Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Birthday curry?

 As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my 65th is in April. I am heading of the the States now so won't be back with you till 20th April. So I am suggesting either the 20th April or 4 May for the curry. Irvine would suit me better than Kilmarnock if that is an option. See you soon.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

23 March Culter Fell

Alan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jim, Jimmy, Kenny T, Paul, Rex & Robert

What can be said of this walk that hasn’t already been said before in these pages? Culter Fell in the hills of south Lanarkshire is one of those hills which, if the air is clear provides extensive and special views of the border hills and river valleys. It would remain to be seen if today’s walk would provide such views for the day was overcast and a damp clag hung in the air as we gathered in Darvel to car share through to Lanarkshire.
For today’s outing eleven of us made the trip through to the Culter valley just south of Biggar. There a cold southerly wind greeted us, a southerly wind that blew off snow and cut through to the bone. So, well wrapped against this blast we set off for the base of the hill. In common with the hills of this area Culter Fell start with its steepest ascent. This would sort the men from the even older men. Jimmy, who had recent chest infection, struggled on this steep section and, no matter how many ‘view stops’ sere called he continually brought up the rear. At the top of this steep we sat down for coffee and to wait for the struggling one.
            While we sat and took in what view the clag offered us and tried to shelter from the strong, biting wind, Jimmy decide to plod on at his own pace knowing that we would all catch him up. He was joined by Robert and the two Davies and a schism took place. We watched as the four took off upward into that bitter, piercing wind. That was the last we saw of them until the summit was reached.
            When the grassy summit of the hill was reached there was no sign of the errant four. They were eventually found ensconced on the leeward side, the Peeblesshire side, of the summit having lunch. We joined them. What a disappointment the day was proving. The bitter wind meant that there was no great hanging about on the summit, just enough for a bite of lunch and a well-earned rest. Not that hanging about would have done us any good today for the damp clag that filled the air restricted any viewing to around the three to four mile mark and the only distinct landmark was Tinto. And there was that bloody wind.
            The descent of the hill was a lot faster than the ascent for we now faced into the wind and it stung into our faces, numbing noses and watering eyes. Down we came as fast as we could to the Culter reservoir. (As for the struggling one? He came down that slope as fast as any of us and faster than most. We think he was just playing for sympathy on the ascent.) Here at last we were out of the main blast and the air was relatively mild. We could now take our time. An afternoon halt was called on the face of the dam and a relaxed coffee was taken.
            The walk down the road back to the transport was a delight. Any residual breeze was now on the back and the road sloped gently downwards. We arrived at the cars three and a half hours after we had left them happy with the day’s effort but disappointed in the views from the top. Bob's pictures below sum up the day. Still, next time………..

FRT was taken in Stra’ven in a pub that the scribe has forgotten the name of but I’m sure that somebody will remind us.

PS. The abbreviation FRT stands for Fluid Replacement Therapy a term coined by us many years ago to refer to (And justify? - Ed) the enjoyable hour or so spent in the pub at the end of a walk replacing the fluids lost on the day’s outing.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Some pictures from Coulter Fell walk

Arrangements for Wed 30th March

Meet in Eaglesham village at the junction of Gilmour Steet and Poinoon Street at 9.30 a.m.(Gilmour Street is the street which crosses the main road from the Eaglesham Moor, the B764.) Turn left at the crossroad in the centre of Eaglesham,Poinoon Street is the first on your left. The walk is back up the hill towards the Ballageich hill you have just driven past. The walk continues in a circle passing between two lochs and gradually descending back to the starting point. Approx 8 miles.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Semple Trail, 16 March

Alan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jimmy, Kenny R, Kenny T, Rex, Robert.

