Thursday, 30 August 2018

Some more images from Cumbrae

Cumbrae 29 August

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

Ten Ooters were at the booking office at Largs when the wee ferry pulled in at 9.30. Assuming it was the 9.45 ferry, they decided it was safe to board and wait for the rest there. No sooner had they sat down than the ferry departed. What is the Ooters motto again? Anyway, whilst crossing, contact had been made with the five boys* who followed soon after and all were united at the Cumbrae slip by 9.55.
Like last week, overnight rain had given way to bright dry conditions, and with a breeze blowing, no time was wasted in setting off in an anti-clockwise direction. Progress was good, but at a more sensible pace than we normally cover this section, as normally we are racing up the road to catch a ferry. As we approached Fintry Bay, a splinter group took to the beach and took a coffee break, whilst the rest stopped at the picnic benches next to the toilets for their sustenance.
Fifteen minutes later and we were on our way again and entering Millport just after midday. It had been previously decided that we would head for the Garrison café and take a light lunch there, and so we continued through a very quiet Millport to our lunch stop. Most of us partook of the food on offer, and good value it was too, whilst those who had brought a packed lunch ate theirs in the gardens at the front. Robert was keen to add our steps to the Moon Walk total and found the paperwork hanging on the wall. At a conservative guess, if there was fifteen of us each doing about twenty thousand steps on the day, that would equate to three hundred thousand in total. Good effort!
By this time the sun was pleasantly warm, and it was a thought to leave the café and get the legs going again. Johnny tried, in vain, to entice us to take the bus, but he reluctantly joined us as we left the Garrison. A further change to our routine followed in that we did not take the road up to the Glaid Stone but continued along the front and veered off up Ferry Road. This shortened the walk back and reduced the climbing by a fair bit, and so we made it back to the slip at five past two. The sage said four hours and ten minutes, the technology averaged out at just over nine miles.
FRT in Wetherspoon’s finished off an enjoyable day out.
*Fry’s Five Boys chocolate was sold from 1902 until 1976. There was only one boy, Lyndsay Poulson, but there were five images of him showing different expressions in anticipation and experience of eating the chocolate bar: Desperation, Pacification, Expectation, Acclamation, Realization.


Thursday, 23 August 2018

More Arran photos

Dun Fionn and the Clauchland Hills 22 August

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Jimmy, Kenny T, Paul, Robert

