Friday, 28 December 2018

Greenock Cut 27 December

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny
The dog whisperer strikes again!
As we assembled on a dreich morning at Cornalees, we asked ourselves ‘Where are the guys who suggested this walk today? Where indeed?’
No matter, whilst waiting, we passed the time by talking to another chap awaiting his group of twenty fellow walkers. He was a Greenock Cut virgin (Greenock and virgin has to be an oxymoron) and reckoned their plan was to do the walk anti-clockwise. But we had a sense of adventure today and set off, ‘haud me back’, in the clockwise direction. There was moisture in the air, more like low cloud rather than a smir, but it was very mild for the time of year and progress was good until our coffee stop at our usual lunch spot, after all we were doing the walk backwards.
Ten minutes later and we were off again, now in dry conditions, and with us able to see Greenock and across the Firth, but not much beyond. We were about fifteen minutes away from our turn up the hill when we met our friend from earlier, now accompanied by his fellow travellers. As we passed some time with him again, he explained that they were a group of former teachers from Eastwood H.S. in Newton Mearns, so, in turn, we explained the composition of our group and the origins of our name and told him to look out for us on the blog.
We stopped for lunch at our traditional coffee spot, two-thirds of the way up the hill (for the non-mathematicians, that is one-third of the way down the hill from the opposite direction) and had a decent view in front of us.
The last leg over the brow of the hill and down to the reservoir was uneventful, but we did notice that work had been done to improve the rough path over to Old Largs Road. We used this once before and we reminisced about our route that day and how we had entrusted Gus to be our leader. Aye, the Whangie (20 September 2014) will not be forgotten!
The Cut today had been busier than we had ever seen it with groups, individuals, families, joggers and mountain bikers, and this was borne out when we got back to the car park as it was choc-a-bloc. As we got changed the drizzle appeared again, but no matter, we had got the best of the day and had had a good walk.
Our official time keeper said two hours and fifty-three minutes. He couldn’t give us the number of seconds as Mickey Mouse had only two hands.
FRT was taken at Wetherspoon’s in Largs where Davie the younger transformed himself into Ena Sharples by making milk stout his choice for the day (albeit abv 5.6%). We spent a jovial hour and a half there before time was called. And before anyone asks, it was a three-pint day, at least for some.
A grand day out!
For details about the upturned sugar boat on the sandbank, see the report of 28 August 2013.
For details about Gus’s route, see the report of 17 June 2015.


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Arrangements for THURSDAY 3rd January

Annbank to Ayr
Meet at Annbank Bowling Club at 10am for the walk (going the shorter route) to Ayr. Bring bus passes for the return journey.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Panto and Curry 19 December

The Panto
Alan, Allan, Davie C, Dougie, Johnny, Malcolm

Six Ooters thoroughly enjoyed Oran Mor’s ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ Pantomime ‘The Lying Bitch and the Wardrobe’. Stalwart Dave Anderson was incapacitated so Billy McBain stood in at short notice and his relative unfamiliarity with the role of the Dame added to the hilarity, right from the very first minute when he tripped making his entrance on to the stage and landed flat on his face losing his hat and wig. As they say, ‘You couldnae write the script’. Brilliant!
We then got back to the Jewel in the Crown in Kilmarnock, via Wetherspoon’s, for our Christmas curry.

 The Curry

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

The Jewel in the Crown had prepared well for us and were most hospitable. The food was excellent and the banter lively, just as well we had the place to ourselves. As well as the customary rendition of the Ooters’ song Derval Davie treated us to his own song, now apparently on the Jewel’s Facebook page. Please note that the rest of the Ooters claim no responsibility.
Thanks to the ladies who served us for their forbearance and good humour. Well done, girls!
On leaving there, we made our way to Wetherspoon’s, but it was so busy we could not get accommodated.
Some decided to go home at this point but eight (the Killie four, Allan, Dougie, Johnny and Rex) went round to The First Edition, a clone of Wetherspoon’s but with umpteen screens all showing football, where we were comfortably seated. A nice end to what had been a great day.

