Adventures of the Early Ooters

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Maidens to Maybole via Mochrum Hill 15 February

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

We met at the Green in Maybole in order to get the bus to Maidens to start our walk. Despite words of caution from the locals, the bus arrived on time and off we went on a tour of rural Carrick before we alighted on a dry morning, but with a chill wind blowing. Alan McQ, (teachers get far too many holidays these days), was using his local knowledge to lead us on a walk which was to take us over Mochrum Hill (270m, 886ft) and back to our starting point. Our friend Ian Hill had taken us up Mochrum Hill before, but for many this was to be a new excursion.
Following the road adjacent to the beach, we made our way up the track and then followed the old railway line until we emerged at the Cat Gates into Culzean. From there we followed Alan as he took us on towards the road just north of the Swan Pond and up to the Walled Garden, where we could see substantial works in progress. Coffee was called for at the picnic benches.
The next stop was at the memorial to the Kennedys, a feature that had gone unnoticed to us in the past. Leaving Culzean at the main entrance point, taking note of new landscaping , we crossed the A719 and took the track which relentlessly took us up towards the hill. When the track ran out, the going got trickier over tufts and the like, and we were grateful that, at this time of the year, we didn’t have the bracken to contend with. With our goal in sight we could see two or three ways to tackle the final climb, but those in front went for the direct and steeper route through some dense heather. The rest followed a bit behind, keeping Jim company on the ascent.
An alternative view of Robert's patience!
Little time was taken to enjoy the view at the trig point as the wind made it a cold spot so we continued on to the well-defined path which would take us down the other side. Alan found us a secluded, sheltered spot for lunch in the woods and as we recovered after our climb and enjoyed our pieces, we could hear light rain starting.
No rest for the wicked! It was soon time to get a move on down through the woods and following the path through thick and thin before emerging on to more open countryside and onto a track which took us down to the B7023. By this time there was a persistent drizzle and, rather than walk along this busy road, Alan took us across the road and up the farm track to Trees Farm before continuing back towards Maybole via Gardenrose Path.
We arrived back four hours and a few minutes after having set off and having covered 15km (nearly nine and a half miles in old money). For convenience, we decided to partake of FRT at the Greenside, a haunt we have used before, but perhaps not again. Unusually, the place was busy with noisy locals, not an issue, but the juke box was blaring, making conversation, even for the Ooters, almost impossible. Add to this the very limited selection of draught beers, it made a disappointing end to an interesting and varied walk. We left after one drink.
Thanks to Alan for leading us today, a new walk to add to the Ooters portfolio. We look forward to more walks in the future.

Some images fro Mochrum Hill

The Green, Maybole before we set of on the bus.

On the old railway.

First blossom of the year

Approaching the Cat Gates

More snowdrops

Kennedy graves, Culzean

Starting the climb

Coming through the scrub on Mochrum Hill

This one is just fo Bob. Waiting on the summit for the rest to catrch up.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Arrangements 22nd February

Meet at Cumnock swimming pool around about 10.00.a.m.  The walk is from Cumnock to Ochiltree and return. The walk will take in Dumfries House gardens and the new bridge. Bring bus passes to return by bus if the weather is poor.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Lochwinnoch Circular 8 February

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

We assembled at the Visitors Centre car park at Castle Semple Loch on a cold, but dry, morning. The constant rain of the previous day meant that we could expect the paths ahead to be muddy, and we were not disappointed.
Taking the lochside path, rather than the cycle path, we ventured up to the wood carvings and, unusually, took time to stop for a blether. Moving on we went up to the cycle path, crossed over it, and went up the track for Parkhill Wood before descending to the Collegiate Church, where again we stopped for a look, and also took in the newly built cascades on the burn. It was then back on to the cycle track for a wee while until we cut off right following the track round the base of Kenmure Hill before stopping for coffee at ‘the Globe’ (and Shakespeare wisnae in!). At least most of us did this. Five of our more intrepid members went up to the Temple (folly) on the hill for their stop, before coming down the opposite side to meet up with the rest on the track. We followed this path beside the Black Cart up to where it joined Station Road, Howwood, and proceeded into the town. However, it was at this point that Kenny R, suffering from a sporting injury (silly boy!), decided to turn back, promising to meet up with us when we returned to the cars.
Making our way up the steps we reached Bowfield Road for the pull up to the entrance to Bowfield Country Club before turning right and going down a wee bit before taking a left at the sign taking us towards Newton of Belltrees. The initial part of this section was particularly wet but we still made good progress up the hill before the path levelled out and we eventually reached the tarmac of Belltrees Road, taking lunch at the side of the road.
Moving on, we continued up to Auchengrange, where the snowdrops were out in force at the big house. From here we dropped down the road to the big roundabout and made our way back down to Lochwinnoch, turning right for the Visitors Centre, where, true to his word, Kenny R was waiting for us.
Three hours and thirty-five minutes, and nine and a half miles, give or take.
FRT was taken at The Brown Bull in Lochwinnoch.
Another good day out!

Some images from the Lochwinnoch walk