Friday, 27 February 2015

Clyde Walkway 25 February

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

Looking back from the Shawfield side
The road to nowhere?
Having assembled at the Concert Hall cafĂ© for coffee, it was just after half-past ten that we headed down the soon-to-be-removed steps and on to Buchanan Street. Crossing over into St Enoch Square  it was no time at all before we were at the Clyde Walkway and turned left heading for Glasgow Green and beyond. The forecast was for rain arriving in the early afternoon, so it was not unexpected that ‘we did not hang about’. The remains of the Clutha were passed and Glasgow Green came and went with no diversion to the People’s Palace or to see the Hockey Centre. As we went further up the Clyde, we noted the new Police Headquarters and the naturalists amongst us were pleased to see cormorants perched on a tree on the opposite bank, no doubt keeping well away from the copious amounts of litter that decorated the area.
Police HQ in the backgrouind.
Usually we do a bit of bridge-crossing on this walk but today the only one that was crossed, and re-crossed, was the new Clyde Gateway Bridge which goes from Carstairs Street across to Shawfield, where a vast amount of work has been done to landscape the area, no doubt with a view to regeneration. A couple of workers were doing some electrical work on the bridge and one particularly chatty bloke referred to the bridge as the Smart Bridge. Robert got engaged in conversation with him and was able to administer some matrimonial advice – can you imagine?
Yet another squinty bridge!
From here it was on past the Dalmarnock Sewage works which thankfully we couldn’t see and on to the Commonwealth Games Village which has just accepted the first of its new tenants. This is a huge development and hopefully the new villagers will take pride in their environment. Again, for the naturalists, we could see a couple of deer roaming about on the opposite side of the river, maybe explaining the venison on the menu at the West. Having just passed this ’Legacy’, we turned off the walkway and headed up to London Road for the return leg down past Celtic Park and Bridgeton Cross and to our lunch date at the aforementioned West Brewery.
Rutherglen passport control
Whilst at lunch, the rains arrived, but by the time thoughts of heading home arose, the rain had lightened. Due to later commitments, we left in dribs and drabs, with Peter first to go, followed by Davie Mc, Jimmy, Paul and Malcolm. Eventually the stalwarts made their way back into town for their various modes of transport. Six finished the day off in Wetherspoon’s in Kilmarnock, now there’s a surprise!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

25 February - Clyde walkway, Kenny's pictures

Here are some of the photos I took today. The lighter colour of the Cormorant is due to it being in courtship plumage.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Cumbrae 18 February

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Johnny, Paul, Robert

The first hint of blue sky
The three stoogies?
The forecast for the day had improved from that posted the day before, but the threat of rain from midday meant that there was no time to hang about as we disembarked from the 9.45 ferry and headed in a clockwise direction. By doing this we hoped to have the strong wind/rain on our back later in the day. We made the Glaid Stone in jig time and paused momentarily there to allow coffee to be taken by those who needed a caffeine top-up.
Funboys three?
It was then down the road to Millport and on to the ‘usual’ shelter on the shorefront next to the helipad for lunch. We had not encountered any rain by this time and even saw some blue sky but, discretion being the better part of valour, the consensus was that we continue without delay. With the wind on our backs we made good progress up the west side of the island and soon made the toilet stop at Fintry Bay. By this time Davie Mc, who was still carrying an ankle injury, was complaining of a blister on his foot. Dr Matthews insisted, as only he can, that Davie stop immediately for attention and compassion. And so the company stopped whilst the good doctor, ably assisted by Nurse McGarry, applied a Compeed (other blister plasters are available) and gave copious amounts of advice! The A team however, not impressed with Robert’s nurse’s uniform, had remembered the motto, and walked on.
Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit
When we turned the corner for the last short stretch to the slipway we hit the full force of the strengthening wind and were mightily pleased not to have been walking into it for any longer. We were just too late for the 1.30 return ferry, so it was the 2 o’clock we took.
FRT was taken in The Village Inn at Fairlie where Red MacGregor ale from the Orkney Brewing Co. was the drink of choice and very pleasant it was indeed. (The last time we were here was back in October and Corncrake was the real ale on offer then).
We had yet again won a watch with the weather as the rains had completely avoided us. A good step-out as they say rounded off with good banter in the pub.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Whitelee to Waterside 11 February