Valley Circular Walk 19 December 2018

Present: Bob, Davie M, Ian, Jimmy, Paul and Peter and eventually Gus.

The above 6 met chez Davie in Darvel to partake of scones and coffee prior to doing an Irvine Valley walk, the rest of the Ooters attending the pantomime at Oran Mor. Jimmy entertained us by reading out Kay’s Scottish quiz which she had made up for the Cumnock History Group party the following night. All acquitted themselves fairly well, even he from south of the border coping with words like taigle, shilpitand shelfie
Eventually about 9 40, minus Peter who had a cold and a sore back, the legs were set in motion and we proceeded through Darvel Park and entered Lanfine Estate via the gatehouse at the east end. (There are three gatehouses to the estate, the middle one being kept private by the owners.) We continued up the ”avenue” towards the big hoose but there was no sign of the wild boar which normally inhabit the woods hereabouts. Ian postulated that they might have been turned into Christmas sausages!
Having passed Lanfine House we continued down the other avenue towards Newmilns, crossed the main road and went up past the Newmilns Tower. This was probably erected around 1530 as a temporary home for the Campbells of Loudoun after the Kennedys destroyed Loudoun Castle in an attack. 
Proceeding up the High Street past the ski slope we started the long slog up Dalquhatswood brae. Once at the top, we were grateful that it was a lovely winter’s day, perfect for walking, for the views over the valley now opened up before us.
Once we had reached the crossroads at Knevocklaw Farm, three of our number decided that, due to time constraints, and the fact that they would have to get home to put their make up on for our pending night out, they had better quit the walk here and return to Darvel via Temple Hill.
Bob and Davie, and Holly, reluctantly, as she didn’t want to leave her pals, now continued on the “Five Miles” as it is known in the Valley although it is actually a 6 and a quarter mile walk. We passed the old country schoolhouse attended by Alexander Fleming and as we sat down on a bench by the Glen Water we were met by Gus who had been doing his grandparental duty by attending a nativity play. 
The rest of the walk was a dawdle with the three of us arriving back in Darvel roughly three and three quarter hours after setting off. However the so called short walk actually turned out to be 17 km long, Davie ending up with a blister because of the hard road surface. 
As a winter walk this was an excellent work-out. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Arrangements for THURSDAY 27th December 2018

Meet at the Cornalees visitor centre at 10am for a clockwise circuit of the Greenock Cut.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Ness Glen 12 December

Alan, Allan, Davie Mc, Dougie, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Paul, Robert

It was dull and a bit dreich as we set off from the car park next to Station Park for the familiar Ness Glen figure of eight. There was a bit of moisture in the air, but hardly noticeable, as we followed the Muck before heading up the road to the footbridge and hence up to Dalcairnie Linn. Little time was spent here as it was decided to have coffee at the bench (all right for some who put on a sprint to get to it first) at Barbeth.
Ten minutes later and we were on our way down to the Craigengillan road where Jimmy took his leave of us and headed back to his car. Elizabeth was in hospital and he was going to visit her, and he did so with our best wishes.
The going up the gorge was better than anticipated with only the heavy leaf cover and slippy wooden walkways to worry about, but with adequate handrails these were negotiated easily. One wee section had succumbed to the weather, but nothing to worry about.
As was to be expected there was a cold breeze blowing off the loch, so we took lunch at the benches outside the Roundhouse café, with the permission of the owner who was just leaving.
Although we had some shelter it was getting cold as we sat, so by half past twelve we were on our way back, taking the higher route to the footbridge at the foot of the glen and then following the path to where it met the tarmac of the Craigengillan road. We were back at the cars three hours and fifty minutes after having set off and had covered about ten miles. The weather had stayed dry with any moisture on our bodies coming from the inside out, indeed some of our number had had to shed layers on the last part of the walk.
FRT was taken in the very hospitable Dalmellington Inn where we accepted graciously their offer of cups of chicken and rice soup. Just what was needed!
This was another good day out.

