Thursday, 28 January 2016

Maidens to Dunure 27 January

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jim, Johnny, Kenny R, Kenny T, Rex, Robert

It was raining constantly as we headed to the meeting point at Dunure along roads which contained many dangerously large puddles – not surprising given the amount of rain that had fallen and that the surrounding fields were saturated. However, we were promised a weather window, and so we set off for Maidens hoping for the best.
The tide was well in as we strode down the beach towards Culzean and, although it was raining, it was the cold wind that was causing more of a problem. Soon Culzean was reached and, in the shelter, the day became very pleasant indeed. By the time we reached the castle the sky was brightening and the rain was abating. On descending towards the wee holiday cottage, Davie Mc, still nursing his hip injury, confirmed that that was far enough for him today and he would turn back to Maidens. Johnny and Allan, not wishing to see him walk back alone and not relishing the prospect of the muddy fields further along, decided to join him and were heard to sing ‘Hip, Hip, Hooray’ as they went. Holly was most disappointed to see the others continue without her, but had to accept her fate as the threesome returned to the castle for a coffee in the grounds. By this time the weather had improved dramatically, so they took the cliff path back to the steps down to the shore before making their way back to the cars.
The tree had grown over the wall
How the day had changed!
Too exposed to stop for lunch here today
The walk had taken them two hours and forty minutes and by the time they had got changed, had a quick bite to eat and drove back to Dunure, the rest of the guys were waiting for them. They hadn’t wasted any time and, as expected, had encountered some ‘Somme-like’ conditions whilst crossing the fields.
FRT was taken at the Dunure Inn. We had got the best of the day and enjoyed our day out.

Davie's photos:

Friday, 22 January 2016

Gogo Burn 20 January

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny R, Kenny T, Rex, Robert

It was disappointingly wet as we met in Largs, at least most of us met at the correct location. Rex had failed to find Charles Street and was parked at the Gogo Burn, silly boy, but, by the wonders of modern technology, probably the same technology that got him lost, he made contact with Allan and met up with the rest of us. Jimmy proposed that, given the weather, we do the walk in the opposite direction and make our way up to the picnic area at the burn to take stock.
Looking back towards Largs
As we passed Largs Academy Ian had to avert his eyes and take a few tranquilisers but, with the usual Ooters’ compassion, he made it with our support. Moving out of the scheme and starting to climb we did see a sign saying that a construction company apologised for any inconvenience due to their works, but we carried on undaunted taking note that the path had been widened to take heavy machinery. Still we carried on. The path was becoming increasingly muddy and by the time the ‘picnic area’ was in view it was a river of glaur. We could see machinery up ahead and down below and a new road being dug out of the hillside. At this point we were stopped by a young engineer, who seemed to be in charge, and told we shouldn’t be there and that there was a sign stating the whole area was out of bounds. After a lot of negotiating he reluctantly agreed to lead us through the works as he had the hard hat and hi-viz jacket etc. Another big workman approached Jimmy in what appeared initially was a menacing mood only to ask “Do you come fae Cumnock?” The ice was broken and the big guy explained he had stayed next door to Jimmy for many a year.
Looking up the glan with the new road under construction on the left
Having led us through the diggers, we thanked the ‘boy’ for his help and made for the hillside before stopping for coffee twenty minutes further on. At this point Allan decided that he had done enough for the day and would return down the way he came up, risking the wrath of the workmen. In the event he had a convivial conversation finding out that the works were due to a private hydro sceme being set up by the Stakis Group and that the works would go on until October. On his way down he did find the warning sign which was placed behind an open gate and which could have been (and had been) missed. If we had seen it would we have taken heed and turned back? Knowing our record, what do you think?
The Guys continued up to the bridge to note that a temporary one had been constructed whilst a more permanent feature was at the foundation stage. Crossing over, the task was to get up the hillside and look for signs of the path. By now lying snow was a feature and the path was slippy, especially on the downhill sections. Robert held the record for most falls today, three at the last count. Fortunately he fell on the biggest and most padded part of his anatomy. On the trek back to the ‘steps’ a couple of sleety showers were encountered but, all in all, given the unpromising start to the day, it had been decent weather for the time of the year.
Honestly Mister, we didnae see the sign!
All were reunited at the cars, a tad over four hours from setting off.
FRT was held in The Village Inn at Fairlie.

