Thursday, 30 June 2016

Arrangements for 6 July

Meet at Glenbuck car park at 10 am for a nice walk round Glenbuck loch followed by an exploration of the opencast workings. Bring boots as it will be muddy in  places.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Cumbrae 22 June

Allan, Gus, Jimmy, Kenny T, Rex
Five of us met in Largs on a breezy, overcast morning for our crossing to Cumbrae. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the ticket office had been given a makeover and that the ticket was £3.20. Somehow we thought that it had been more expensive in the past.
The route was the tried and trusted one i.e. up to the Glaid Stone, down in to Millport and then back up the west of the island to the ferry. As we passed the water sports centre it began to drizzle and continued to do so for about ten minutes. Just as we considered wet weather gear, the rain abated and it was to remain dry for the rest of the day. Coffee was taken not at the Glaid Stone but at the wee picnic area at the side of the road just below the summit. The reason was simple for this break in tradition, it was too breezy at the top to enjoy our break comfortably. On the way down to Millport Rex and Gus were in front of the rest, too far in front for the back three (definitely not a flat back four) to get their attention to say they were going to pop into the Cathedral for a look. We’ve seen it before, at least some of us have, but it was certainly worth the effort.As we walked through the town we commented on how quiet it was for a late June day and wondered how the traders survived. It was warming up nicely by now, so we broke another tradition and stopped for lunch at the benches in the wee cove just by the Police Station. Here we not only enjoyed our pieces but also the lapping of the water on the beach in the pleasant weather – by this time the breeze had also calmed down.

Now don't get sand in your pieces!
As we moved off after lunch, most of us were in shirt sleeves, and by the time we reached Fintry Bay, we were hot enough to treat ourselves to large cones. We missed the two o’clock ferry by five minutes but enjoyed sitting at the slipway, chilling out and watching the incoming ferry fight its way across against a heavy current. We also took note of the road that disappeared up the hillside to service the hydro scheme that we had encountered some months previously and assumed by this time that it had dried out.
We missed the ferry but Rex couldn't wait for the next one!
FRT was taken in the Village Inn at Fairlie where some of the more interesting locals (Tonto and Wurzil Gummidge) introduced themselves to us.
A good day out, especially as the weather continuously improved throughout the day.
P.S. We had originally decided to try the new Wetherspoon’s in Largs , The Paddle Steamer, but it didn’t open until the following week.

Curry arrangements 29th June

Meet at the Jewel in the Crown at 7.00 p.m. on Wed 29th June. The list below have all confirmed their attendance:-
R. McGarry,
D Clunie,
A Stewart,
G Kerr,
J Matthews,
A Sim,
D McMeekin,
P Kleboe,
R Porter,
M Campbell,
J Johnston
P Crankshaw
I Doolan
Anyone not on the list but wishing to attend please contact R McGarry before next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Arrangements for 29 June

Meet at the car park at Cumnock Swimming Pool at 9.30am. Jimmy will lead us on a walk to Dumfries House and beyond! He does not promise to lead us back though, unless, of course, we are nice to him. Remember, he likes Kit-Kats!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Annbank to Ayr 15 June

Allan, Davie Mc, Jimmy, Paul, Peter, and a bit of Gus

Five of us met up at Annbank on an overcast but warm morning for the weel-kent walk to Ayr. Peter, fearing the worst, donned his waterproofs and kept them on all day!
We took the ‘easy’ route i.e. down past the bowling club and followed the path to the river and on to Auchincruive. By this time we were down to shirt sleeves and were soon at the memorial for coffee. As we reminisced, Davie disclosed that both he and Jimmy had been church choir boys in their youth. At this point, believe it or not, Jimmy went in to his piece box and produced a Kit-Kat!! You couldn’t write the script!
Moving on, we took a small diversion, in that, as we left the road from Oswald’s Bridge and turned left following the sign for the path to Ayr, we took a path up through the trees, noting, as we did, BMX jumps, before rejoining the usual track further down. We decided to cross the river at the stepping stones but, having surveyed the situation, Paul decided that he would go back up to the road for his crossing.
Carefully does it!
Lunch was enjoyed here before continuing on the River Ayr Walk down into the town. As we approached UWS we could see a vision approach us from the opposite direction. Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was Superman. Well, I exaggerate, it was Gus, who was continuing his recuperation by stretching his legs today. He said that an hour would do him and by the time he met up with us he had already walked for twenty-seven minutes, so, once we had caught up with his news, the six of us walked into Ayr, where four got the one-fifteen bus back to Annbank. Allan, having left his bus pass in his car, gratefully accepted a lift back in Gus’s car.
A decent walk in good walking conditions followed by FRT in the sit-ootery at the Tap o’ the Brae!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Arrangements for 22 June