Arrangements for Panto on 19th December

Meet at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall café at 10am. We'll travel to Oran Mor by underground, planning to be there by 11am. Thereafter, we'll return by bus to Kilmarnock to be at the Jewel by 3.30pm.
**Remember to bring your ticket!**

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Arrangements for the walkers on the 19th Dec.

Meet at Davie's in Darvel at 9.00.a.m. for coffee and scones before departure on a valley walk .
The walk should be completed in plenty of time to allow everyone enough time to return home ,change and make their way to the Jewel in the Crown for 3.30p.m.

5 December - Whitelee Windfarm

(Ian, Malcolm, Paul, Davie M, Davie C, Robert, Gus, Rex,  Dougie, Kenny T, Jim, Kenny R)

A brief report for the record and to fulfil the request of one of the absentee Ooters who was keen to know how "(expletive deleted) miserable" it was.

We met, as arranged, in Eaglesham and were unanimous in our opinion that the Ballageich Hill walk wasn't a goer.  It was raining and the temperature sat at 0 C.  Instead we opted to head for Whitelee Windfarm where we were soon drinking coffee and tucking into cakes and scones - all paid for by our generous treasurer. Beforehand, we had welcomed back Holly after her absence of a few weeks and it was good to meet again the old bloke she brings along.

The visitors' centre staff kindly allowed us to use the facilities for changing, rather than having to hang about the cars. We were even given a key to the shower room.

The decision was made to go for a walk around Lochgoin Reservoir and to have lunch back at the cars - so most of us dispensed with our backpacks.

We headed to the viewpoint where we had a fine 360 degree view of mist and low cloud, but thankfully the rain wasn't amounting to much more than a bit of drizzle.  At this point we said goodbye to Kenny T and Jim - Kenny hurrying back to Freya and Jim going home to prepare for the impending Rangers' home defeat.

Parts of the path were icy, with a coating of rainwater on top but we made good progress round the Reservoir and we completed a 7 mile walk albeit in cold, miserable conditions (I hope that provides sufficient schadenfreude for our absentee) ... but it could have been worse.

We changed back at the centre and the staff had no objections to us eating our lunches in the cafe area, so it was a relaxing, leisurely repast.

FRT was partaken at the King's Arms in Fenwick by all apart from Kenny R and, let it be noted, Davie M who claimed he was saving himself for an evening event.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Arrangements for 12 December

Meet at 10 am in the car park on the left as you approach Dalmellington.  (for any pedants travelling via New Cumnock (they know who they are), it will be the car park on the right as you leave Dalmellington).

We will do the Dalcarnie Linn, Ness Glen circuit.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Arrangements for Wed 5th Dec

As the Eaglesham walk was called off ,it was agreed that we should do it on the 5th Dec. Arrangements exactly as per the previous week.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Arrangements changed for Wed 28 Nov.

Forecast for tomorrow is very poor with rain all day accompanied by very strong winds . WALK CANCELLED . Meet in the Kilmarnock Weatherspoons at 12.30.p.m. Food and strong/ soft drinks for all and sundry without getting absolutely soaked through to your undies.

Monday, 26 November 2018


The cost this year is confirmed at £5.They will be distributed  over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Benwhat (and Benbeoch) 21 November

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Dougie, Ian, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

