Saturday, 6 January 2018

Tarbolton 3 January

Alan McQ, Alan S, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

Twelve Ooters met in Tarbolton and got kitted up for a wet morning before setting off for Tarbolton Woods. Having gone a hundred yards or so, a black Mercedes came hurtling towards us. Oh, yes, the Rex man had cometh! Since compassion is our middle name, and since we are at the stage where we can’t remember the motto, we waited at Hamilton’s yard for him to catch up, and to our astonishment, he had come without a note from his mammy for being late.
As we passed the war memorial and headed along the minor road, umbrellas were to the fore, as the promised rains had arrived. Alan McQ then took us to the right and up a muddy track and into the woods. Underfoot conditions were very wet, and it was with some relief that we gained some height and emerged on to tarmac at Middlemuir Caravan Park. This seemed to throw our leaders as we didn’t really want to be there. We eventually made our way out of the park, turned left, and headed up the road towards the B743, but spotting where we should have been, Alan took us off to the left and over a paddy field towards Coilsfield Mains Farm, where we turned left and headed down to the Water of Fail. As we assembled on the wee bridge we had options to consider i.e. whether to continue up to Failford or to simply head back to the cars. The majority had had enough of the conditions, so we re-entered the woods and followed the track above the river. This, itself, proved challenging as the narrow path was on a slippy slope and we were relieved to find level ground for a coffee stop. Fortunately, the rain had stopped for the duration of our stop, giving us ample time to recharge batteries and to inspect the start that had been made to the Ooters retirement village, watched over by our guardian angel.
We followed the very muddy Fail (the amount of good soil washed off the adjoining fields must be a concern who those who earn a living from the land) back up towards Tarbolton, eventually emerging on to the road leading up to the war memorial and back to the cars.
By Ooters standards, this had been a short walk, two hours and about four or five miles, but it had been enough given the conditions. At least we got it dry to get changed and move up to the Black Bull for a very convivial FRT.
As per usual the chat was lively, diverse, and humorous but there was a rare five-minute spell when everyone’s attention was focused on the one subject, and that subject was a Humblebum*. Evidence was trawled by our leader for the day from the internet aka the bush telegraph, and the subject was discussed, and indeed drooled over, at length, or should it be, at a distance!
Eventually it was time to go home, at an unusually early time of the day. Nonetheless, despite the walking conditions, the social aspect of the Ooters had prevailed, and won the day, yet again.

*The Humblebums consisted, at various stages, of Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and Tam Harvey. Say no more!

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