Thursday, 28 August 2014

3 Sept 2014 - Walk/Cycle

0900 - 1000 :  Bank Street for bacon rolls & coffee/tea
1000 - 1300 :  A group - Walk around Eglinton estate, Kilwinning & Irvine
                        B group - Cycle where - ever!
1300 - 1530?  Lunch (soup/fresh bread) and sampling of Nythva Brews
                        comprehensive selection of fine ales.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Four Tops Glen Afton

Today's report features two individuals who should have been booked for speeding. Emerson Fitipaldi ( Paul) who arrived doing a handbrake turn in the waterworks car park with ten seconds to spare before the 10 a.m. deadline. The other fast person was David the cat Clunie who decided to burn off the old farts on the second hill of the day. We consoled ourselves with the fact that he is about 9 years younger than us. The other interesting development of the day was that Peter decided not to join the hill bound foursome and went off on his own to search for something . Peter did not tell us what he was looking for. The round of the four tops was completed in 4 hours and 42 minutes in fine walking weather, sunny with a cool breeze blowing. Pack gloves for the next outing. The hill walkers indulged in a bit of F.R.T. in Mauchline

Monday, 18 August 2014

13 August - Dun Fionn

Davie C, Davie M, Rex, Robert, Paul, Malcolm, Alan

As arranged, we gathered at Asda in Ardrossan and with the weather forecast being reasonable we opted for the trip to Arran.

Because of an exceptionally low tide, departure was delayed for 45 minutes and it wasn't until 11.30 that we landed at Brodick. Against all tradition we chose to walk to Dun Fionn from Brodick rather than start the walk from Lamlash.

The walk out to the fort took us through territory which was new to most of us, although Davie M reminisced about visits to The Shieling some 40 years ago. We soon left the tarmac and passed through Corriegills Farm before starting the climb to Dun Fionn. The wind was strong and after meeting the extended Gregson family on their way down we settled down for lunch in the lee of the Dun. Here we enjoyed the extensive views to Holy Island and beyond.

Not where's Wally, but where's Holly?

View from Dun Fion north to a misty Goat Fell

After lunch we were back on to our usual route, although the landscape on the track to the main road had been altered somewhat by a considerable amount of tree-felling.  Despite recent heavy rains the path was in good condition with few boggy bits.

the Holy Isle

Once across the main road we took the forestry track beneath Sithein and we passed a new quarry, Here the group split with Davie M, Rex and Robert charging away ahead of those who preferred a more leisurely stroll through the trees.  We met a couple cycling uphill on the trail - it didn't look easy - and we all reassembled when the leading group stopped for coffee.

As we entered Glen Cloy we reached the end of the trees and safely traversed a field of horses.  Approaching Auchrannie, Robert had the chance to perform a favourite Ooters' joke as a youngster with his grandparents approached Holly and asked him if his dog was friendly.

By now there was just enough rain to make it worthwhile putting on waterproofs but it didn't last and we made our way along the seafront to the Douglas Arms. Davie M left us at this point, intent on catching the ferry waiting at the quay. Kay needed the car. We settled down outside the Douglas and were soon rejoined by Davie who had got to the quay just in time to see the gangway being lifted.

The downside of sitting outside soon became apparent as wasps descended upon us in legions and displayed a distinct liking for Peroni. When another light shower arrived we abandoned the exterior for the comfort of the bar.  Davie C unveiled his paddle of scunner (they can't touch you for it) modelled on Foster's paddle of rebuke and it was soon put to good use.  Anyone wishing to discuss gigabytes or ironing is forewarned.

Back aboard the Caledonian Isles, Alan treated us to chips which was very generous of him. Thanks Alan.

