Thursday, 25 September 2014

Falls of Clyde 24 September

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Kenny, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul

View point on the way up to New Lanark
Soon be time for coffee!

New Lanark
The overnight rain had given way to a bright, fresh autumn morning as we assembled at Kirkfieldbank for our walk up to the Falls of Clyde. With memories still fresh from last week, tick bites provided a source of discussion as we made the initial climb up to the Clyde Walkway. Paul assured us that Lyme Disease was not an issue as the bites causing this formed a sort of bullseye pattern. His were more like a clock face and reckoned he had been bitten by tick tocks!
The flow was a mere dribble
Anyway, there were gasps when Jimmy, leading, indicated the path to be taken. However, the general consensus was that, on this occasion, he was right and that no curtilages would be violated. The walking was pleasant and time was taken at the various view points as we made our way up to New Lanark where coffee was taken.
The view upstream from the dam
Continuing up past the power station we could not help but draw comparisons about the low level of water compared to previous encounters. It was suggested that it would be worth watching if one of our number was to go over the falls in a barrel. When Davie’s name was unanimously agreed, Johnny said that a firkin would suffice. Davie’s reply was something like, ‘I might be daft, but I’m no firkin stupid!’
Lunch was taken just after midday on the pathway at the far side of the dam before the circuit was completed and the cars were reached.
Downstream from the dam
As much of a waterfall as we could see today
FRT was taken at the Black Bull in Darvel where George was treated like a long lost son.
Another fine day out!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Whangie 17 September

Johnny, John, Paul, Malcolm, Gus, Davie Mc, Kenny, Davie C, Robert, Jimmy, Holly (fed up waiting for her picture to be taken), Allan (behind the lens)

So whit could possibly go wrangie
On the day we did the Whangie?
Did the leaders incur our wrath
When we couldnae find a path?
Did Malcolm shout out in glee
When he fell and hurt his knee?
Did the wumman get all excited
At the guests she hadnae invited?
So whit did actually go wrangie
On the day we did the Whangie?

The rear end of ...
So this is The Whangie
We were joined for today’s walk by two of Robert’s ASHA pals, John, whom  we had met before on the Glennifer Braes walk, and Kenny. Setting off from the car park at the Queen’s View, good progress was made as we gained some height following the well-defined path. The morning was warm but slightly overcast to begin with, but the views were marred by a haze making it difficult to have a good view of Dumgoyne and the Earl’s Seat in one direction and over to Loch Lomond and beyond in another.
Approaching the 'entrance'
Looking back
The going, we were told, could get wet but given the recent dry spell, underfoot conditions were good and we soon came to a point where the path forked. We took the path to the left which took us to the top of Auchineden Hill (357m) but as has been said already this viewpoint did not afford us great views today. (The path to the right would have taken us straight to The Whangie). No matter, we descended and followed a path round to the opening which marked the back of The Whangie. Climbing up, we followed the path through the chasm before emerging at what was probably the entrance. Coffee was taken in the company of two other walkers and, as we had only taken about an hour and a half to reach this point, a discussion ensued as to how to extend the walk. The walker’s guide and map that Gus had with him suggested that a route could be followed which took in a chambered cairn before heading to Burncrooks Reservoir and then following a road back to the car park. This was decided, but your correspondent decided to accompany John back to the cars.
The start
As we watched the noble nine make their way across the long grass it did strike us that there did not seem to be any defined paths to be seen.
Good luck!
Arriving back at the car park John and Allan had lunch in the now warm sunshine, sorted the world and waited,…and waited,…and waited.
At about quarter past two a car drew up and out of it emerged a limping Malcolm. The story as related was that the going had got very rough indeed with poor underfoot conditions, head high bracken, slippery slopes, snakes and tigers…you get the notion. Malcolm had tripped and fallen, aggravating an old knee injury making further progress difficult. The group did eventually, however, manage to make it to the reservoir where a fisherman took pity on Malcolm and offered him a lift back to the car park.
Debating the way forward already
The others took advice as to the best way back but soon found themselves in the curtilage of a rather annoyed woman. Now what would you do if you saw the Ooters in your garden? Would you a) invite them in for a cold beer,  b) phone the police, or c) phone round the local care homes to see if there had been an escape?  The resident, having encountered the usual diplomacy, threatened to take option b) and would not be pacified. Little did she know that the boys just wanted to get off her property and find the quickest way back to base.
Anyway it was about quarter to three that the main group arrived back at the cars, four and a half hours after having set off in the morning.

If nothing else, The Whangie had been seen and done. As for the rest, it will no doubt go down in the annals as one of the more ‘interesting’, if not to be repeated, walks. We said our goodbyes to Kenny and John as they set off towards the Paisley area and the rest of us motored to the Kings at Fenwick for FRT.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Kames to Glenbuck via Cairn Table 10 September

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

Bill Shankly's memorial. Pity about the use of the apostrophe.
Coffee stop on the way up
The late summer sunshine continued as we met at the car park at Glenbuck Loch. Having chosen which cars would be left there we piled into the others and headed for the parking area at Kames (or is it Kaimes?) where we were met by Peter.
Davie is happy with his work
The route was our favoured one which follows the old Sanquhar road until the bridge, before taking the path on the left and heading on to the open ground. Despite the recent very dry spell, there was enough ‘moisture’ in the ground to make good boots an essential part of the kit, but, as we started to climb, the path soon dried out and progress was steady, albeit that the ascent was made at each person’s own preferred pace. Fortunately a cool breeze helped make the walking conditions comfortable. A short coffee stop was made to allow the group to reassemble before the final push to the top was made. As the well was reached (we’ve often wondered where the water comes from as it is so near the top of the hill) some of our number, spotting that it was being overgrown, took time to clear the debris away and allow the water to run clear. A good job done!
Nearly there
Coo-eeee, we're up here!
At the cairn, time was taken again for, well, whatever was called for, before setting off again at about midday. The views today were hazy but as we descended out of the breeze towards Glenbuck the temperature was just about perfect. The open ground which took us towards the track was still wet and boggy in places but soon we were on good ground and made our lunch stop at the ‘bridge’ at about 12.45. Your correspondent remembers usually taking lunch beside the ‘bridge’ but on this occasion the preferred location was on the grassy banking opposite.
By this time some of our drouthier members were beginning to hallucinate about cold pints so our progress towards the loch was not delayed. As we skirted the water we took time, as tradition insists, to rest a little in the wooden hide before heading for the cars.