The forecasters had got it right because the overnight rain had cleared by the time we reached the ferry terminal at Ardrossan. Allan, Kenny and Paul had boarded and were wondering if anyone else was coming as the time moved on, but, at the last minute, the rest of the guys appeared – roadworks and diversions in Irvine. The new terminal in Brodick is modern but you need to watch your head when disembarking and the walkway goes on forever, not handy for the less able.
Anyway, today’s walk should have been straightforward! Leaving the terminal, we turned left and headed up to the turn-off towards Corriegills, and by this time the weather was pleasant, meaning that we were down to shirt sleeves. Following the access road, we made good progress, not paying much attention to a wee sign on our left, not too far from the start of the hill path, saying that the route from Lamlash to Brodick was closed due to logging. As we reached the aforementioned path, we met a couple coming the other way who advised us that the going was difficult, but possible with care. So, we dodged under the rope barrier across the path, ignored the warning sign (as is our wont), and started to climb. After a wee while, we could hear trees being felled well above us, but the biggest problem was the timber and the debris covering the path. The logs (to be fair there were few of them) were crossed fairly easily, but the branches, which the machines had trimmed from the trees, caused us issues. Not easy walking at all! As we carefully made our way, we met a bloke coming the other way who was from the Yarm School in North Yorkshire. He sympathised with us and asked, if we met a group of school kids, that we tell them to turn back and not consider this route. He would meet up with them back in Brodick. Eventually we emerged back on to the established path just short of the bench and paused here to regain our breath and composure. Davie, of the short legs and the shorts, had found the going particularly difficult. The climb to the trig point on Dun Fionn took us no time at all and we were there just after midday.
By half -past, fed and watered, we were off again, noticing that the school kids had appeared, and Jimmy took time to relay the message, before we started over the Clauchland Hills. Before too long we encountered the same issues as before with the path covered in debris, but we persevered and were clear of all obstructions after a few hundred yards. The going from now on was straightforward, but we had forgotten how hilly this section was, or maybe we are just getting older! When we reached ‘Linda’s Seat’ at the highest point we met two mountain bikers heading the other way and on to Lamlash and advised them of the issues ahead. These guys were fit and up for it, but, when we met them on the boat home, even they admitted that carrying their bikes across the various obstructions had been demanding. Anyway, it was downhill all the way until we crossed the main road to meet the forest/quarry road that would take us to Glencloy. We stopped, however, at the picnic bench at the entrance and spent a pleasant twenty minutes finishing our sandwiches before moving on.
The road climbs steadily up to the quarry which has grown in size since our last visit, and, as we passed it, and progressed up the incline, Robert met an old neighbour of his coming the other way with his son, granddaughter and dog. They spent a few minutes catching up before it was time to move on, and, from here on, it was easy downhill walking. Jackets had to go on for fifteen minutes as we approached the burn because of a light rain shower, but no need for waterproof trousers. As we crossed the burn there were more logging roads built, but we quickly established our bearings and found the path that would take us on the last leg of our walk up towards Auchrannie in the sunshine.
We reached ‘the Douglas’ in Brodick four hours and twenty-five minutes after having started, and the distance was just shy of ten miles. A weary group of Ooters took FRT here, and on the boat home!
Despite all, this had been a good day out in decent conditions, but we’ll maybe avoid a repetition until all the logging is finished. It is hoped that the contractors clear the paths before they leave the area!

We could have been on Holy Isle today!

Some images from Arran walk

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Arrangements 29th August.

Meet beside the Gogo burn,Largs around 9.30.a.m.,certainly on time for the 9.45.a.m. Ferry.
Wak in an anti clockwise direction around to Millport where an optional lunch can be enjoyed in the Garrison restaurant . The return to the ferry can be via the Gladstone route or a slightly lower route, or even by bus.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Burns Supper 2019 Provisional Arrangements

If I remember correctly, the following was agreed at the Taj last Wednesday night – allegedly!

Chair …. Dougie

Speeches, Readings and Entertainment
Immortal Memory ….. Alan McQ
Toast to the Lasses ….. Allan
Toast to the Ooters ….. Davie C
Address to the Haggis …. Paul
Readings …. Davie Mc and Jimmy
Recitations, songs etc …. All others

Accordion …. Ian
Guitar …. Ronnie

Haggis a la Tin …. Rex
Tatties and Neeps …. Alan
Soup …. Gus
Apple Pie/Crumble …. Kenny T
Cheese and Biscuits …. Allan

