Thursday, 25 February 2016

Sorn to Kingencleugh - Kenny R's photos

Sorn to Kingencleugh 24 February

Alan, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Ian, Jim, Johnny, Kenny R, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Peter, Robert

 The morning was cold with a light frost but disappointingly dull overhead as we met at Sorn. A decision was made to leave Blacksidend for better overhead and underfoot conditions and so we set off back up the main road before heading towards the war memorial at Catrine. I say we, but Peter who had joined us at Sorn, had left by his car saying he had business to attend to. As we paused at the memorial Peter reappeared and joined us for the walk up to the bridge at Howford where, as tradition dictatates, we took coffee whilst ‘admiring’ the graffiti on the bridge.
Having made our way down to the old bridge and up the road to our cut-off point for the Ballochmyle Viaduct, Peter suggested a different low-level route to the viaduct. Johnny, Kenny T and Jim joined him, whilst the rest took the easier path up to the structure. The main group waited, and waited, for Peter’s party, and eventually got fed up and decided to continue, but a few minutes later, compassion got the better of us and we stopped whilst Malcolm made contact by phone. They were only a few minutes away so we waited and let them catch up after their ‘interesting’ excursion. Peter then turned back to see to his business and we weren’t to see him again.
You tak the low road, we'll tak the high road!
Peter's deviation from the high road.  A fine view of the viaduct.

Deciding not to go all the way up to the Haugh, we made our way up to Kingencleugh, where, as tradition now also dictates, we took lunch on the railway steps. Making our way back to Howford by the path adjacent to the main road, we then retraced our steps back to Catrine. Having witnessed some dippers, Robert saw a wee bird with a yellow breast and asked its name. Not being satisfied by Hughie, Kenny sensibly said it was a grey wagtail. Robert was not convinced and so the discussion continued. Where is Jimmy when you need him anyway?
From Catrine we took the route up past the Voes and along the River Ayr walk back to Sorn. Almost exactly four hours from start to finish. We had encountered some short sleety rain at times but generally couldn’t complain about the conditions today.
FRT was taken at the Black Bull in Mauchline where Jim produced a picture of a grey wagtail on his phone, complete with yellow breast. Anyone for humble pie?

It was suggested that we would abandon next week’s walk if Jimmy was still no weel, in favour of us visiting him for the day. We would arrive at Jimmy’s about 9am and would be happy to accept his bacon rolls and coffee, although sliced sausage would be an option for some and Jim’s dietary requirements would need to be taken into account. We would settle for some nibbles and a few beers up to lunchtime when soup followed by pie and beans would suffice along with a couple of bottles of Jimmy’s best malt whisky. Aiming to leave about three o’clock, we were sure this would perk Jimmy up i.e. he would feel a thousand times better once we had left. We’re keeping our options open Jimmy, but maybe you’ll now have a miraculous recovery before next week. All the best!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ness Glen 17 February

Allan, Davie Mc, Gus, Jim, Johnny, Kenny T, Robert

Dalmellington had a fair smattering of snow as we met in the car park next to the football ground. Overhead conditions were dull, but dry, as we set off just before ten o’clock following the path next to the Water of Muck for our figure of eight walk. Underfoot conditions were tricky in places with melting snow lying on mud, but we made good progress up the Straiton road, deciding to stay on it rather than taking the shortcut over the footbridge to the road up to Dalcairnie Linn. We didn’t stop for coffee at the Linn but continued up to the bench at the top of the hill for our elevenses. Soon we were off again heading for Craigengillan and then for the gorge itself.
We had wondered about whether it would be passable today but our passage up the path was trouble free although caution had to be observed with the slippy rocks. Some erosion had taken place since our last visit but nothing dramatic. Lunch was taken at the bench at the Round House CafĂ© at Loch Doon. Up until then the only overhead moisture we had had to contend with was the melting snow falling off the trees above us, but, as we lunched, we got some sleety rain, and hence, by twelve forty we were ready for the return journey by the ‘high road’.
The steepish descent beyond Tracy’s bench had to be taken with care but before too long we were at the footbridge over the Doon which was now closed due to its dangerous state, not surprising since the last time we crossed it there were many planks missing. Crossing at the road bridge, we reckoned that we would be back at the cars in forty-five minutes and this is what we achieved in what, by this time, was lovely winter sunshine.
FRT was taken at the Dalmellington Inn which seemed to have had a wee bit of refurbishment, but was bereft of the usual punters following the racing, although, of course, it was on. We were given three bowls of crisps with our drinks and when some coffees were ordered, they came with shortbread and Kit-Kats. Well done to the owners for their hospitality although Ranger Jim got the idea he wasn’t welcome when the juke box started playing a variety of traditional Irish songs including ‘Forty shades of green’ and ‘When Irish eyes are smiling’!
One of the topics of the day was the news of tragedy of the missing walkers down in the Southern Uplands. Little did we know at the time that the area concerned was Durisdeer, one of our favourite haunts.
This had been a good day out in generally very decent overhead conditions. According to him that knows these things, it had taken us four hours and seven minutes, with the last stretch along the tarmac giving his hip a real pounding.