Was it a temperature gauge that Peter found on the post?
Enjoying lunch in the good weather
Back at Kames,the decision was taken to head to the Empire Bar for FRT. The banter was good and it was only when the debate about the referendum got heated that red paddles were shown and we took our leave. (As an aside, does anyone remember the Yes/No interlude on Take Your Pick hosted by Michael Miles?)
Another grand day out!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Irvine and beyond 3 September

Walking: Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Malcolm, Johnny, Peter
Cycling: Paul, Ronnie
Only there for the beer: Jimmy, Robert

Johnny provided his legendary pre-walk filled rolls and coffee as we assembled for the day’s outing.

The walk
This took the familiar route from Bank Street, over the by-pass and into Eglinton Country Park where a short stop was made at the standing stones to admire the view and, for some, to have yet another coffee. From there it was a matter of following the New Town Trail past the remains of the castle and continuing out towards the Dirrans. The trail then took us towards Irvine Moor and back into the town before heading back to Johnny’s.

The cycle
Paul, who had cycled up from Barassie, anxiously awaited Ronnie’s arrival at Johnny’s from Kilmarnock. However Ronnie had been beset with mechanical problems, i.e. punctures and a broken pump, so Paul set off on his own along the cycle path towards Ardrossan. It was hoped that Ronnie would have caught up with him before Ardrossan, but this was not to be the case. Paul duly arrived at Ceccini’s and had a leisurely coffee, but since there were still no signs of the now pumped-up Ronnie, he decided to set off on the return journey only to meet Ronnie on the promenade at Saltcoats. The cyclists met up with the walkers on Irvine Moor and were happy to take the keys to Johnny’s house as they would be back first.

The others
It was good to see Jimmy and Robert who could not make it earlier due to other commitments,

The social part of the day
Chef Matthews provided us with home-made soup and bread followed by sausage rolls. The selection of beers from the Nythva Brewery was excellent and the banter was equally good.
Many thanks again to Johnny for his hospitality and the quality of his purvey. Thanks also to Alan for providing one of the loaves.
It was hard to determine who was shown the 'paddle of scunner’ most today as there were frequent mentions of completion certificates, Commonwealth Games, punctures and RECIPES!!! The guilty know who they are!

P.S. No pictures taken as your correspondent was travelling light on a lovely early September day.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Maybole to Dunure and back 27 August

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Rex, Robert

It had been just over two years since we did this walk (see report of 11 July 2012 for description of walk and map of route) and, as we assembled at the Green in Maybole on a bright late summer morning, we knew that this would be a long day.
Crossing the moor towards the coffee stop
The fields have been harvested
It was good to welcome Jimmy back to the fold after his flu and his work at the Commonwealth Games and at the IPC Games in Swansea. Johnny was also back, chuffed that he had got his completion certificate for the cottage. There was no Peter today, but well done on finally selling the house.
Finding a nice place for coffee
Looking back up towards Culzean and Turnberry
We left the Green,  went over the railway bridge and headed up past Gardenrose P.S.,  continuing straight on up Preaching Brae before cutting off, as we did before, and making for Howmoor Quarry and taking coffee in the lea of a hill overlooking Croy Bay. Below us we could see the path we had previously followed but we, Jimmy that is, was determined to stay high a bit longer and hopefully come off the hill north of Drunshang and thereby avoid the trek along the main road. This proved to be easier said than done as before long we were descending into a deep ravine before trying to climb out the other side. Jimmy, Rex and Robert went more or less straight up the slope and out of sight, whereas the remainder followed a path until it ran out and were faced with a sea of bracken. Undaunted they ploughed on through it, carefully negotiated a barbed wire fence, went through a wooded area, and emerged in sight of the wee lochan beside which would be a path through the adjacent trees. Taking this path and traversing a field or two they emerged north of Drumshang at Aucheninch Bridge. The walk up the main road was fairly short and as they  approached Dunure Mains they could see the others coming down the hillside to meet them. From there it was down the road towards Dunure before cutting off at the bend in the road to follow the well-kent coastal path down into the village. Lunch was taken at the benches beside the castle and as we relaxed in the sun the thought struck us that we still had to do the return journey.
Not a bad place for lunch!
The harbour at Dunure was looking idyllic
So it was through Dunure, up to Fisherton, crossing the main road at the school, and following the paths up and up until we entered the forest. Fortunately we were not assaulted by insects this time, and the underfoot conditions were not as damp as previously encountered. On emerging from the trees we took a break at the style before following the recognised path back to the road back in to Maybole. I say path, but it has to be said that it is badly in need of some attention, as the underfoot conditions were not easy. Although the return journey was made using, as has been said, the ‘recognised ‘route, it is not one to be advised after a lot of rain.
We arrived back at the Green six hours after setting off and were grateful that we were parked adjacent to the Greenside where a very convivial and well deserved FRT was taken.