It was a bit grey when we met at Castle Semple car park in plenty time for a 10am start. Setting off along the lochside, our first stop was at some carved trees, similar idea to the ones in New Lanark but not quite as ornate. After a few photos, we headed up into Parkhill Wood as an alternative to the cycle track.
The path climbed a wee bit and just before the Collegiate Church we came across a small group of brown and white calves.  Those of us with a little knowledge of matters bovine decided they were called Herefords. On closer inspection of their ear tags, most of them were called Sandra or Annette.
Inscriptions were read and photos were taken at the church. Coffee break? Not today. Kenny T had greater. global plans.
We followed the cycle track for a short distance and then went off-road again taking the path towards the Temple on the hill but instead of going up the hill we followed the path round and had a well earned coffee break on the seats at the sculpture of a globe.
A muddy path led us along the side of the Black Cart and then to a road into the village of Howwood. Following the signposts to Newton of Belltrees, we climbed up up up out of Howwood before heading off-road again.
There was some discussion of where to have lunch and Robert the Usurper announced that he would find a suitable spot. A suitable spot was found on a grassy bank. Last of the Summer Wine.
It was downhill all the way now, well the trend was downhill. To keep spirits up, wondrous tales of masses of snowdrops were spun. "Where are they?". "Are we at them yet?". "That's no all that many". "Aye that's quite a lot". "Aw look at that". "They're no very symmetrical!". That's galanthus nivalus for  you.
It now really was downhill all the way back to the cars crossing the A737 and then pavements and paths.
FRT was at the Brown Bull where some fine ales and cloudy cider were sampled.

Distance 14.9km
Walking time 2h 53min
Height of climbing 192m

Friday, 11 March 2016

Crookedholm to Darvel 9 March

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

We met at the bowling club in Crookedholm on a bright, chilly spring morning and were glad to welcome Jimmy back into the fold. Our route was to be the familiar one following the Grougar path and as, far as possible, staying on good ground or tarmac. However, Davie Mc and Peter took Holly down to the riverside path ignoring the suggestion that it would be mucky. They emerged relatively unscathed to meet us further up the road and remained with us to Loudoun Kirk where coffee was taken.
On leaving the kirkyard there was a schism with half the company following the high road up to Loudoun Academy whilst the rest turned right and took the shorter, but potentially muddier route (in fact it wasn’t an issue), to Galston. There was a coming together at the sports ground where the riverside path was taken to Newmilns. This path was in the process of a major upgrade and what a difference had been made to the first stretch of it. The story was that it would form part of the Chris Hoy Way.  We trust that some money will be put aside to maintain it!
On reaching Newmilns consideration was given to Jimmy’s wabbitness by agreeing to let Johnny, Peter and him return to the cars from there. However, him that knows these things said that it was only twenty minutes or so to Darvel, so we stayed together and set off on the last leg. O.K. it was twenty-five minutes to the outskirts of Darvel and a bit longer to the bus stop, but there was warm sunshine on this stage, so no harm was done. The weather had been dry and, at times, warm but, when the sun had gone in or we were in the shade, there was a distinct chill in the air.
Having taken the bus back to the cars, we went on to Wetherspoon’s in Kilmarnock for lunch and FRT.
Another grand day out!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Some images from the Irvine Valley walk

Johnny explains to us all about his high earth and big holes. Wern't we impressed!

Snowdrops at Loudoun Kirk.

Coffee time at Loudoun Kirk.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Falls of Clyde 2 March

Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Gus, Ian, Jim, Malcolm, Paul

We enjoyed Kay and Davie’s hospitality in Darvel, many thanks again folks, before setting out for Kirkfieldbank. A particular delight was Davie’s ‘homemade’ biscuits. So good were they that we decided that he would be the sole nominee for this year’s Earlyooters Masterbaker Award!
The weather was dry and reasonably bright as we set off in, wait for it, an anticlockwise direction, with the intention of getting the muddy bit done first. It was indeed muddy but never to the extent it was an issue and good progress was made. The recent rains meant that we anticipated some spectacular scenes as the Clyde passed over the falls and we were not disappointed. Stopping for coffee at the wee viewpoint overlooking the river, time was taken for many a photo. And as we progressed up the path there were frequent stops for views and photos.

The guys receive a blessing!

The dug
We didn’t stop at the dam but made our way back down to New Lanark for lunch. Disappointingly, light rain had begun to fall spoiling what had been an otherwise cracking morning. The final part of the walk down the Clyde Walkway was made without delay, other than Derval Davie taking Jim up to the log sculptures to show him his etchings, allegedly! The rest of us, having seen these before, waited, patiently on the path.
As we reached the cars, the rain got slightly heavier, so little time was lost in getting changed and on our way. The walk had taken three and a half hours, give or take, and as luck would have it, the weather dried up as we were leaving Kirkfieldbank.
We stopped for FRT at the Loudoun Hill Inn but it did not possess a drinks licence, although it had been applied for apparently. Next stop was the Railway in Darvel, but it was shut. Hence we had to settle for the Crown in Newmilns for drinks.

Onwards and upwards

How many photos do we need to take?

A mist of spray blankets the falls