Meet at our usual parking place in Largs beside the Gogo Burn at 9.30am for a trip to Cumbrae on the 9.45am ferry. Route to be decided on the day.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Dun Fionn 8 June

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul
At the highest point of the day wishing for a cool pint
The glorious spell of weather was to continue but, with the prospects of some thundery showers, weatherproofs had been packed. Thankfully, they were not needed.
The crossing was done on a flat clam with the only issue being a misty haze which was to restrict views until lunchtime.
On the path up to Dun Fionn
On leaving the ferry terminal and noting good progress being made on the new one, we made our way up the Lamlash road before turning off left towards Dun Fionn. Looking for the turn-off from the lane to the hill, a path was noted, and we took it only to realise quickly that we had chosen the wrong path. If we had followed Holly we would not have erred. In any case we had only gone about twenty yards before turning back and rejoining the track. A chap at the farm confirmed that the path we were looking for was a bit further on and before long we had found it and were on the steady climb to Dun Fionn. Coffee was called for but Davie Mc said it was only ten minutes (Davie minutes, mind you, something akin to Jimmy miles) to the trig point. The advanced guard did indeed make it in ten minutes with the rest a few minutes behind.
For once Davie Mc is obscured. Is this a first?
Coffee was taken here whilst taking in the hazy view and considering how lucky we were not to be at our work! Soon we were joined by four schoolgirls from Kilwinning Academy who were on their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. As we left them we came across three of their teachers who were meeting up with the girls on the Dun. One, Garry, was known to some of us, but we couldn’t remember his second name. Where is Gus when you need him? (By the way, Gus’s excuse for not turning up did not pass the adjudication board. It was felt that a couple of hours of recovery should have been plenty after surgery. He has been sentenced to write out ‘I must not lead my fellow Ooters into strange curtilages again’. He has to do this using a quill and in joined up writing).
In half an hour we had gained the high point of Clauchlands Hill and decided that we would stop here and take in the views up to Brodick Bay and down to Lamlash Bay and the Holy Isle. There were no objections to this proposal as it was getting hot, hot, hot, and a leisurely lunch was much enjoyed.
In the shade of the trees heading for the main road
As we descended towards the main Brodick/Lamlash road it was noticed that Holly was taking every opportunity for a lie down in the shade of the trees, not so daft! The trek from this road to Glencloy using the quarry/timber road was a slog in the afternoon sun with comments like ‘I don’t remember this part of the walk as being so long’, and so it was a relief when the burn was reached and we moved into the shade. The walking was easier now, although we still had some way to go. Leaving the path we crossed a couple of fields before finding the road down to Auchrannie and then back along to the Douglas in Brodick for FRT where ten wabbit Ooters enjoyed that ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ moment. It did become a three pint day, until, of course, we got on the boat!

Passing Auchrannie
The walk had taken four hours, the time at the sit-ootery was well-earned, and, all in all, it had been a great day out.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Thursday, 2 June 2016

2 June - Benquhat Hill etc

1 June - Doon Valley

Malcolm, Ian, Paul, Kenny R, Jimmy, Peter, Rex, Robert, Alan, Gus, Davie C, Davie M.

Blue skies greeted the Ooters who turned up at Dunaskin for a walk through the Doon Valley’s social and industrial past. Shorts were the order of the day.

The walk began at the Railway Museum and passed by the remains of the impressive Waterside Iron Works with chimney stacks, an Italianate engine house dated 1847, and the 14-chambered Dunaskin Brick Works.

Watch video of cyclist extraordinaire Danny Macaskill's visit to the site Your correspondent feels giddy just watching it.

