Thursday, 31 December 2015

Kilmarnock Lunch Club 30 December

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Peter, Robert

To get out of the road of Storm Frank
The Ooters decided to break rank
So after a talk
They abandoned the walk
And went for a communal lunch at Wetherspoon's in Kilmarnock

...and a jolly fine afternoon was had too!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Ochiltree to Cumnock 23 December

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Francesco, Gus, Johnny, Malcolm, Peter, Rex, Robert

Peter's better side!
The recent rains had given way to a bright, windy morning and the weather was to stay fair for the duration of our pre-Christmas walk. Given the direction of the chill wind, it was decided to take the bus to Ochiltree and to walk back from there. Jimmy arrived to tell us that he wisnae weel and would not be joining us, but we were delighted to welcome Francesco from our Italian branch. Apparently he had made Rex an offer he couldn’t refuse, so Rex felt obliged to bring him along!
We started walking from Ochiltree just after ten and, as could be expected given the amount of rain that had fallen, the track was very muddy in places. An hour or so after setting out, we were having coffee at the Barony A Frame. Robert, ever the thoughtful one (can’t believe I’ve said that), had brought a flask of warm gluhwein which he dispensed to grateful recipients. Well done, Robert! Next year remember the mince pies and Christmas cake though!
Davie wanted evidence that the sun was shining on 23 Dec
On leaving here, Peter suggested a different path rather than retrace our steps down the bing, but, given the uncertainty surrounding the actual path to take, half the company took the familiar route back to the Dumfries House estate, whilst the rest followed Peter. Peter’s instincts proved to be right (again, can’t believe I’ve said that) as his group had taken the shorter route and were first to arrive at the estate. Time was taken to take in the walled garden before our lunch stop at our usual howff in the arboretum. By this time Francesco, whose English was good, admitted that he was having difficulty with our local dialects (who invited Dr Who anyway?). He felt better when it was explained to him that half of us couldn’t understand what the others were saying and the other half couldn’t hear a thing anyway.
The walled garden looks good, even in winter
We didn’t go up to the house this time but took a look at the maze under construction before taking the riverside path back to Cumnock, arriving at the cars three hours after having started walking. We had had a good walk in bright overhead conditions, indeed it was warm out of the wind, and felt the better for the exercise.
FRT was taken in the Black Bull in Mauchline which is fast becoming our preferred hostelry in this neck of the woods.
Francesco takes a pic

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Lunch 16 December

Alan S, Alan W, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian F, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny R, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

For the record, we met in the café at the Royal Concert Hall for a coffee and to exchange Christmas cards before going on our separate ways. The ‘big half’ took the subway out to Oran Mor where they enjoyed the play, pie and a pint pantomime. The standard was excellent and, having got there early, good seats were obtained. The ‘wee half’ walked up to the canal and followed  it down to the Kelvin before making their way down to the Ashoka in Ashton Lane. The Oran Morers had time for a refreshment in the Curlers Rest (Oh, yes they did!) prior to joining the rest at the Ashoka.
The curry was great value for money, although the new décor didn’t please everyone and the restaurant was certainly less busy than in previous years. It was hard to believe how quickly the year had gone in.
Those returning to Kilmarnock finished off the day with a visit, as tradition dictates, to Wetherspoon’s.
A grand day out!

We wish our reader(s) a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

Glasgow Christmas day out

Purpleyfloo'erei Cumnockei. Don't know the plant's name though!

looks most like which Ooter?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Smugglers' Trail 9 December

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Ian F, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

As we sat in Malcolm’s house enjoying coffee and bacon rolls (many thanks again to Malcolm and his glamorous assistant, Anne) the weather did not encourage us to make a move. Yet another dull, damp, dreich morning! But the forecast promised us a window of dry weather between ten and twelve o’clock so we set off, accompanied by new recruit Jim Dinnett, to Dundonald Castle where the walk would begin.
Would it keep dry? Yes it would!
This is familiar territory so little description is needed for the route. It is sufficient to say that underfoot conditions up through the wood were soft and muddy in places, but not as bad as we might have expected. Before long we made the reservoir, continued down through Loans and made our way up to the path leading down to Fullarton Woods. Coffee/lunch was taken at our usual place on the benches at the remains of Fullarton House, before we progressed to Crosbie Kirk, and then across towards the golf course which, given the windy conditions, was very sparsely populated by golfers.
On reaching the beach we met Robert who had walked up to meet us from his parked car (he had attended a hospital appointment) and the thirteen of us were blown down the shore. We decided to leave the beach and seek the shelter of the pathway behind the dunes after a mile or so and this allowed Robert to pick up his car. Before long we were at MacKay’s for well-earned FRT.
We were extremely lucky today in that the only rain we saw was a few spots prior to reaching the pub. Like last week, we had taken some exercise and had the cobwebs blown away, before enjoying our usual conviviality. A tad under three hours for the walk, for those interested.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Whitelee Windfarm 2 December

