Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cairn Table 24 June

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Gus, Jimmy, Johnny, Paul, Peter, Rex
Ready for the climb!
 Jimmy had promised us that it would be ‘an hour up and an hour down’ for our outing today, as we had Rex’s birthday do in Ayr to attend in the evening. Of course, these were ‘Jimmy hours’.
Nonetheless, we set off from the Walkers’ Car Park at Kames in good spirit hoping to get the walk done before the threatened rain came in. It was warm, though overcast, and very quickly jackets were dispensed with, and shirt sleeves became the order for most of the day as we only encountered very brief spells of moisture, and, indeed, as the day went on, the weather got better and better.
The first stop was at the Sanquhar Bridge, just for a blether, for today there was no Davie Mc or Robert to keep up with.
Next stop was a view stop after twenty minutes of climbing, and then at the wee cairn for a coffee, before reaching the well where, as tradition now dictates Davie, aided by Alan, cleared the area from weeds and debris. The summit and cairn were soon arrived at and lunch was taken. It had taken two hours to get there and a lazy twenty minutes were enjoyed.
The tourist track back down was dismissed as Jimmy took us down over open country towards Auldhouse burn. The going was varied with heather, dougals and bogs to negotiate but eventually we were out of the worst of it and on firmer footing as the first of a series of poultry sheds were reached. For the naturalists, on the way down the advanced guard came across a bird’s nest (species to be confirmed by Jimmy), disturbed a stoat-like wee animal, and identified areas of cloudberries.
The poultry farm provided us with a track which eventually became a road and took us to the point where we met the path we have followed in the past when walking back from Glenbuck.
We were back at the cars four hours after starting out and were blessed with warm sunny weather before the Kilmarnock and Ayr cars made their way to the Empire bar for FRT, whereas the rest headed home to save themselves for the evening festivities.
Another grand day out!

We enjoyed a new venue for most of us in the evening i.e. Vito’s in Ayr, and wished Rex a belated happy 70th birthday, before, as again tradition dictates, we finished off the evening in Wetherspoon’s. Thanks for the drinks, Rex!
As always, another successful and convivial social occasion!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Greenock Cut 17 June

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Malcolm, Paul

There was no film crew to greet us at Cornalees on this occasion, only unseasonal damp, cold and dreich weather. As we assembled, a bus pulled up and disgorged primary kids for their day out, nae luck with the Scottish summer!
Gus was the leader today and decided that we would walk in a clockwise direction which would allow us to consider his extension (the mind boggles). This proved to be a good call as the wind and the showers at the start of the walk were behind us. In the distance we could see the clouds breaking and areas of Argyll bathed in sunshine, but, such was the nature of the day, these views were short-lived. Four seasons in one day could be aptly applied to today.
Walking up the Old Largs Road
By the time we stopped for coffee, at our usual lunch stop!, jackets had been on and off a couple of times, but so far so good. The next brief stop was at the point where we would normally turn right to go back over the hill to Loch Thom and back to Gornalees. Gus produced his map and showed that we could go straight on to add a bit extra to the walk. So we walked on until we came to the Old Largs Road where we turned right and followed it up past Whinhill Golf Course until lunch was called for in the shelter of dry stane dyke in a field housing sheep. The weather from coffee to lunch had been OK, but we didn’t delay too long as the clouds were closing in again.
Walking on up the road, we amended the original plan which had been to walk past loch Thom and then take the road back down to Cornalees i.e. the road you would take coming to Cornalees from the Largs direction, when we came to a signpost showing a track off to the right which would take us back to the cars quicker. Gus checked his map again and this route met with approval as it would take us off the tarmac. The track took us to Killochend and followed the reservoir until it petered out within sight of the Greenock Cut track. There was a path over the open ground though and ten minutes later we had climbed up to the track. By this time the drizzle had arrived and persisted for the twenty-five minutes or so back to the Visitors Centre where the weans were still out enjoying? their day.
By this time the weather had closed in again
All in all, the weather had been O.K., the walk had taken about three and a half hours, and the FRT at the Village Inn in Fairlie was convivial.
P.S. Well done to Gus for getting us through the walk without invading anyone’s curtilage!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Four Tops 10 June