Wednesday 23rd January 2019 tbc


Thursday, 16 August 2018

Troon 15 August

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

Many thanks to Malcolm and Ann for their hospitality in providing coffee and bacon rolls for us prior to our walk. Much appreciated!
The walk was scheduled as our usual Smugglers’ Trail outing, but Derval Davie didn’t fancy the muddy track over the hill or the walk along the main road through Loans, so he suggested a circular walk starting at Fullarton Woods. We drove down, parked the cars, and set off in a slight drizzle. The weather forecast was for heavy showers but, in the event, the drizzle stopped within a few minutes and there was to be no more rain during our walk. In fact, the weather improved as the day went on, and we finished in warm sunshine.
But to our tale, or trail. We weren’t sure where Davie was leading us, but our first stop was at the wooden sculpture in the woods in memory of a young lad, Lachlan, who had died a couple of years earlier having fallen from a tree whilst playing in the woods. A couple out walking their dogs obligingly related the story to us. From there we started heading in to Troon and were surprised when we didn’t veer off just over the railway bridge and take the cycle path up towards the Pow Burn, as Davie had mentioned this earlier. Marching on we eventually came to McKay’s Bar, passed it by and made a beeline for Morrison’s. All was now revealed! Davie had forgotten his peece and needed to buy sandwiches. Aye, auld age disnae come itsel’.
Moving on we headed for the harbour but crossed over just beyond the Anchorage Bar and made the shore just south of the Ballast Bank. A decision was made (by someone) that we should turn right and go over the bank before turning back, and this we duly did. Just before midday we reached the public toilets where we commandeered the benches for a rest, brunch, lunch, whatever. The next stage was indeed to follow the Smugglers’ Trail in the reverse direction, along the beach and over the golf course before heading for Crosbie Kirk and the walk back to the cars.
The walk had taken about three and a quarter hours and was a tad over eight miles, allegedly! Those of us who had not taken their lunch earlier availed themselves of the picnic benches whilst the remainder set off home to prepare for the evening’s curry at the Taj in Prestwick to gloat at, commiserate with, celebrate Alan McQ’s imminent return to the chalk face.
We were joined for our meal by Francesco, Rex’s son in law, who spoke better English than some of us from the hinterlands of Ayrshire. Good to see him again! A most enjoyable time was had. We really should do this more often!
(see Alan's pictures below)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

New email address

Alan S has a new email address:

Please update your records.

Arrangements for Wednesday 22nd August 2018

For those who are not working, meet in Ardrossan for the 9.45am ferry to Brodick.
The walk on Arran can be decided on the day.
Some images of the walk around Troon featuring Alan McQ, Alan S, Allan, Davie C, Davie McM, Dougie, Gus, Jim, Jimmy, Johnnie, Kenny T, Malcolm, Peter, Rex and Robert

Who's paying?

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Culter Fell, 8 August 2018

Alan McQ, Davie C, Davie McM, Gus, Ian and Jimmy

Only six intrepid Ooters were available to make the the longish car journey down the motorway to climb one of our favourite hills, namely Culter Fell. Davie McM remembers that the first time we climbed this hill, there were likewise only six of us, namely Bob, Davie, Peter the original three Ooters who were joined that day by some newcomers to the group Jimmy, Johnny and Rex. I wonder how many walks we've done since then?
It's interesting to note that although the hill is spelled Culter Fell, the village with its inn and school is known as Coulter with an extra 'o'.
The weather forecast for the day was promising; rain was not forecast until 4pm; however we  experienced the whole gamut:- sunshine, mist, cold wind and latterly quite heavy rain. However most of the walk  was extremely pleasant indeed. There are nine old grouse buts between the bottom of the hill and the top of the first rise and a rest was called for at each and every one; after an hour and a half in the car, it fairly tests your lung power on the first bit of the Fell. However we reached the trig point about an hour and a quarter after we'd set out which, believe it or not, was about the same time we took almost 13 years ago. Not bad for a group of old joukers (AMcQ excluded from the 'old').
We enjoyed a cuppa on our usual slope looking down in to the valley. Visibility was good and Loch Talla and Dollar Law could be seen, although wisps of mists were floating past us as we sat, creating a very picturesque scene.
After coffee we set off, not down towards the reservoir this time, but down in a northerly (I think- compass is no' very good!) direction and then veered east to take in King Bank Head. By this time, the wind was getting up, indicative of the pending rainstorm. We dropped off the top to shelter and have lunch and luckily we had just finished eating when the rain hit us accompanied by mist.
We wasted no time in retracing our tracks back down to the bottom of Culter  and then proceeded back down the track to Birthwood  Farm and the cars. All in all, it had taken about four and a quarter hours  and by the time we got back the rain had ceased and we were in jovial mood.
A good hour's banter and FRT were had in in the Crown Hotel in Biggar, a very nicely appointed pub. Davie McM brought in a football quiz he had composed which Gus and Jimmy made short work of. However the challenge is: Can our resident Scottish football expert, Mr Paul Crankshaw of that ilk, achieve a perfect score? We shall see.
report: DMcM
photos: Alan McQ