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian D, Ian F, Jimmy, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

It was raining with some mist as we assembled at the Whitelee Windfarm Vistors Centre. The promised brightening and dry weather by ten o’clock was not forthcoming so we relaxed over coffee and scones. It gave us an opportunity to welcome Ian Fyfe into the ranks and also get the details of Robert’s recent visit to hospital. It obviously hadn’t slowed him down as he was as anxious as ever to get a move on. Patience is a virtue and, with the weather worsening, we sat still.
What's keeping you?
We did actually start walking about eleven o’clock. It was still raining but we’ve been in a lot worse. A decision had been made to restrict our walk to the Lochgoin circuit, so armed with maps and following the signs, we made our way over familiar territory, initially with Dunwhat Dam on our left before skirting round Lochgoin reservoir on our right. We cut a wee bit off the marked circuit by taking the path to the dam before rejoining it at the track up to the Lochgoin Covenanters Monument.
Lunch was taken at the monument in improving overhead conditions, with Ben Lomond and the Luss Hills visible in the distance still showing signs of recent snow. The completion of the circuit back to the Visitors Centre was made in bright, sunny weather and we were back just after half past one.
What a change in the sky from earlier on!
FRT, complete with chips and complimentary poppadoms and spicy onions, was taken at the Kings in Fenwick. Despite this not being a particularly long walk in terms of the time taken, it fitted the bill perfectly today, gave us a good step out, and was finished off with a most enjoyable spell at the Kings.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Durrisdeer, 25 November - Kenny R's photos

Durisdeer 25 November

Alan S, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny R, Paul, Rex, Robert

It was disappointingly wet as we met up at Cumnock but, since the forecast was good, the walk at Durisdeer was agreed on, and we made our way down there in improving conditions. Setting off from our usual parking spot in the village at 10 o’clock in dry, bright, but cool conditions we took the familiar path up to Kettleton Bothy taking delight in the kites* and buzzards that were flying above us.  The bothy was reached in thirty-five minutes, maybe a record, and maybe due to the snell wind that blew us up the track.
Time for a view stop
After coffee we continued on to the highest point where excellent views were achieved in the clear conditions. As we descended we noted Drumlanrig in the far distance and Morton Castle closer by. The leading group spotted that it would be possible to head over the hill to the castle and save some time on the walk, although this would be new ground for us. After some discussion, Alan, Jimmy, Paul, Rex and Robert, the famous five, headed off overland whilst the rest of us made our way down to the road and onwards to our lunch stop on firm ground. Davie was suffering from a sore foot, hence his decision to take the road, but speedy progress was made to meet up with the adventuresome five who had arrived at the castle some twenty minutes before and had encountered no problems on their journey.
Decision time about the direct route
The five boys, remember the chocolate?, had already had their lunch, so little time was spent here, but as we gathered ourselves together Jimmy suggested taking the Morton Nature Trail from the castle down to the road. Kenny joined the fabulous five to make the sexy six, aye right!, and they took the trail whilst the feisty four continued on the familiar road. It has to be said the Holly did not accompany Davie today but took the decision to go with the other group, much more to her liking!
Morton Castle
As the four made their way down the road, note was taken of the trees being felled leaving a lovely fresh smell of freshly cut timber. Eventually the four were joined by Holly who had no doubt sensed our presence, and had run ahead of her new chums to meet up with Davie again. By this time Davie was really struggling and was falling further and further behind, but he had now got Holly on the lead to pull him along.
Allan, Gus and Johnny were back at the cars at five minutes to two, with the group who had made the wee diversion five minutes behind.
A good walk in good conditions followed up by FRT at The Crown in Sanquhar!
*Kites, recorded by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, made no 9 in the charts in 1967 – if anyone is interested.