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Jimmy, Malcolm, Paul

The sun shines on the righteous

The shorts outnumbered the trousers
At last the weather had picked up and was more like June should be. The walk was Davie’s favourite four tops in Glen Afton which meant us assembling at the waterworks before heading back down the road for a mile or so before taking a right at the cattle grid at Blackcraig and heading for the hills.
Following the old road we made our usual stop for a coffee by the roadside, or not, as Davie Mc declared that the coffee stop would be at Quintin’s Cairn which was now visible in the distance. So we moved on after catching our breath, and reached the cairn in reasonable time. Just for information, Davie reached the cairn and all other stopping points on today’s walk well ahead of the main party and ‘hours’ ahead of the backmarkers. G’on yersel, Davie!
Holly waits patiently for the stragglers
A pleasant ten minutes were spent taking in the view over Ayrshire until Jimmy spoiled it by saying he could see Auchinleck. Moving on, the next big push took us to the trig point at the top of Blackcraig Hill (700m). This section certainly sorted out the men from the boys, but eventually there was a coming together for lunch. Jimmy was able to point out the Arrochar Hills, Ben Lomond, Dumgoyne, Ben More, Tinto, Culter Fell, The Lowthers, Skiddaw in the Lake District, Merrick, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Windy Standard, Ailsa Craig and Arran, and most of the features in between. Underfoot conditions, for those who are interested, were mainly good today but there were some wet and boggy sections to negotiate as Malcolm will testify!
Descending from Blackcraig there was little joy as we knew we had now to tackle the considerable pull up to the top of Blacklorg (681m). Some of us wondered about the feasibility of a bridge or a cable car linking the two tops, but in these days of austerity, it wouldn’t come top of the agenda!
The top sees the joining of three counties, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, and, after another wee view stop, the steep descent came next. “Just follow the fence from now on and you can’t go wrong” was the instruction and soon we were off the hill and heading for the next wee climb up to Cannock Hill (594m) where excellent views of the reservoir and beyond were to be had.
Coming of this hill and heading for Steyamara, Allan and Malcolm decided to take the easier route back to the cars and veered off left taking the ‘track’ that skirts the hill and emerges at the dam. The others reached their destination which affords terrific views back down Glen Afton. (Your scribe, as Jimmy suggested, couldn’t find Steyamara in the map but Craigbraneoch Hill is shown which is in the same position and is listed at 576m).
The main body arrived back at the cars some twenty minutes after the advance guard having taken five and a half hours to complete the walk.
Jimmy suggested the Thistle in Cumnock for FRT but, even although the place was empty, they wouldn’t let Holly in, and it was too hot for her to stay in the car. Our alternative was the Sun, where we were greeted by the barman telling us which beers were aff . There were no nibbles either as they wouldn’t be in until the next day! Our cider drinkers were coaxed to try dark berry cider which looked like Ribena. It was an experiment and didn’t go down well and wouldn’t be repeated. It is doubtful if we’ll return to this hostelry as it is not very convivial, but then again we seem to have exhausted all the other options in this neck of the woods.
Nonetheless, this was a cracking day out.
The postman is taking too long to deliver that letter

The push to the top of Blackcraig

Lunch at the trig point

Heading down from Blackcraig and up to Blacklorg

Waiting for the backmarkers at the junction of the counties

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Bute 3 June

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Johnny, Kenny, Rex, Robert

The intention today was to travel by bus from Rothesay to Kilchattan and walk back, but, just as had happened on our last visit to Bute, the ferry was late and the bus didn’t wait for us. So we took the same route as we had done on 9th April 2014 and walked to the south of the island.
This route took us up the hill at the back of Rothesay, down past Loch Ascog, and over to Kerrycroy, where coffee/lunch was taken. We then followed the shore path through the grounds of Mount Stuart, passing the graveyard for the Bute family, and taking a look inside the old boathouse, where we were surprised to see a very large mirror on the back wall and stalactites hanging from the roof. Davie C, the scientist, decided to taste one. Silly boy! From here we alternated between walking on the shore and on the fields which were extremely muddy in places.
We weren’t as lucky with the bus this time as we were only at the start of the beach in Kilchattan Bay when we saw the bus in the distance. There was no way we could make it so we settled for the option of going up to the Kingarth for a pint whilst awaiting the next one. The pint was rushed as Allan indicated that a bus was due, but when it didn’t arrive, he noticed only then that that bus only ran on non-school days. Despite protesting that this was a non-school day for the Ooters, as is every day now, there was no option but to wait for the next one which would make getting the 4pm ferry very difficult, and since the next ferry today was to be half-past five, it could mean a long time in the pub in Rothesay. Heavens above!
Most of the guys decided to walk along the road back to Rothesay rather than just wait at the hotel. Allan, Johnny and Ian waited, but Ian soon talked himself into getting a lift back to the pier as he was desperate to get the ferry. When the bus did come, you’ve guessed it, it was late, and enabled the main body of the company to reach the War Memorial before being picked up.
Although the bus was late, the ferry was even later, and we arrived in Rothesay just as it was docking. We were back in Wemyss Bay by about five o’clock, where a sub-group headed for the Station Bar whilst the remainder headed off home.

A good day out nevertheless, but surely West Coast Motors and CalMac should talk to each other and made it easier for visitors to the island to get about!
Man talk!

Not easy walking on the sand

Jimmy parts the coos

A new born

The warrior sleeps


Don't do it, Johnny!