Thursday, 28 July 2016

Calderglen, East Kilbride 27 July

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Peter, Robert

This was a first for the Ooters – a visit to Calderglen Country Park for a walk down the Calder gorge and beyond. The weather was kind to us, not like the thunder, lightning and heavy rain of the previous week which had led to the walk being postponed, and so we set off in good walking conditions i.e. dry, bright and comfortably warm. Robert was leading, as he had discovered the walk in the Herald and clung tightly to the clipping as he negotiated us out of the car park.
Looking down into the gorge
View stop
Following the regular signs, we made our way down to the path above the Calder and with the river on our left hand side we continued on under the A726 Strathaven road and followed on the path until we reached Hurlawcrook Road. We crossed this road and a wee bit further down found the continuation of the path towards Langlands Moss Nature Reserve. Wishing to head over the Moss and aim for Auldhouse we ignored the direction indicated by the sign, which had obviously been turned round by ‘helpful’ locals, and took to the boardwalk over the boggy stuff. Before long we found that a section of the boardwalk had been vandalised in that a thirty metre section had been set on fire and was no more. Ignoring a sign which discouraging walkers from taking to the Moss, we made the remaining section of the boardwalk without any alarm and soon found the path which took us towards Auldhouse. Before long though we were in the horns of a dilemma, or since Peter was present, in the corns of a dilemma. Should we follow the main track in front of us or take a path off to the right. The company was split with Robert’s cutting not conclusive. Holly made her way to the right but she hadn’t done this walk before, so, for once, we ignored her and her followers and decided to go straight on. Within a hundred yards this decision proved to be correct as we reached Langlands Road and a signpost pointing to Auldhouse.
Country cousins
As we headed up the road we met a group of lady walkers heading in the opposite direction and, as Jimmy reminisced with one of them about cross-country races at Cumnock, the others confirmed that Auldhouse was just up the road but that the pub wasn’t open yet. The restaurant and pub looked very inviting, but we had our pieces with us and found a wee park close by for coffee and/or lunch. The adjacent Primary School had had its original building renovated and added to by ultra-modern glass structures. It was not to everyone’s taste but certainly caught the eye.
Clear signs of fire damage
The walkwayless section
The next part of the walk took us on a loop, just to make the walk a bit longer. We followed Cleughearn Road up to its junction with Millwell Road, turned left and then left again back on to Hurlawcrook Road down past Langlands Golf Course and back on to the path taking us back to our starting point. We did take time though for another short stop by the river to allow those who still had pieces left to eat them. The Visitor Centre was reached three hours and forty-five minutes after starting and by this time the whole area and its attractions was hoaching.
FRT was taken back at the Kings in Fenwick. A good day out and one which we can repeat again.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Arrangements for August 3rd.

Meet at 10.00 a.m.
Where ?-- Glen Afton waterworks,New Cumnock.
Route ---- Windy Standard.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

13 July: Coran of Portmark and Black Craig

Ian, Paul, Malcolm, Jimmy, Davie M, Gus, Robert.

The drive down to our meeting point at Greenwell of Scotland didn't bode well, with frequent heavy showers peppering our journey, but it was dry when we stepped out of the cars.

We didn't hang about! We stepped out smartly and went at a fair old lick towards the deserted leadmining village of Woodhead, passing Holm of Daltallochan, crossing Carsphairn Lane by its 1935 bridge and passing through the outbuildings of Garryhorn. Inside 45 minutes we were at our usual coffee spot amongst the ruins of Woodhead.

The shelter from the wind was appreciated as coffee was accompanied by a shower which sped through on the stiff breeze.  We were experiencing a few showers on the walk but they were all short-lived.

From Woodhead we started our climb up Coran of Portmark, pausing regularly to take in both the view and additional oxygen. The group split but we reassembled at the top to pose for photgraphs and take in the views.

