Friday, 28 March 2014

Portencross 26 March

Allan, Andy, Johnny, Malcolm

Since Allan hadn’t been too well and Eddie was to make a return after a hip replacement, the North Ayrshire Chapter decided to do the Portencross circuit rather than travel to Wanlockhead. In the event, Eddie reneged, but the four others started from the car park, in overcast, chilly conditions, and headed in an anti-clockwise direction. The sun soon emerged and we took time to stop and observe workers laying protective fleece over drills of potatoes? maize?  whatever. Continuing along the track we couldn’t help notice the amount of water still lying in the fields. ‘Petrocelli’s  house’ was reached and the surrounds were not yet finished and some of the cladding needed treated again. What’s taking them so long? Ambling along the road up to the A78 the chat was of Johnny’s latest technological acquisitions – those who missed this particular walk should brace themselves for the update.
Cutting back in to the Hunterston estate, we made good time up to the road to the power stations and continued along to the usual stopping point on the rocks. We were surprised to see the hive of activity in the area with works being done on the hill behind Hunterston ‘A’. Speculation was that this was wind turbine related, but time will tell.
Having enjoyed lunch, the trek across the track to Portencross Castle was easily negotiated, despite some mud, and the cars were reached by 12.50.
Andy had to go straight home to man a desk selling tickets for the forthcoming performance of ‘The Cheviot, The Stag, and The Black, Black Oil’ by the Largs Players. Andy plays the third sheep from the left – say no more!
The rest were welcomed back to Johnny’s for home brew. Thanks again, Johnny!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Dundonald to Irvine 12 March

Alan, Allan, Andy, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Peter, Rex, Robert
Special guest appearance: Paul
What a change from all the rain!

Johnny seems to have lost his wooden leg
It is amazing what a glorious spring morning and the promise of coffee and bacon rolls does for the Ooters i.e. no call-offs other than for very legitimate reasons. Malcolm and Anne provided the purvey and we are indebted to them for their hospitality. Thanks again folks.
Davie C decides to walk the rest of the way
From Malcolm’s house we made our way on to the Smugglers’ Trail by taking the road past the Nursing Home and continuing on into the woods. The path at this point was still mucky but we were soon on dry ground and before long were at Collennan Reservoir. Tradition was broken here as there was no coffee stop, it being only a short time since we had partaken at Malcolm’s. When the main road was reached we turned right and made for Barassie shore front where a short stop was made. Davie Mc, returning to the fold after illness and not fully fit yet, was able to reassure his wife by phone that he would be O.K. to complete the walk although the walk along the beach to Irvine would prove to be a struggle at times. Still, it was good to have him back – well, somebody had to say it!
Doing what they do best
The walk back to Irvine was made at a very sensible pace and time was taken to enjoy the sunshine and clear blue skies. Lunch was taken at ‘the dragon’ where it soon became standing room only as we were joined by others. By one o’clock we were at the Ship Inn at Irvine harbour and a good hour and a half was had enjoying FRT in the sitooterie. Holly slept most of the time having run herself ragged on the beach and having managed to procure many a bit of peece at the lunch stop.
We were delighted to be joined by Paul, still recovering from his op, and Margaret for part of the afternoon. We wish Paul a speedy recovery and hope it won’t be too long before he is back in action with us.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Durisdeer 5 March

Allan, Davie C, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Rex, Robert

On the way up
The skies were overcast as we met at Durisdeer for the Morton Castle walk. Robert assured us that the weather was going to be fine so we set off in an clockwise direction passing beside the cemetery and following the track up to Kettleton Bothy. When the backmarker arrived - guess who! – he was surprised to see the assembled company having coffee alfresco. “There are three guys in there still asleep”, said Jimmy, explaining the situation. It was later determined that the boys were from Thornhill, ‘getting away for the night’.

And down

By 11.15 we were on our way again and were soon at our highest point, looking down on Kettleton reservoir and beyond to Thornhill. The skies were lighter by this time and fine views were to be had. Having gone downhill and onto tarmac we reached Morton castle for lunch at about 12.45.
“An hour and a half back to the cars”, exclaimed Jimmy who, having left the house without camera or wallet, was still trying to find a friend who would buy him a pint.
Morton Castle in the distance
And closer up
Where's Malcolm's hand? It brought a smile to Johnny's face!

It is a measure of the pace that was set that we got back to Durisdeer in a tad over the hour. No bad thing as the rain had begun, but Robert had been right in that the day up to now had been much better than the BBC had forecast.
FRT was taken at our usual haunt i.e. the Crown in Sanquhar where we were warmly received. One of the regulars even asked after the ‘big man’ and seemed genuinely concerned that he had been poorly. However, the rest of pub asked after the dug.