Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Arrangements for 7 August

Commonwealth Arena
Meet at the Concert Hall cafe at 10.00am. We will walk out to the People's Palace and then continue along London Road to the Arena and Velodrome - for a look. On the way back lunch and FRT will be taken at West Brewery.
N.B. The Crawford/Abington walk will go ahead on 14 August - honestly!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Merrick

Here are a few pictures that show the main points of the day on the Merrick. The early part of the day was a touch dreich as we had to contend with occasional light rain showers. The higher we climbed the more low cloud we had to put up with. Lunch at the top was a relatively short affair as there was enough wind to chill our sweaty bodies. The weather improved as we descended the hill , the low cloud lifted and the sky cleared. Spirits lifted as the weather improved as will be obvious from the pictures at Bruce's Stone and inside the Kirkmichael pub.

Allan, Johnny, Malcolm

Meanwhile the WILDS (Walking In Less Demanding Situations) Chapter of the Ooters left the Nythva Brewery at around 10.30, after coffee and scones of course, and headed up Bank Street, continuing on to Lochlibo Road before turning off at the Old Toll House and heading for Annick Lodge. The weather was very warm with the prospect of rain in the distance, but the rain didn’t hit us until we had crossed the Stewarton Road and made our way to Springside. Not wishing to get too wet we retraced our steps after a couple of hundred yards and walked back in to Irvine down Middleton Road, the rain having abated by this time, before rejoining Bank Street.
A walk of two and a half hours, followed by Killie pie, beans and chips washed down by a Canadian Light Ale and Pilgrim’s Hope.
Please note that the beers are very palatable and go down extremely easily – but leave your cars at home for Oktoberfest, whenever it happens.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Cock of Arran 17 July

Allan, Davie Mc, Ian, Johnny, Malcolm, Robert, Ronnie

The terrific spell of weather continued as we landed at Brodick and boarded the bus for Lochranza. It had been decided on the ferry that the group would stick together and do the Cock of Arran walk, a walk that has been enjoyed often before.
However we were in for a bit of a surprise when Robert and Davie, who were setting the pace and continued to do so for the rest of the day, turned left as we passed by the golf course, rather than go right and follow the path over the hill. Even Holly was initially confused. What is it they say ‘a change is as good as a rest’? There are of course exceptions that prove/disprove the rule.
Spot the odd one out!
We headed over to Fairy Dell, a place that is well known to Robert, allegedly, and continued for as far as we could on the cobbled shoreline before fallen boulders and slimy, seaweed covered stones made further progress too difficult. Finding the rocky path above the shoreline made the walk reminiscent of the closing stages of last week’s on Bute, the outline of which we could see in the distance.
By this time the two scouts were well ahead of the posse and had reached Laggan Cottage in time for Robert to write the first three chapters of his autobiography* covering his birth to puberty, a span of 40 years, before the stragglers arrived.  Davie was his poof proof reader and corrected him on his use of the apostrophe as well as the expletives.
There was some slaggin' at Laggan
We were joined at this point by a young couple and their two boys, aged about 6 and 9, who had travelled up the road from Sannox to Lochranza on their mountain bikes before taking the path over the hill to Laggan and then continuing back to Sannox via the coastal path. Good effort! At least one of our company, sadly missing today, used to be able to do things like that before breakfast.
What is it these days with the Ooters and catching buses? Just as we were enjoying lazing about at the cottage, it dawned on us that, because of the alteration to our usual walk, our lunch stop had been reached later than normal and we were in danger of missing the bus at 3.55. R and D strode out again and were soon off the radar as the rest tried to keep up and still enjoy the walk. Easier said than done, as we maintained a heads down forced march up to Sannox. Most of us made it just in time but the bus had arrived before Ian and Ronnie appeared. There was much fumbling for bus passes as we tried to delay its departure, but, just in the nick of time, the last two made it. It transpired that  R and D had managed to shorten the walk by crossing the river using the ‘stepping stones’ at North Sannox. The rest of us had ploughed on up to the bridge before turning back on to the path. Davie was keen to tell as that Robert had nearly made it dry, falling in only over the last few yards. Shame!
Unlike last week there was to be no premature evacuation –when we didn’t know whether we were coming or going- and, although the boat was in, there was no dispute that our next stop would be the Douglas Hotel. Here there was to be another re-enactment of the closing scenes from ‘Ice Cold In Alex’ as the cold beers were stared at momentarily before being consumed gratefully.
The 6 o’clock ferry was boarded, with Ronnie’s fish supper encouraging others to seek sustenance from the café on board.
*Suggestions for a title include:
‘Have You Got Your Bus Pass, Dear?’
‘Peter Kleboe, My Part in his Downfall’
‘One Bob Notes’

So that Davie doesn’t feel out of it, here are some suggestions for his:
‘Sex and the Kitty’
‘Tales from the Pass of Killiecrankie’
‘Fabulous, Superb, and a few other Word’s’

Further suggestions welcome.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Bute 10 July