We experienced the first real wintry morning of the season as we met at the entrance to Chalmerston, so we were well wrapped up against the chill breeze as we set off. On cue it started to rain, but only very lightly and for no time at all, meaning progress was good up the mine road. Jimmy, Rex and Robert were well in front even at this stage and the rest were baffled to see them veer right when they should have gone straight on. They were out of earshot so Kenny the Younger was sent after them to ascertain their intentions. On his return it became apparent that they were going to do Benbeoch, so we left them to it, and the remaining ten headed up and to the left towards Benwhat. The going underfoot was good and, with the wind behind us, the wee memorial stone to Benwhat was reached without alarm. In the past we have taken coffee here, but it was too exposed today so, after inspecting the visitors’ book, well protected in a plastic case, six of us took to the path on the old railway line and headed for Lethanhill. Dougie, Ian, Kenny and Paul decided to go up to the war memorial, agreeing to meet up further along.
The main party stopped briefly for coffee in the shelter of a wee escarpment and could see the others reach the monument and then head back down. It was a day to keep moving so the ten moved off at a modest pace to let the rest catch up. Barbed wire fences and broken bridges were obstacles to overcome but we managed and the track up to the war memorial to the fallen from Lethanhill and Burnfoothill was reached just after midday. Being not long after Remembrance Day (one hundred years on from the end of WW1), it was good to see that the local councillor had laid a wreath and, when the remaining four caught up with us five minutes later, they reported that two wreaths had been left up at Benwhat.
Lunch was taken before setting off down the track towards Waterside and Dunaskin. By this time contact had been made with Robert & Co who indicated that they were walking along the railway line to meet us. They had reached the top of Benbeoch by eleven o’clock and then had gone down the back to continue their walk amongst the old workings. Meeting up at the far end of Dunaskin we exchanged ‘pleasantries’ and set off back down the line. This is the worst part of this walk as the ballast makes for difficult walking and the sleepers are slippy, ask Davie. Nevertheless, we ploughed on and were relieved to come to the road which took us back down to our parked cars, reaching them four hours and ten minutes after having set off. Paul’s technology said he had done 9.6 miles, a good step out!FRT was taken at a very cosy and warm Dalmellington Inn, where we were offered, and gratefully accepted, cups of chicken soup, not to mention the biscuits with our coffee. With hospitality like that, we will be back.

Benwhat used to be here

The others are somewhere over there

Not a day to hang around

The visitors' book

Four at the Benwhat War Memorial

The Lethanhill and Burnfoothill Memorial

A set of old buffers

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Arrangements for Wed 28 Nov.

Meet halfway down the hill on the left side of the Eaglesham village green area at 10.00.a.m. The walk will be back up the hill on the road to the Ballageich hill. Progress over the hill towards the reservoir and eventually circle round past Bonnyton golf course back to the starting point in Eaglesham

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Ayr & Pool 14 November

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Dougie, Gus, Ian, Jim, Johnny, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

The walk had been changed given the poor weather forecast, and it was not wrong. After a coffee at Rex’s we decided to venture out and go for a walk. The rain was not too bad to begin with as we made our way into Rozelle Park, where our first stop was the Art Gallery. But this was closed to allow a new exhibition to be set up, so we spent time in the main building looking at the exhibits there.
The rain had got a bit heavier as we moved on and stayed that way for the remainder of the outing. We followed a trail through Rozelle, one that we have used before, and stopped for a few minutes at the wooden sculptures commemorating the soldiers of WW1, and then moved on up to cross The Loaning and regained the path adjacent to Slaphouse Burn, before emerging on to Maybole Road. We then found the cycle track which took us down to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. From there we walked up to Burns Cottage and back up to Rex’s. Four of our number stopped off at the wee Post Office to buy some beers for the afternoon and were offered and accepted a free dram! One drouthy Ooter had two, not like him at all!
We were well soaked, but dry clothes cheered us up and after our lunch the pool started. Suffice it to say that the contest was keenly contested with a wide variety of skills and encouraging? comments, and probably a record number of foul shots. Malcolm and Ian contested the final which, remarkably, had a lot of good shots and the game went one way, then the other. Just as we thought Malcolm might win, Ian came back with a flourish to be crowned this year’s champion. Well done!
By the time we left Rex’s in late afternoon the rain had stopped but no-one regretted the change of plans for the day. Many thanks to Rex for hosting us at such short notice and for the coffee and biscuits. An excellent host as usual.
For the record, we walked 5km and were out for about an hour and three-quarters.