Leaving the industrial site we crossed the Dunaskin Burn. The old railway bridge is long gone but the crossing was easy. We were now on the open moor, following the cutting of an old tramway which transported ironstone to the Works. To the left was a green hill, imaginatively named Green Hill, and below it were the steep sides of the ravine through which the upper Dunaskin Burn flowed. According to legend Alpin, King of Scots was slain here around AD 850 – but not everyone in our group was convinced.

Corbie Craigs, the first of our deserted settlements came into view. This was a settlement of 10 houses, still well preserved, built by the Iron Works around 1850 to help exploit the ironstone in the area. Its development was arrested because of the bigger ironstone deposits found higher up. Nevertheless it was inhabited until 1951.

We joined a metalled road, walked past two long-abandoned vehicles, and made our way towards Benwhat (more properly Benquhat) Hill.  A modern carved stone informed us we were now at the site of Benwhat village. Not much remained of the settlement, which was vacated in the early 50s,  although the location  of the school was clear and some brickwork from the rows could be made out.  A seat had been provided and we took the opportunity to stop for coffee. A plastic box contained a booklet about the village, some cuttings and a visitors’ book. We leafed through the literature whilst Davie M made an entry on behalf of the Ooters, adding that he had last visited the site of the village in 1967.

Benwhat Heatherbell with the Ayrshire Junior Cup - 1900
 "At the close of the game ...several of the players quarrelled, and a pugilistic display concluded the day's proceedings."
Report of the 1900 Ayrshire Junior Cup final at Rugby Park. Heatherbell defeated Burnfoothill Primrose 2-1.

From the village we ascended Benwhat Hill. A schism meant it was tackled from two directions, but we met up at the recently restored war memorial commemorating the fallen of the village in two world wars. The walk to the top was over open ground with no semblance of a path but it was easy walking. The view from the summit was spectacular stretching from Arran to Ailsa Craig to the Awfu’ Hand and Mullwharchar, the Rhinns of Kells, Green Lowther, Tinto and Cairn Table.

Crossing rough terrain we descended to an old mineral line  which linked Benwhat to Lethanhill, our next objective. Walking was pleasant along the plateau. One old bridge on the line had been reduced to its wooden cross beams but some hardy souls were undeterred and stepped across regardless. The sensible ones crossed the burn below the bridge.

Lunch was called and a grassy bank and a few well-positioned boulders made for a comfortable break.

Lethanhill was a village of around 120 houses with a school, pub and other public buildings. Nature, in the form of a plantation, has taken over although we could glimpse remains of buildings in the forestry. It was vacated in 1954 with the inhabitants moving to new council housing in Patna. The school, however, remained open until 1959 and pupils were bussed up from Patna.

Lethanhill 1952

Lethanhill now

We visited the war memorial serving both Lethanhill and Burnfoothill (together known as ‘The Hill’) and a stone proclaiming “1851-1954 Long Live the Hill”.

Burnfoothill has suffered an even worse fate than Lethanhill. It has been scoured from the landscape by open cast mining activity. It was good to see work under way restoring the landscape. Nature will doubtless soon take over.

Your correspondent was happy to locate the site of Burnfoothill Primrose’s football ground.

It was time to drop down into the valley and we opted to descend steeply via the old Drumgrange incline. A spectacular piece of engineering, this was a double track railway using a drum and rope system to lower full trucks of ironstone to the bottom and raise the empty trucks back up to Lethanhill.  We followed the line at the foot of the hill back to our departure point. The last mile in particular was a pleasant walk along a well maintained path.

The whole walk took a little under 4 hours – but we saw a lot and it was beautiful day to be out in the hills.

Refreshments were taken at the Dalmellington Inn.. Our old friend “Chic” made an appearance in a wheelchair and he informed us he had suffered a stroke. We wished him well.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Images from Dunaskin Walk 1st June 2016

Arrangements for birthday curry

I will book the Jewel in the Crown for 14 persons + or  - 1 or 2  ,for 7 p.m. on the 29 th June. Please let me know if you can not make it on this evening. The reason for the celebration is my 70ieth birthday. After a quick survey today , most people were able to attend ,surprising as the likely chance of people being away on holiday was very high. I am looking forward to a great night out. Cheers

Arrangements for 8th June

Catch the Ardrossan ferry at 9.45.

From Brodick we will climb Dun Fionn and walk from there to Auchrannie.

If the weather is going to be foul, we'll  make alternative arrangements by phone on Tuesday evening.