Thursday, 26 April 2018

Glasgow to Kirkintilloch (Canal Walk) 25 April

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

Those travelling to Glasgow by bus (the majority) were delayed by issues on the motorway and didn’t reach the Concert Hall until about 10.20am. Hence, once coffee had been taken, we were not on our way until 10.45. It had been suggested last week that today’s walk would be six miles, or so, but those, who had been studying the route, were of the opinion that it would be nearer nine.
Nonetheless, we made our way up on to the canal basin at Speirs Wharf and walked down to the Stockingfield Junction at which point we crossed over to join the Forth and Clyde Canal as it made its way to Kirkintilloch. By this time, it was just after noon and we had already covered in excess of three miles and had experienced sunshine and rain showers. It was to be one of those days when jackets were on, and off, and on again, especially when we were hit with an intense hail shower. Disappointingly, we could not help but notice the amount of rubbish in and around the canal. However, the towpath itself was in excellent condition.
The sign said Bishopbriggs was three miles ahead and, with the pace being good, we passed Lambhill Stables Restaurant and Possil Marsh Wildlife Reserve and reached Bishopbriggs at one o’clock. It has to be said that, by this point, Jimmy had managed to shake off his new pal who had escorted him for part of the walk. We hope that he had benefitted from Jimmy’s wisdom.
Lunch was taken at the wee jetty across from the Leisuredome Leisure Centre at which point a decision had to be made. We were still a good four miles or so from our destination and with Davie Mc nursing a sore hip and being sensible about his well-being, he decided to call a halt there and take a bus back to Glasgow. His minders, Jimmy and Peter, joined him as some of the rest pondered their plight.
All the rest decided to plough on, eventually passing the Stables Restaurant before reaching, at last, the outskirts of Kirky. The walking had been easy as the path was flat, but it was not the most interesting of walks.
We entered the Kirky Puffer (Wetherspoon’s) at twenty-five past two and were surprised to find that the fitbits and other gizmos were saying that the walk had been between ten and a half and eleven and a half miles. We settled on eleven miles, and it felt like it. The pub had been recently renovated and was excellent, as were the chips. After a good hour was spent, we went out to the bus stop just as a bus was approaching and enjoyed our wee trip into the bus station, where the bus stopped at stance number 35, a completely new experience for the Ooters. Now that was exciting! Those taking the X76 to Kilmarnock went round to its stance, got on the bus, and it left immediately. Gus, our guide for the day, explained that it was all down to his excellent planning!
Despite the late start, this had been a good, if tiring (at least for some of us), day out.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Some images from the Cumnock to Barony A frame walk

Taps Aff! 18 April (Cumnock to A-Frame)

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

There was a very healthy turnout at the Cumnock Swimming Pool car park prior to our journey up Glen Afton for the Four Tops walk i.e. Blackcraig. Blacklorg etc. However, for a variety of reasons, Allan, Davie Mc, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm and Robert decided that a shorter low-level walk would suffice, and so they set off for Dumfries House and Ochiltree, whilst the rest headed off for the hills. The weather was overcast, with a hint of moisture, but the forecast had predicted an ever-improving scenario.
Following the Lugar, the six reached the estate in jig time and made their way up to the café at Dumfries House for scones and coffee, as had been previously decided. On reaching the entrance to the café they were dumbfounded to see the rest of the guys making their way in. The weather up the glen had been so bad – low mist, rain, and wind - that they had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and had returned to join us.
After a leisurely coffee break, the returnees got changed and joined the walk up to the Barony A-Frame, a traditional lunch spot. Although parts of the route were muddy, they were not as bad as we have seen them and certainly not as bad as last week. The weather by this time was brighter and warmer, although there was a fair wind blowing, not an issue for those who managed to get a seat in the wee shelter for lunch.
Not as dramatic as Paul's pic
The next debate was where to go now. The majority wanted to continue to Ochiltree and get the bus back, but a few wished to return the way they came, since their cars were parked at Dumfries House. Rather than have a schism, it was decided, in the interests of harmony, that we would stick together and retrace our steps. The original six left the guys to admire the grounds of the estate whilst they completed the round trip back to Cumnock.
The day had taken an unexpected turn with those doing the shorter walk walking further (just over eight miles) than those who wished the bigger walk, having been on the go for the best part of four hours.
FRT was taken in the Black Bull in Mauchline where Davie C treated us to the first round in celebration of his eldest daughter’s recent marriage.. Thanks, Davie, and we are pleased that everything went well. We were also treated to sausage rolls and pizza in the Bull. Thanks again!
This turned out to be a three-day pint, or whatever! A good day out.

