Adventures of the Early Ooters

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Ness Glen 14 March

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

On the week of the Cheltenham Festival, a field of fourteen geldings paraded in the paddock at the football ground car park for the Ness Glen Novices Stakes. Runners and riders (see Gus for the name of Winona’s sister) were well versed on the track as we would be repeating the route as detailed on the 27 December 2017, so we set off at a trot, in dry overhead conditions, on ground which was to be, officially, good to soft. The Promised Land was soon passed and the road up to Dalcairney Linn was taken at a canter. As is our norm now, we decided to have coffee at the benches at Barbeth, with this viewpoint arrived at after an hour. The track down to the Craigengillan road was mercifully quite dry but there was a chill wind on the exposed sections. Good views were had of Fort Carrick and the Dark Sky Observatory as we approached the stables, but the rain started to fall, a disappointment since the forecast had indicated no rain until around 2pm. Nevertheless, the start of the gorge was reached at noon and, after another twenty-five minutes, we were at the dam.
Lunch was taken in the shelter of the dam as the rain was unrelenting, not pelting but just steady, and we had to assume that Loch Doon was still there, as we set off on the return journey without going up to see it. A first for the Ooters doing this walk?
The high road was chosen for the chase down to the footbridge over the Doon, now resplendent with a new deck, and, with the conditions now miserable, the final gallop back to the cars was made in forty-five minutes. Use of the whip for the final straight had been banned, and it appeared that Holly, the only filly in the race, had won by a nose. Dougie, who was odds-on to fall at the first fence, managed to make it round unscathed, whilst Paul managed to avoid the water jump!
The whole walk had taken three and three-quarter hours, matching the quickest time previously recorded by your scribe in September 2016. It was difficult to get a good rub down as the rain was quite heavy by the time the paddock was reached and, since our grooms seemed to have disappeared, getting changed was the hardest bit of the day, being wet from the outside in, and the inside out.
FRT was taken at the Dalmellington Inn where the locals, well in control of the remote, were watching the aforesaid races at Cheltenham. Special mention goes to Alan, whose gallusness procured Kit-Kats for those taking coffee.
The legs had been well stretched, the only real hurdles had been the wet conditions, and the time in the pub was well earned.
Footnote. When the Irvine guys got home, the streets were bone dry.

Coffee stop

The water jump

Bridge over troubled water

Dam provides shelter for lunch

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Annbank Circular 7 March

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

It was about 9.40am when we set off from the Annbank Bowling Club to do the ‘Annbank Circular’ in the clockwise direction. The weather was dull, but dry, as we made our way down Weston Avenue before turning left at Mill Road and heading for the river. Underfoot conditions were reasonably good, with only a few stretches of muddy stuff to deal with, and hence good progress was made until a coffee stop was called for at the fishermen’s shelter opposite where the Water of Coyle meets the River Ayr.
A couple of tricky riverside sections had to be negotiated (as the result of wee landslips) but with the help of his minders (carers, more like) wee Davie emerged stirred and only a bit shaken. We crossed the river at the road bridge on the B744, and then continued on the path past the viewpoint at Wallace’s Seat and on towards our usual lunch spot at the Burns and Wallace Monument, dealing relatively easily with the mucky wee inclines that have taxed us previously. It had taken two hours to get there but, as we enjoyed our sandwiches, light rain began to fall so we didn’t delay too long before crossing the road bridge and heading back to Annbank. The return journey is much shorter given that the big loop in the river is missed out, and we were back at the cars in about forty minutes. The rain had accompanied us all the way back, but it was not an issue and had gone off as we changed for the journey home.
Seven miles in three hours, with two stops. Not bad!
No FRT today as we were going to have another attempt at a curry night in honour of ‘handsome’ Davie’s landmark birthday.
Ever wondered how they make Irn-Bru?
Kenny R couldn’t join us for the meal, but Ronnie was welcomed back into the fold. The food at the Jewel in the Crown was excellent and a good time was had by all. As usual, the diehards retired to Wetherspoon’s for a wee nightcap.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018