20 January, Gogo Water. - Kenny R's photos

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Glasgow Central Station tours

l looked at combineing a tour of the station with the proposed visit to the City Chambers next week. The tickets cost £13 and the tour lasts in total about one hour. Unfortunately the times available and the number of places available do not suit. The tour looks excellent and I think most Ooters would enjoy it. We can identify those interested and book for another time. Have a look at the website for further info.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Corsencon - 13 January

O were I on Parnassus hill, 

Or had of Helicon my fill, 

That I might catch poetic skill 

To sing how dear I love thee! 

But Nith maun be my muse's well, 

My muse maun be thy bonnie sel'; 

On Corsincon I'll glower and spell, 

And write how dear I love thee.
Robert Burns

Kenny R, Kenny T, Jim, Robert, Paul, Davie C, Davie M, Rex, Gus, Alan and Malcolm (despite disinformation from certain quarters).
There haven’t been many opportunities this season to enjoy a proper winter’s day, but today we struck lucky.

Many of us had already spotted snow on Corsencon as we headed towards our assembly point in Cumnock, where the car park had a thin glaze of ice and a smattering of hail. There was just time enough to construct a slide in the car park before we set off for New Cumnock.

Mansfield Road, the long road out from Pathhead, was treacherous with black ice, but fortunately the grass verge provided a sounder footing. On our previous expedition we had stopped for coffee at the water filter serving Glen Farm, so no discussion was necessary on our second outing. We were now above the snow line so Rex donned his Yak Trax © and with caffeine levels topped up, immediately moved into overdrive as we recommenced our long ascent. In fact, the fresh snow on the road made the walking much easier for everyone.

We took a peak at the kilns of the old Craigdullyeart Lime Works, attractively embellished by the contents of a ripped-out kitchen, and in no time we were ready to leave the tarmac to begin our ascent of the hill itself. It was observed that no trace remained of the coal conveyor.

There was now proper snow underfoot and we were grateful to Gus for leading the way and creating footings for those in his train.  In hollows, the snow was a good foot deep. The trig point at 1547 feet was soon reached and we lingered on the summit of Corsencon to admire the view and pose for the official photograph.

On our first visit we had made a very steep descent, but this time we followed more gentle contours with just a short steep section near the foot of the hill. At the foot, an extremely high fence topped by barbed wire (so that’s why you offered to write the blog. Ed.) blocked our path and Paul eventually admitted defeat, but 50 yards further on was able to step over that same fence.

As before, we stopped for lunch at the mobile phone mast.

The return to New Cumnock was far easier than the way out since the roads had been gritted. We did, however, manage to leave Alan behind as he stopped for whatever he had to stop for. Someone with an ability to count beyond 10 realised we’d lost one of our number and glanced back.

“What’s Alan doing back there?”, he asked.

“Trying to catch up”, came the reply.

And on we went.

Just as Alan was about to bridge the gap, a car which had passed us earlier returned and drew up alongside Alan. The window was wound down and something about viewing puppies was discussed with the two women in the car.

FRT was taken at the Black Bull in Mauchline. By this time the rain which had been forecast had started.

For once the weather gods had smiled on us.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Hurlford to Galston and back 6 January

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

We welcomed Alan McQuiston to the group today, just to show him what he has got to look forward to. Unfortunately, he would have matters educational to attend to on a Wednesday for the foreseeable future.
The weather was dull and overcast but, given the rains of the last few days and weeks, we were glad it was dry for our walk up to Galston and back. Following the Grougar path from our meeting point at the bowling club, we followed the river up to Milton Road where we turned and headed for Loudoun Kirk. It had been decided that we would stick to tarmac as far as possible today so we ignored the cross-country shortcut and stayed on the road until the Kirk, where coffee was called for. Robert provided Christmas cake and a dram for us whilst Jimmy supplied shortbread. Well done, and thanks, guys!
No Peter, you can't leave the room!
and now with our resident scribe

Davie Mc left before the rest of us as he was dropping off Holly with Kay in Galston but we weren’t far behind, again staying on the road as far as the main road and the entrance to Loudoun Castle. Turning right here we headed into downtown Galston and continued up to Grant’s haggis factory before turning on to the Chris Hoy Way and heading towards Hurlford. Further down the path we teamed up with Davie who was waiting patiently? for us. We stayed on the path right into Hurlford, again ignoring our usual shortcut across open ground.
We were back at the cars three hours after having set off and, other than some slight moisture in the air when we left Loudoun Kirk, we had got it dry, In fact, on the Chris Hoy Way jackets were removed, so mild it was.
FRT and lunch was taken at Wetherspoon’s in Kilmarnock where we managed to confuse the bar staff with our lunch order. Well done to them, however, for recognising that we had overpaid and giving us a refund. Another very convivial time was spent here!
Anyone for chicken strips?