We didn't linger on the top, but instead set off for our next objective - Black Craig. On the previous occasion we had tackled this walk we had veered over to the west side of Black Craig, at one point heading towards Loch Doon, and found ourselves in tussocky grass and knee-deep heather with no semblance of a path until we were close to the summit. This time, however, we made an altogether better fist of it.  We picked up the line of a fence running North East and then continued in the same direction following a stone wall.  With a path to the top in view we stopped for lunch, well sheltered by our boundary wall.

Fully restored we headed for the top. It was a 10 minute doddle. We paused to take in the view and pose for photographs before heading back down to our lunch spot.

Bad experiences must banish not-quite-so-bad experiences from memory. This walk was intended to exorcise the evil spirits of our original attempt at this walk, when we ended up in the awful mire close to Carsphairn Lane ... but your scribe had forgotten just how bad the descent from our lunch spot to the forestry road was!  Over visible sheughs we stumbled, into hidden sheughs we tumbled.  Over hidden boulders we tripped. Through shoulder-high bracken, reminiscent of the Whangie, we battled. Even a few oaths were muttered.

Eventually we reached the road. We were muddy and damp, but victorious! When we came to Jimmy's bifurcation there were no takes for the left turn and as the skies cleared and things warmed up it was a pleasant though uneventful march which took us back to our coffee spot at Woodhead and back down the road to Green Well.  

Distance: 10.5 miles. Total ascent: 2000 feet.

We retired to the Dalmellington Inn for well-earned refreshments where we received our usual warm welcome ... and bowls of crisps.

Another good day in the hills!

by Paul 

Friday, 8 July 2016

Glenbuck 6 July

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

We went down the road to find Glenbuck
Did we find it? Did we cocoa?
The village has gone, only a farmhouse remains
Great big holes, and plenty of stanes
The fitba’ park was overgrown
A very long time since the grass was mown
And Shankly’s memorial is there to see
Pity about the needless apostrophee!       (Poetic licence)

 But to our tale

 Davie, “There’s a big hole at Glenbuck”.

The rest, “We’ll need to look into it then”.

Where's wee Davie the day?
We were getting eaten alive by midges as we left the car parking area next to Glenbuck Loch on the first leg of our walk i.e. go round the loch in a clockwise direction. Passing a couple of fishermen, we noted that Johnny had already given them an Ooters card and one of them was accessing the blog on his smartphone. We made good progress in decent conditions until, when we were about halfway up the far side, we were buzzed by a very low-flying Hercules transport aircraft – so low that we waited for a number of seconds to see if it was about to crash. Drama over, we soon made our way to the access road to Glenbuck and made our way up to where the village had been and surveyed the wilderness.
The remains of Spyreslack farm
Gie's a bit o' yer piece, mister!
As coffee was being taken the rain came on and was to stay on for the remainder of the day. Davie then led us up to a viewpoint where we could indeed look into a very large hole in the ground and from there he led us down into said hole for closer inspection of the workings. The nature of the stone on one side of the mine was discussed and eventually tentative agreement made that it was sandstone. Eventually Johnny decided he had gone down far enough, “One hole too many”, and he, Allan and Kenny made their way back to the surface and back to the cars to get dried off and have lunch whilst the remainder continued to the floor of the mine.  They arrived forty minutes later as Davie had taken them to see another big hole, this time full of water! The guys went up to the observation hut over the loch for lunch and, when they exited, were surprised and delighted to be serenaded by the two anglers who gave a good rendition of the Ooters chorus.

The view from the vantage point

And in the other direction

Entering the mine

Going down

Into the stratasphere?

Ever feel that you're being watched?

At the floor of the mine
A, J and K had taken three hours for their walk, with the others that bit longer. FRT was taken at the Empire in Muirkirk where we were cordially greeted and ‘entertained’ by a couple of worthies.

A good day out despite the weather, and one which, no doubt, will be repeated.
P.S. This was the day the Ooters traded hill-walking for hole-walking.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Arrangements for 13 July

Meet at Greenwell of Scotland at 10 am. We'll climb Coran of Portmark and Blackcraig returning by the "sensible" route. In the event of foul weather we'll phone round on Tuesday night.