Alan, Allan, Andy, Davie C, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Paul, Rex, Robert, Ronnie

Who is that guy in the background?
The last few days had seen the temperatures soar so it was with some relief that the morning dawned a bit cooler as we contemplated the walk over a coffee in the café opposite Wemyss Bay station. The travel plan was similar to a few weeks earlier i.e. the 10.15am ferry followed by the bus down to the War Memorial where we would start by walking up the track adjacent to the memorial until we reached the West Island Way. Turning left we retraced our steps from 5th June up to the old trig point where coffee was taken. By this time the weather was scorching and hats, sun cream and shorts were the order of the day (more of this later).
The WIW was then followed down to Stravanan Bay where lunch was called for on the beach beside the golf course. The views of Arran were disappointingly obscured by a haze but, nonetheless, it was an idyllic place for a break.  
St Blane's
Still following the WIW we crossed the golf course and went past the microlight landing strip until we reached the road (Plan Road) where we turned right and followed it until we reached the path up to the ruins of St Blane’s Medieval Church. Drinks were taken here and shade was keenly sought out.
Alan announced that we had only about another 4 or 5 km to go so the spirits were raised in the expectation of an easy end to the walk. How wrong we were!
A man's gotta do ...
We rejoined the WIW at St Blane’s and headed right, towards the coast, passing by the lochan (Loch na Leighe). When the cliffs were reached the path got a lot more difficult underfoot given the rocky nature of the terrain and care had to be taken with every step. The views of the Cumbraes  and beyond were superb (does Davie Mc have copyright on this word?) but weariness was setting in as we longed to reach Kilchattan to catch our bus. Every headland we came to we hoped it would be the last, but we were disappointed on many occasions until, eventually, we reached our destination with several minutes to spare.
Now, where is Kilcahttan?
Here, sun glasses had to put back on as Ian changed into his tropical shirt. He denied waiting for the bus to Kingston but admitted getting excited about the cruise to Wemyss Bay. Has he ever told anyone about the cruise he took?
However the drama wasn’t over for the day. Since the eleven of us had boarded the bus at Kilchattan and another four at Kingarth, it was half full by the time it reached Mount Stuart. Here a large queue had gathered as the driver frantically phoned his supervisor whilst counting the number of potential passengers. The lad did well because he got them all on, some of us young ooters giving up our seats to more senior citizens, and we reached Rothesay with 2 minutes to spare for the 4.45 ferry. Now, some of us thought that the plan was not to rush for the boat but have FRT in the Taverna and get a later sail back. Robert had other thoughts though as he rushed off, like a man possessed, towards the ferry with Johnny in tow. What else could the rest of us do but forget the motto and chase after them, for no other reason than Robert was one of the drivers? It was a weary group who reached Wemyss Bay and settled in to the Station Bar.
All’s well that ended well!
Another full and satisfying day out on the beautiful (in weather like this) Costa Clyde!
It's a wonder he's let out in the morning!
One last note! The Inverkip chimney is coming down on Sunday 28th at 10.00am, allegedly. Another one bites the dust!

P.S.The answer to this week’s quiz question was ‘Clifton’.
If you weren’t there, you could try and decide what the question was.

Also, a challenge for Davie Mc, the King of the Short Shorts!
Name the bodies associated with the legs! Please note that answers like Shergar, Muffin the Mule, Danny la Rue, a kitchen table and Dolly the sheep will not be accepted, although they may bear a striking similarity.
The Tiller Boys

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Smugglers' Trail 3 July

Alan, Allan, Andy, Davie C, Davie Mc, Ian, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex

A change was made to today’s walk with the proposed journey to Abington put in abeyance for a week or two in favour of the Smugglers’ Trail from Dundonald to Troon.
Smugglers' Trail as opposed to....
The meeting place was Malcolm’s, where Anne had surpassed herself (although she quickly recovered) by providing tea/coffee, fruit juice and bacon rolls. A standard has been set yet again! Thanks to Malcolm and Anne for their hospitality.
We then drove down to the car park at Dundonald Castle and followed the designated trail from there. The day was warm and overcast at this stage but brightened up as the first stop of the day was reached at the reservoir. After a 5 minute rest we were on our way down towards the main road and followed this for about a mile before cutting off and heading towards Fullarton Woods where coffee (lunch for some) was taken on the benches at the play area.
Off we went again past the Rugby Club, down to Crosbie Churchyard and then across Royal Troon Golf Course towards the beach where another obligatory stop was made for whatever was left to eat or drink.
...Budgie Smugglers' Trail
The walk along the shore was very pleasant but the beach was relatively deserted as the recent weather had not encouraged the throngs to the seaside. The local Council had obviously been working on the sand as it was in pristine condition for anyone who was brave enough to venture forth for a paddle.
Next target was the bus stop for the trip back to Dundonald where FRT was taken in the pub and, since the kitty was healthy, it became a 3pd.
It was noted that Holly had been limping during the walk, something that had happened the night before. Davie said that he didn’t want to take her to the vet in case he sorted her but put him down.