Friday, 22 May 2015

Some perfect images from The Smugglers' Trail

A perfect morning in Dundonald

A perfect display of Bluebells in the wood

A perfect way to cool off

A perfect illustration of some auld men sittin' doon

A perfect scunner. Waiting for Peter in the biting north-westerly on Troon beach

A perfect end to the walk - heading for the pub in Troon

Smugglers' Trail 20 May

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Ian D, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Peter, Rex, Robert

Thanks to Anne and Malcolm for providing coffee and bacon rolls prior to the walk, it was very much appreciated. Welcome also to Ian who was joining us for the first time.
Setting off from the car park at Dundonald Castle we soon came across the signpost telling us to go left to follow the Smugglers’ Trail. We went right! No worries though, as this was familiar territory and the path led us past the ruins of Auchans Castle and continued up as far as Hillhouse Quarry. The path came to an abrupt end with a warning sign indicating danger ahead. We wouldn’t be the Ooters though if such warnings were heeded and some of us went up to peer into the abyss which is the quarry.
Who remembers 'Young at Heart'?
We had little option at this point than to retrace our steps as, since the quarry was expanding, the path we had intended to take was now inside the fenced off area. And so we followed path after path trying to regain the correct trail and ultimately were in touching distance of our starting point before we eventually found ourselves heading in the right direction and finding the Smugglers’ Trail. The diversion had taken us over half an hour but no harm was done since the walk through the woods was very pleasant with the bluebells out and with the trees sheltering us from the wind. Following the Trail, we made our coffee stop at Collennan Reservoir, as we always do.
From there it was down to the main road which we followed up to Loans. Davie Mc suggested a slight deviation here and so we turned right and headed towards Troon rather than continuing up the main road and turning off towards Fullarton Woods. However, his memory is beginning to go (it comes to all of us), and the path he thought we could follow did not exist. Again no harm done as we turned up Wilson Avenue and entered the woods from there. Lunch was taken on the park benches in front of Fullarton House.
The route then took us down to the remains of Crosbie Kirk and over into the South Wood emerging, as we did, next to Lochgreen House.  It was then straight on and over Royal Troon Golf Course to meet the beach. The walk up the beach was bracing with many a cobweb being blown away and we were mindful that Peter was lagging behind. Not the corn this time, but the wrong boots. Sounds like a cue for a Wallace and Gromit film.
I see three ships....and a dug!
Arriving in the town, we had plenty of time before our bus back to Dundonald, so we partook of FRT in McKay’s very excellent beer garden.

Our evening out to celebrate Johnny’s 65th was a very convivial affair indeed. Thanks again to Johnny and Davie C for buying rounds and congratulations to Davie’s daughter on her recent exam success.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Coran of Portmark 13 May

Alan, Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex

Heading for the final push to the top
The morning was dry and the forecast good for our return to the Coran of Portmark. Leaving the Green Well of Scotland just after 9.30 we made decent progress up to the remains of the old mines where, as usual, we partook of coffee. Moving off the track and onto the hillside, it became apparent that underfoot conditions would be slippy, given the recent rain, but we ventured on regardless, negotiating the steeper parts, and there were a few, with frequent view stops. Davie was well in front, now there’s a surprise, and made the top at least 10 minutes before the usual rear guard arrived. Up top (623m), the weather was dry with a wee chill to the breeze, but we still hadn’t encountered the sunshine that was promised.
The Magnificent Seven?
Davie wished to do more but Rex had an appointment with his dentist and needed to be home by the middle of the afternoon, so we said our cheerios to Davie and Holly as they set off to go as far as Meaul (695m), and headed back down (for once) the way we had come up. The descent had to be taken with care due to the slippery conditions, and one or two trousers bore the evidence of a slip.
Nonetheless, we were back at the ruins in little over forty-five minutes and had a restful and leisurely lunch stop.
Remembering the day Jimmy took us down via Black Craig!!!
The cars were reached about half past one. Rex set off to get titivated for his afternoon liaison (one wonders about the nature of the canal he was getting rooted) and the rest of us, minus Davie of course, took FRT in the Dalmellington Inn where we joined in the celebrations as one of the locals, who was sitting next to us, saw a couple of his horses win races.
A good day out!

Davie's photos below
coffee stop

Loch Doon from the approach to Meaul

Loch Doon Castle (look closely)

Green Well of Scotland

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Not the Greenock Cut! 6 May

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul, Rex

As usual, Davie does the walk in jig time!
Another tall story. Rex has heard it all before!
As you know, Cornalees can be approached from the main road or from the Brisbane Glen road. When the advanced guard turned off the main A78, a sign was seen which said that the road was closed, except for local access. We continued on regardless and were astounded to see that the normally quiet car park was choc-a-bloc with trucks, cars and huge caravans. This, as we discovered, was the paraphernalia required to film scenes for the forthcoming series of ‘Shetland’ and not, as we had hoped, for Ooters-The Movie. Getting parked was proving difficult, but Rex was having greater difficulty, as he had come up the Brisbane Glen road and found that the road down to Cornalees was shut off for filming. By the wonders of modern technology we were able to make contact with him, and since the film crew were unable to offer us parts as extras, we showed a remarkable amount of compassion and agreed to meet him back at Portencross to do the circular. (We had thought of applying the motto but, since we needed his kitty money, it was decided that this was a better option).
The walk was done in the anti-clockwise direction and having set off at eleven, we were back at the cars at quarter to two having stopped at our usual coffee and lunch places. We had experienced a couple of showers but, all in all, the weather was kind to us again.
FRT was taken at Wetherspoon’s in Irvine.
A decent day out after all!

Just a picture to fill up the blog!