The finalists

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Arrangements for Wed 21st Nov

Meet in the car park on the left as you approach Dalmellington at 10.00.a.m. The walk will be as for the  14 th Nov.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Change of walk due to very poor forecast.

Meet at Rex's place about for coffee. Help Rex set up the pool table then go for a shortened walk . Return to Rex's place to consume your packed lunch followed by a game or two of pool . Beer etc can be purchased locally .

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Arrangements for 14 November

The lost villages (Benwhat, Lethanhill, Burnfoothill)
Meet at the entrance to Chalmerston opencast, (just shy of Dalmellington), at 10a.m. This is a four and a half hour walk.

Glasgow Murals, Winter Gardens, People's Palace 7 November

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Dougie, Gus, Ian, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny R, Kenny T, Paul, Peter, Rex

The forecast had been for rain and it was raining as we headed for our assembly point at the Counting House in George Square. By half past ten we had had our coffee, and with the rain now off (it was to remain off for the rest of the day), we set off on our walk. Peter however was going to do something different. His intention was to go to the Art Gallery to see the WW1 exhibition and then go for a curry, so we said ‘cheerio’ and we headed down towards Mitchell Street to see the first of the murals. Heading down to Clyde Street we made our way along the riverside path and past the Clutha, taking time to try to identify the characters on the mural there, before entering Glasgow Green and walking up to the Winter Gardens. The original intention of the walk had been to have a last look at the Gardens before they close at the end of the year for renovation (hopefully!). Moving in to the People’s Palace, the time passed quickly as we reacquainted ourselves with the exhibits, and before we knew it, it was time to head up to the Drygate Brewery for lunch. Kenny R took his leave of us as at this point as he had to be back home for childminding.
The Brewery was reached in no time and we enjoyed some fine food and craft beers before we left about quarter to three. Taking in some more murals on the way back in to the city, some made their way to the bus station whilst others headed for the train.
An excellent day out!
Images of the murals are available online by searching 'Glasgow Murals'.
Today’s hero was Jim, who manged to get himself photographed outside the Celtic shop, although he did refrain from going in to the Hoops Bar.

Today’s trivia answers:
Noddy’s girlfriend was Tessie Bear. (The mind boggles at where our conversations lead).
‘Dirty Old Town’ was written by Ewan MacColl about Salford and was made famous by the Dubliners. It has been recorded by a whole host of artists, including Roger Whittaker. Well done, Davie!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Wednesday 7th November

The Drygate Brewery has been booked for lunch at 1p.m.

Falls of Clyde 31 October

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

It was Hallowe'en so Davie went out as the Michelin man
The journey through to Kirkfieldbank saw us encounter quite a bit of rain and threatening skies but it was dry when we set off and the weather quickly improved giving us a bright and mainly sunny day for our walk up to the Falls of Clyde.
We went anti-clockwise for a change and followed the track. Those in front continued to follow the track failing to notice the cut-off to the left that would take us on to the accustomed route, but since they were well ahead of the back markers, they were allowed to continue on their way with the rest deciding to follow on. Not for the first time recently have we missed Holly's sense of direction! It was assumed that the path would eventually join up with the one we should have been on but, as we progressed, we seemed to be getting further away from the river. A couple of signposts pointed to a castle, which we assumed to be Corra, but as we were beginning to wonder about where we were going, Jimmy spotted another sign pointing back towards the river. This wee track took us to an information board which confirmed that we weren’t lost after all. Ten minutes later and we were able to join the path that we wanted to be on all the time, and for the first time we were able to see the river and the falls, just shy of the dam. As it turned out the way we had come up was straightforward with the only disadvantage being the lack of proximity to the Clyde.
Being Hallowe’en, we had wondered whether the falls would offer us a trickle or a treat, and we were disappointed to find that the water was just a trickle. Crossing the dam, we made our way down to a couple of benches overlooking the river for coffee. We could now get good views of the autumn colours in splendid sunshine, meaning that many a photo was taken. Pushing on, we soon passed the power station and were in New Lanark before we knew it.
It was too soon after coffee to stop for lunch, so we continued up the road to find the riverside path. Our leader who shall remain nameless, but has a history in New Lanark, took us down the wrong one to start off with. Most of us realised this and climbed back up to the road, to find the correct one a hundred yards further up. As we entered this path we could see the bold Jimmy in front of us, he had found his way on to the proper path from the last one. As we made our way up the steepish path at the end of this section Rex was delighted to show us a picture he had just taken of a woodpecker. Other ciders are available!
Lunch was taken at the wooden sculptures in the wee park before heading back to the cars. About seven miles in three and a quarter hours was today’s count. We had won a watch with the weather and made our way to the Black Bull in Darvel for FRT where the banter was, as usual, entertaining.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Arrangements for Wed 7th Nov

