Thursday, 29 October 2015

Carrick Hills 28 October

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Kenny T, Paul, Rex, Robert

It was raining persistently as we met at the Greenan car park and there was some discussion about the merits of doing the planned walk, but Robert was convinced that, according to the BBC, the rain would go off at 10 0’clock. Therefore we set off for Browncarrick Hill on the understanding that, if the weather did not improve, we would curtail the walk. Although wet. It was warm, and good progress was made along the beach and by the time Greenan Castle was reached the rain was off and by the time we turned off at Craig Tara, aka Butlitz, jackets were being dispensed with. At the top of the hill, just before the main road, we took time to admire the reversing skills of a workman who was manoeuvring a very large mobile home in preparation of it being loaded on to a transporter, no relation to Rex.
Before too long we had negotiated the main road and had turned off to the Carrick hills. Coffee was called for at one of our usual spots before the push to the top was made. Having reached the masts, it was decided to stop there for lunch before turning back, rather than going on to the trig point.
The return journey saw the weather closing in again with moisture in the atmosphere. Rather than continue past Craig Tara, as we sometimes do, we retraced our footsteps down to the beach and along to Greenan Castle where we were stymied by the high tide. No real problem though as we found the path which takes you up past the castle. This had to be negotiated carefully due to the muddy conditions but soon we were at the top and ready for the last part of the walk. By this time the rain was on for real and we were disappointed to note that there was not a path to take us down at the other side of the castle. The path took us on a wee diversion on to the road which led to the entrance to the car park.
The walk had taken four hours and we were glad we had stopped at the masts as, had we gone on to the top of the hill, we would have spent another half an hour in, what was now, seriously wet conditions. We graciously accepted Rex’s offer to return to his house to get changed in the dry.

Pool Competition
The standard is surely improving as all present reached the quarter-finals. After some keen competition, Davie and Rex reached the final. This proved to be a tense affair and it came down to who could sink the black. After some tactical play, Rex saw an opportunity but left the black hanging over a pocket. Davie ignored Robert’s advice about how to sink it and won the final to regain the title he won two years ago. If he wins it again he will get to keep the trophy!
Many thanks to Rex for hosting the event and for arranging the pies cooked a la King Alfred. Thanks also to Davie for getting the drinks and snacks. He said he was really enjoying his alcohol-free beer!!
Last year's winner, Gus, presents Davie with the trophy

Rex congratulates Davie

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Darvel 14 October

Alan, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Malcolm, Paul, Peter
The Indian summer continued as we assembled at Davie’s in Darvel for our valley walk. Thanks, yet again, to Davie and Kay for their hospitality.
Almost a year ago to the day we did this walk and it was a precursor to Gus’s 60th celebration. Next week is Davie C’s, nearly a coincidence. Anyway, when we reached the entrance to Lanfine we did not, on this occasion, go up through the estate past the boars, but continued up the tarmac road to Dyke before taking the grass path up to the edge of Dykehill Plantation. Following the markers we made our way up to the break in the trees that took us up towards Kieland. Before reaching there we turned right and took the path through Bonnieton Plantation and on towards Gullyhill. The walking was good with only a few muddy patches to contend with, and with the only sound being feet on dry leaves, the walk was relaxing.
The big one on the left takes an interest in us
When we eventually reached tarmac again we turned left and stopped in the sun at Parkerston for coffee. As we enjoyed the break it was remarked how quiet it was today with not so much banter, more to do with who was missing than who was present. The road took us down to Newmilns, and crossing the main road, we started the climb up the other side of the valley, passing the dry ski slope, and taking Dalwhatswood Road to the entrance to the cemetery, where, as tradition dictates, we took lunch. The autumn sunshine made this break a pleasure, but all good things soon came to an end, and we continued our steady climb up the road past Cronan until it levelled out as we turned right towards our last leg back to Darvel. Turning right down Foulpapple Road and then left in to Burn road meant we were back to where we started in three hours and fifty-five minutes, exactly the same time it took us last year.
A good way to get away from it all
Malcolm and Peter had issues to attend to and left for home whilst the rest of us headed up to the Railway Inn for FRT only to find it was shut. Did we have such an effect on it last week? Maybe it was just down to it being the school week, who knows? Anyway a quick decision was made to travel to the Crown in Newmilns. This was a new venue for most of us but Davie and Gus, the valley boys, were familiar with it, although it had changed a bit since the last time they had been there. It could certainly do with some upgrading but these days we need to be grateful that there are some pubs that are still open.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Falls of Clyde 7 October