The path next to the Muck had been badly eroded at this point

Easier going up than coming down

Traditional view up the glen

Slip-sliding down the path

It's freezing in there, but see if Holly cares!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Irvine Walk and Burns Supper 10 February

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

We met at Johnny’s before our pre-Burns Supper walk. Many thanks again to Johnny for the coffee and scones and for being a martyr in that he did not join the walk, but stayed behind to ready his big room for the evening festivities.

On a bright, cold morning we ventured up through Girdle Toll before veering off right and heading for Annick Lodge. From there we continued to the Stewarton road, which we crossed, and made for Springside. Following the cycle track, we returned to Irvine, having stopped briefly for a cuppa, where, given the need to go home and get ourselves titivated for the evening, a decision was made not to extend the walk any further but to head back to Johnny’s. A three hour ten minute walk, for the record.

Fifth Annual Burns Supper

Fifteen Ooters (those above minus Ian and Kenny R but including Alan, George and Ronnie) attended the event at Johnny’s. As usual this was the highlight of the social calendar. The food was great (thanks to Gus, Alan, Johnny, Robert, Rex and Davie) and the entertainment was sparkling. Well done and thanks to all those who participated by performing or by merely just being there for the best Burns Supper in the toon. Well done to Gus for chairing the event so well and to Johnny and Helen for yet again being so hospitable and welcoming.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Glasgow City Chambers 3 February

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Johnny, Kenny T, Malcolm, Paul, Rex, Robert

Glasgow was bright and cold but thankfully dry for our cultural visit. Having met in the Counting House for coffee we walked across George Square to the City Chambers where we were met by our guide for the tour, John. He explained that the tour could go on for as long as an hour and a half, rather than the forty-five minutes we were expecting, but we were well up for it, and gave him the go ahead to start.
It would be difficult to describe the building in words, anyway, given the pictures already posted, our reader will realise that this is a fantastic building. John, who admitted to possessing a black belt in embroidery, explained in great detail the origins of the building, the costs involved and the various maintenance issues as we climbed the marble staircases and entered the Council Chambers and then toured the various rooms and halls that were available to us, finishing off with a look at the portrait gallery of the Lord Provosts and a keek into the banqueting hall.
On the McMeekin scale of fabulocity this building scored a maximum ten and anyone who hasn’t visited it should take the opporchancity to do so. We thanked John for his informative and humorous tour and made our way outside into the cold sunshine.
Given the lateness of the hour we decided to curtail our walk by venturing as far as the People’s Palace. In the event we continued for a further twenty minutes along the Clyde before turning back and heading for the Crystal Palace for lunch. Again Wetherspoon’s did not disappoint and we were loath to leave the back of three.
The famous five, you can work that one out for yourself, finished the afternoon off in Wetherspoon’s in Kilmarnock where, and this is the truth, a highly intellectual and enjoyable conversation was held.

Well done to Gus for organising the day and avoiding the various curtilages of Glasgow!

A grand day out!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Burns Supper - 10th Feb Info

0930 - 1000 Chez Moi - Scones/coffee/tea. Bring all that you'll need for the supper at this time. There is still one and a half bottles of the hard stuff and as much home brew as will float a boat.  If living life on the edge is your thing, we aim to please. Soft drinks and wine also available.
The evening agenda is set out below:
Oh the walk! Yes well.... A trip round fair Dreghorn lasting about 2-3 hours back to Bank Street and those who wish to sample the brews with their sandwiches will have plenty time to do so. 

Evening Programme
1800 – 1830 The Gathering – (Like all posh events)
1830 – 1930 The Meal
1930 – 2030  Immortal Memory – Readings and Songs- Gus, Alan, Derval Davie, Rex, Ronnie.
2030-2040 - Interval
2040 – 2140  Toast to the Lassies – Readings and Songs – Robert, Ronnie, Jimmy,  Ronnie and Wee Davie
2140 – 2150 Interval
2150 – 2240 Toast to the Drouthy Ooters – Readings and Songs – Allan Ronnie, George, Johnny, Ronnie
2300 - Carriages 

Please note the early start 1800