Meet in the Counting House ( George Square) at 10.00.a.m. where  the walk will be agreed upon depending on the weather. The possible walk will take in some of the murals around the city centre and a visit to the Winter Gardens - People's Palace.
Lunch will be taken in the Drygate Brewery around about  1.00.p.m. ( booking may be necessary ) Allan Sim will coordinate.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Ardrossan (or maybe closer to Seamill) to Portencross 24 October

Allan, Davie C, Jim, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny T, Rex, Robert

As we met at the car park on the coast road the rain came on, not heavy, but with a strong, chilly wind against us on the northward journey, waterproofs, hats and gloves were the order of the day. We hit the beach first, then followed the path, which was well marked, behind the Waterside Hotel and Seamill and on beyond the Hydro. By this time the rain had gone off and progress on the path adjacent to West Kilbride Golf Club was good. By about quarter past eleven we were at Portencross Castle, which was shut, and since there was little shelter there we walked back to the car park where the benches were well sheltered from the wind.
A leisurely early lunch was taken at which point we engaged with an American tourist, who had managed to trace his family back to Kilmarnock in the seventeenth century. Some people have nae luck!
The walk back was easier with the elements behind us and, as luck would have it, by the time we reached the cars, the wind had eased and there were patches of blue sky. The top of Goat Fell could even be seen!
Three hours in total and about six and a half miles.
FRT was to be taken at the Lauriston but, not for the first time, the bar was shut, so we motored on to Irvine and to Wetherspoon’s, where the banter was good.
One of our shorter walks, but we had the cobwebs blown away, got some exercise and breathed in some fresh air, not to mention partaking in the ever more important social aspect of the Ooters. A good day out!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Images and commentary of the walk along the John Buchan Way

featuring Alan McQ, Davie C, Dougie, Gus, Ian D, Ian M, Robert and Rex.

    Had a look around the graveyard at Stobo Kirk following the bus journey from Broughton
     (which cost £3.20 for those of us who had to pay)

    A grim reminder of what lies ahead.

This stained glass window in the oldest part of Stobo Kirk
depicts Merlin being baptised by St Mungo

    The newer part of Stobo Kirk dates from the mid 1800s whilst the Ooters pictured date from the
     mid 1900s

Who can't resist pulling a bell cord?

Setting out on our way along the John Buchan Way

    We missed the company of Holly this week and thought that this collie could deputise.

    Mitch setting a good pace as the rain came on.

    Rain or no rain, it was time for coffee.

    However, the rain dampened Mitch's attempt to have a brew-up over an open fire.

    Revived after a welcome cuppa, we moved onwards.

    These Ooters are about to go round the bend.

    Approaching Stobo Hopehead bothy.

    Those Ooters enjoy a good natter so they do.

    Now more than half-way along the way

    Although only a small number of Ooters made the trip over to Broughton, all agreed it was a very
    worthwhile walk.

    Downhill to Broughton

    This is Broughton Place. Designed by Basil Spence, it was built in 1938 in the style of a 17th-century Scottish tower house.