Another good day out on Arran!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Catrine to Dumfries House via Auchinleck House and Ochiltree 6 August

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Peter, Robert

Looking up at Auchinleck Castle
Despite the forecast, the rain had cleared from Catrine as we assembled for the day’s walk. Some dared not to tempt fate and wear waterproofs whilst others thought that the glass was half-full. The latter won the day as, apart from a ten minute spell, the day improved to the extent that, before long, shirt sleeves were all that was required (well, other than trousers, boots etc).
The belvedere
From Catrine we followed the well-worn track up to the cafĂ© at Catrine House (not yet open when we arrived) and continued on towards the road leading to Auchinleck House. We deviated, as is our wont, down to the old summer house by the burn for coffee after which Peter took us, via the gorge walk, first to the remains of the old Auchinleck House and then to the even older and close-by Auchinleck Castle. It was whilst looking down into the gorge from here that we heard a noise that was first identified as perhaps an oyster catcher – where is the resident ornithologist when you need him? – but later the consensus was that it was the mating call of the lesser spotted Boab.
From here it was along the path to Auchinleck House and what a surprise awaited us! The outbuildings had been beautifully restored into a restaurant (Boswell’s), shop and meeting room. A new children’s play area had been built as well as the main road in having been re-surfaced. The whole project had been a good job well done.
Our next port of call was to be Ochiltree and as we came down the road from the big house, which we decided not to visit as we have seen it many times before, the question was which route to take i.e. continue down the road or to cut through the trees and field. It was left to Peter to decide and we took the latter route only to be baulked later on by the steepness of a gorge. Whilst those who had been here before tried to work out the correct route, an alternative way was easily found by going into the adjacent field and following the track round its edge. After a wee bit of scrambling, the path was found which took us over the old bridge into Ochiltree and lunch. By this time the weather was very pleasant indeed and it was a struggle to pick up our bags and set off again.
Walled garden
We followed the path beside the Lugar up to where you can turn left to go to the A-Frame,
but on this occasion we gave this a miss and continued on towards Dumfries House. If the changes at Auchinleck House had been a pleasant surprise, the changes in the grounds of Dumfries House were astonishing. The walled garden had been completely transformed and looked wonderful. The plants, the brickwork, the belvedere, the steps the whole shooting match showed that a lot of money had been spent and that an emphasis had been made on quality. Well worth a look!
The roof of the belvedere - to which our handymen can aspire
As we made our way to the new arboretum we took note of the people who had helped fund the changes. HRH had obviously used his influence to good effect. The trees in the arboretum were still very immature but a pagoda had been built by the Prince’s Trust and looked excellent. The inside walls were adorned with the verses of Burns. It was decided that this would make a good Ooters’ howff but might need extending if it was to accommodate Johnny’s sets of dominoes, not to mention his home brew.
Heading through the arboretum
Lizzie was here
On our way to the refurbished bridge Davie Mc met one of his friends who was working there and a good few minutes were spent blethering. From there it was up to the restaurant, noticing yet another children’s adventure play area, and on to the House itself for a photo-call. The next question was whether we take the road into Cumnock for the bus back to Catrine or to go to Auchinleck for said bus. The Auchinleck route was chosen and before too long we were outside the impressive Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre which is the base for the Ayrshire branch of Youth United, one of Prince Charles’ charities. The centre hosts some impressive accommodation (check it out using Google) and will soon feature an archery range and an indoor sports hall featuring climbing walls. This must be what we saw under construction and it looks an awesome structure. Peter then wanted to take us to see the remains of an old wartime prison camp but by this time tongues were hanging out in the warm sunshine and visions of a cold beer were beginning to haunt us, so we went straight up to the main road before turning into Auchinleck and heading for the bus stop to take us back to the cars. Our luck ran out when we saw said bus turn up towards Catrine when we were still a couple of hundred yards short. Nevertheless, a 25 minute wait for the next one was no hardship. We had been on the go for 5 hours 40 minutes and savoured the rest whilst awaiting its arrival.
Back at the cars the decision was made to go to the Black Bull at Mauchline for a much deserved FRT.
Congratulations to Peter for planning the walk and organising the weather!