Allan, Davie C, Gus, Johnny, Kenny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

Gus provided excellent hospitality in Kilmarnock before we set off for Waterside and then to Whitelee Wind Farm. Thanks Gus, much appreciated. (We may even have to add a bacon roll competition to our ever-increasing social calendar).
Davie reads whilst holding his sausage!
Setting off from the car park about half past ten it felt even colder than last week as the weather was raw and dreich, so it came as no surprise that the pace was challenging as we followed the Lochgoin Circuit. This well-known track took us between Lochgoin Reservoir and Dunwan Dam before doubling back to skirt Lochgoin again. We left the Circuit just before it headed up to Lochgoin Farm and Monument and instead turned off down towards Array H. We’ve come this way before and it avoids some open ground at the farm and some doubtful underfoot conditions approaching Craigenduntan Reservoir. When we got to H212 we could see the fishermen’s hut, or what is left of it, and decided that we would have lunch therein. This involved leaving the path and heading over some rough and challenging conditions for about a hundred yards. When we emerged from the rough stuff we realised we were on the wrong side of the burn and so we headed up stream until we came to a wee weir which, as Kenny’s photo shows, was crossed with care. (Actually it was slightly easier crossing this obstacle than traversing the sheughs in the previously-mentioned rough stuff).
Room with a view - note the decking
Lunch was taken in the hut, whose whole front was missing. Fortunately the open end was in the lea of the prevailing conditions and the hut afforded us good shelter from the wind, not that it was that strong, but it was cauld.
From here it was down the track, past the big house where a big dug came out to greet us, and then down past the farm and on to the Kiwi Lodge road, where we made room for Malky McCormick to pass in his multi-dented car.  We were back at Waterside at quarter past two and made our way to the King’s in Fenwick for FRT where we were met by Derval Davie who had hurt his ankle again, but having had enough of sitting about the house, had to get out to see the ‘boys’.
And for those wondering, yes we did treat ourselves to some plates of chips! Bacon rolls and chips in one day – haud us back!

Whitelee 11 Feb.
Kenny's photos

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Wanlockhead 4 February

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert
Leaving Wanlockhead

It was as cold as it looks
The photographic evidence illustrates admirably the weather conditions but, unless you’ve got Feelyvision, you need to accept that, at times, especially in the light wind, it was awfi’ cauld.
Making good progress
Given the lying snow, why could in no’ just tell the truth. Jimmy, our leader for the day, decided that it would be wiser if we followed the road up the ‘Golf Ball’ (sorry Davie, Football). The road conditions were generally good but they did vary from being ice/snow-free to banked-up snow depending on how much the road had been sheltered from the prevailing winds. Members of the Strathaven Climbing Club, whom we had nmet back at the car park, were taking a more direct route but we made the summit of Lowther Hill (725m) first and took shelter for a snack and a coffee.
It was too cold to delay for long so we were soon underway again with the main party heading over towards Green Trough (710m) and then the masts on Green Lowther (732m), whereas Allan, Malcolm and Johnny decided to retrace their steps back down the road. At Green Lowther, Davie major, still not wanting to push his sair ankle too much, turned round and came back down the road with Kenny (now a fully-fledged Ooter, having fell on his erse) for company. The rest of the guys came down the hillside and made for the reservoir, where they stopped for a bite to eat, before making for the road just in time to meet up with Davie and Kenny.
The guys can just be seen approaching Green Lowther
FRT was taken in the Wanlockhead Inn, the highest inn in (no, I’m not writing with a stutter) Scotland, not surprising since Wanlockhead is the highest populated village. The attraction here was that it had its own micro-brewery, The Lola Rose Brewery, making its 1531 ale – Ale With Altitude, according to the banner. (Lola Rose, after the owner’s granddaughter, and 1531, the height in feet of Wanlockhead). However when this nectar was asked for the reply was, ‘we’ve ran oot’. Nevertheless other ales were available and these sated the drouth of the non-drivers, plus one other.
Spot them coming down the hill!
A grand day oot in the snaw!