work!

The walk
Castle Semple Loch was looking as glorious as we had ever seen it since, in the past, we have not been here in the best of weather and, indeed, this walk is sometimes used as a wet weather alternative. Five of us i.e. Allan, Davie, Jimmy, Johnny and Malcolm, decided to forego the bikes and walk along the cycle path in the direction of Kilbarchan. Coffee was taken at the ruins of the Collegiate Church and it was a pleasure to study it in some detail as we enjoyed the warmth of the sun.
The next deviation was to climb up the hill to the folly (the Temple on Bride Hill) and what a reward awaited us here as the views back up the loch to the south were superb, and those to the north towards Glasgow and its surrounds weren’t too shabby either.
Continuing on the footpath we were amazed and delighted at how busy it was with walkers and cyclists of all ages, abilities and body shapes – and we’re not just talking about the Ooters. A lazy lunch was taken at our ‘usual’ spot on the bridge on the outskirts of Kilbarchan where once again the world was put to rights.
One of the few occasions that the path was clear
We had arranged to meet the cyclists, whose plan it had been to go to Pollok Park, at about 2.30pm back at the Visitors Centre, but a phone call from Robert indicated that Paul’s seat, sorry, the seat of Paul’s bike, had broken and they might be late back as they sought a repair shop. In the event, the walkers were back by about 2.15 with the cyclists only a few minutes later. It appeared that Robert’s seat (no correction necessary) had broken as he got off his bike!
The area surrounding the Centre was hoaching, again good to see, and FRT beckoned. Malcolm recommended a change of venue, so it was to the Brown Bull in the main street that we headed. We’d had enough sun for the day so we avoided the beer garden and sat inside sampling the real ales, or should we call them craft beers?
A really good day out!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Some pictures from Lochwinnoch

Mediterranian or Loch Winnoch?
Castle Semple Collegiate Church

Paying reverence inside the church
The folly called The Temple on Bride Hill

Taking in the view from Bride Hill
The magnificent views from the old railway???????

Friday, 4 July 2014

Sorn to Haugh 2 July

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Malcolm, Paul, Peter, Rex, Robert

The War Memorial
The glorious sunshine of the last few days had gone leaving an overcast but warm morning as we met at Sorn Kirk. The route we took was the ‘high’ road i.e. we followed the road back towards Mauchline before cutting off to the left and making our way to the Catrine War Memorial where we took a few minutes to take in the view over Catrine and beyond. It was then down in to the town and across the river to join the River Ayr path. At this point Peter left us saying that he would see us later – but he never did.
Roy couldn't put Wayne's name on the team sheet but...
And then there were nine!
The route from here to the Howford Bridge is familiar to us and we were there in no time at all before settling down to coffee.  From there the path was followed down to the old bridge where the old road was taken up to the turn off for Ballochmyle Viaduct.  As we approached this engineering masterpiece we deviated down to the Fishers’ Tryst for a photo shoot. The viaduct is usually our lunch spot but it was too early today and we took the low path down by the river towards the Haugh. This brought back ‘happy’ memories for Paul who had had to negotiate this journey on a previous visit when the water level was much higher. The marks made by his finger nails are still visible on the rocky outcrop!
Haud yer belly in, Malcolm!
Jimmy, having spent some time researching the industrial archaeology of the area, was able to explain the tunnels and canals that were used in days gone by to supply water to power the mill at the Haugh and the sandstone cutting mill. See what we’ve been missing for the last number of weeks!
At the Haugh we turned left and continued up the road following it until we crossed the railway line and stopped for lunch just beyond. The sun was trying to break through at this point and, although the breeze was stiffening, it remained pleasantly warm.
Ryanair downgrades services from Prestwick
From here it was down to the Catrine House café and under the Howford Bridge once more before heading back to Catrine. This time the route to Sorn was past the Voes and Daldorch House School, at which point we took time to check out the works that were being done to renovate the weir system on the river, and onwards following the path back to our starting point.
The walk had taken us the best part of five hours and we were ready for FRT but, since our usual haunt at Poosie Nansie’s was closed after a motorist had mistaken it for a ‘Drive Thru’, we retreated to the Black Bull. This proved to be much more salubrious with the atmosphere being only slightly dulled by Andy’s demise at Wimbers. The banter turned to politics and became heated, to such an extent that Holly, who had been lying sleeping, woke up, looked at her master, decided she had heard it all before, and walked out of the pub. We all soon followed!
Another fine day out and, as a bonus, the walks for the next two weeks were decided i.e. Lochwinnoch and the Whangie.
The rain started as we left the pub!