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Ian, Jimmy, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex

Given the probability of meeting rain on Culter Fell, the alternative of the Falls of Clyde was agreed as we enjoyed Kay and Davie’s hospitality. Thanks again folks! Davie’s home baking skills are coming on a treat!
At the court of King James. Jimmy describes how it only took him half an hour with a pen knife.
Setting off from Kirkfieldbank, we crossed the bridge and made our way on to the Clyde Walkway which would take us up to New Lanark. The weather was dry, although grey, and as we went through the park we were delighted to see a new addition to the landscape i.e. some fallen trees and stumps had been brilliantly sculpted to produce a sort of fairy glen. After many a photo had been taken, steady progress was made up to the village where coffee was taken.
Remember the day we got lost!
Underfoot conditions were good as we then made our way up to the dam and crossed over to the opposite bank for the return journey. We did not stop for lunch here but continued down the path for another half hour or so until Davie, the biologist, spotted a sheep in a neighbouring field which had got its head stuck in a wire fence. With Rex for support and advice, apparently Rex has some experience of approaching a sheep from behind, Davie managed to free the beast and let it go, not, of course, before getting its name and telephone number.
The Cosy Corner cafe
A leisurely lunch was taken in one of the viewpoints overlooking the falls before continuing down to the cars. The last mile saw some light rain falling but, under the cover of the trees, we were not affected by it. The walk had taken three and a half hours and, as we made our way back to Ayrshire, the weather improved to the extent that it was a sunny Darvel that greeted us for FRT. Discretion being the better part of valour, The Railway Inn was chosen for our apr├Ęs walk banter and it served our purpose very well indeed.
Thanks to Davie C for buying the first round to celebrate his imminent 60th. We commiserated with him on his news that he was soon to go on the wagon for a period of time on health grounds, but as usual, any sympathy was short-lived and soon replaced by mickey-taking. Enjoy Dublin, Davie!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Ness Glen 30 September

Early morning sunshine and mist over Loch Doon

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

The last day of September brought us perfect walking conditions for the Ness Glen figure of eight. Clear blue skies, lovely warm temperature and good underfoot conditions – what more could a guy ask for? – don’t answer that!
The route has been often described before so suffice it to say that, after copious photographs had been taken of the mist lying over Loch Doon, we set off, taking the’ high road’ before starting to descend to the river just beyond where Fort Carrick came into view. The footbridge by which we crossed has many a plank missing and, unless some maintenance work is done shortly, will become dangerous and impassable. Nonetheless the opposite bank was gained and time was taken to take off top layers as shirt sleeves would be the order of the day from now on.
Fort Carrick - but no sign of John Wayne
A baker's dozen today!
Coffee was taken, as per usual, on the benches at the roadside near to our turn off to the ‘Promised Land’ before the walk continued around Bogton Loch and up to Dalcairnie Linn. Tradition was broken as we did not take lunch here, but continued up the hill where we were afforded excellent views of Dalmellington and the surrounding district. It has to be said that Dalmellington has seldom looked better – albeit from a distance!
If Carlsberg did migrants ...
After lunch, Craigengillan was soon passed and before we knew it we were back at the river and ready for the walk up the gorge. There was a good run of water in the gorge making for some wonderful photo opportunities as we completed our ‘eight’ back to the cars four hours to the minute after having set off
This is normally a good walk but the weather today made it almost perfect.
FRT was taken at the Dalmellington Inn where the new mine host and hostess made us feel very welcome, even when Malcolm was serenaded on his imminent birthday – altogether now ‘ …. when I’m sixty-four’.

Some images from Ness Glen

Davie C leads us off at the start of the walk.

Yes, we do have time to stand and stare.

Paul deciding where his commemorative stone should be.

Dalcairnie Linn

In the Ness Glen gorge