18 April - Dumfries House

Thursday, 12 April 2018


Lang Craigs Circular 11 April

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

The Jam Session
Kenny R, still in recovery mode following a cold sustained after last week’s walk, joined us for coffee at the garden centre adjacent to the Erskine Bridge. The scones weren’t ready so some of us ordered Empire biscuits with our drinks, so the question is: “When is an Empire Biscuit not an Empire biscuit?” Answer: “When there’s nae jam in it”. Ask Allan! However, he was reassured(?) when told he had got the slimmer’s option.
At coffee, Kenny T came up with a plan, and it was a cunning plan! Rather than park at the spot near the leisure centre, we could drive up to Overtoun House and start and finish there. This would cut out the walk up to the house and the long trail at the end of the walk back to the cars. This plan met with approval and Kenny seemed to know the way.

U-turn if you want to ….” (Remember who said this? Answers on a postcard to Jimmy.)
We bade farewell to Kenny R as Paul and Ian set off. Dougie’s car with Allan and Johnny on board would follow the Kilmarnock five with Gus driving. As we tore along the very busy dual carriageway that is the A82, Gus suddenly stopped at an opening in the middle of the road and Dougie did likewise. Gus then waited for an opportunity to do a U-turn which developed into a three-point turn, much to the consternation of all the fast moving traffic on the road. Dougie managed to follow suit thanks to a friendly white van man who slowed to allow him to do so. There were screams of “Bring me my brown trousers” as all composure had gone out the window. Obviously, the turn-off at Milton Brae, opposite the Renault garage, had been missed, but next time we’ll drive on to the next roundabout. When we arrived at the car park at Overtoun House there were no signs of Paul’s car. A phone call established that they had gone further down the A82 to try to gain access to Overtoun House but had been stymied and were on their way back.

Don't jump!
“Mud, mud, glorious mud…” (From ‘The Hippopotamus’ by Flanders and Swann)
Shaken and stirred by our efforts to get there, we got changed and walked up to the bridge at the house where Kenny explained that dugs (unwittingly we presume) committed suicide by jumping over the parapet and into the ravine. Pausing for a photo shoot, the walk began at about 10.35 and we followed the signage for the Lang Craigs Circular. The weather was dry but overcast, and still not warm, and the cool breeze was against us on our first leg. It had been decided to follow the grass track which would take us up and behind the crags and not take the steeper route chosen on our previous visit. Underfoot was soft with some muddy stretches, but as we arrived at the top of the path we saw a diversion signposted. Ignoring this, as we do, we turned right and up an extremely muddy wee section to meet the hardcore logging road. We could have turned right here and gone further up to the top of the crags for a look, but decided against this, and turned left down past Black Linn Reservoir. Now out of the wind, the going along the road was easy and before long we were passing the Greenland Reservoirs (Nos 2 and 3) and emerged on the farm track where we found the steps down from the crags. This would be a good spot for lunch and so it proved. The next leg should be a dawdle. How wrong we were.
If we thought that we had experienced serious mud before, we were soon to be shocked to find that the path adjacent to the road and along the borders of the field was ankle deep in the stuff (knee deep for Davie, who was giving a good impression of Toulouse-Lautrec). Even those who left the path for the field found the mud had followed them. When we eventually emerged, we took stock and agreed that this was possibly the muddiest bit of walk we had ever been on. Reaching a dry path was a blessing and good progress was made to the farm/quarry road. Here, we took time to clean our boots as best we could, before continuing down the road to where it met Milton Brae, the road we had driven up earlier. Another twenty minutes and we were back at the cars, two hours and thirty-five minutes after having set off, and with a distance of 5.3 miles covered. Not a walk to be repeated, unless after a prolonged dry, hot spell!

The Bull
Having changed into clean clothes, we made for the Brown Bull in Lochwinnoch for FRT. The patter, and the slagging, were up (or down) to the usual standard. And today’s specialist subject was the collective nouns of different species of birds! Impressive, eh!

Dumbarton Rock just in view at lunch stop

The next leg should be easy!

Sock it to them!

The crags from the lunch spot

Reaching the farm road

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Some images of the walk from Maidens to Maybole featuring Alan McQ, Davie C, Davie McM, Dougie, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Kenny R, Paul, Peter, Rex and Robert.