Sunday, 27 February 2011

South Ayrshire 3 Towns walk Ardrossan Saltcoats and Stevenston.

Sunday February 27 saw 17 ramblers from the South Ayrshire group set out on a 3 towns walk consisting of Ardrossan Saltcoats and Stevenston. Firstly we walked around the Ardrossan marina what a great improvement to this area older bloggers will remeber the old petrolium tanks which were once sited here and it was a bit of an eyestore.On now to the promenade to Saltcoats and its harbour area with a lookout tower which we all climbed to admire the view over to a snow capped Isle of Arran.We visited a monument erected in remembrance of the aircraft carrier HMS Dasher which sunk in these waters. Our local rambling historian was able to explain that the Dasher started off its career as a merchant ship prior to becoming a warship.It is also claimed that this is where "The Man Who Never Was " originated from. For those readers who don't know what we are referring to this happened during the war when the Brits disguised a body with the uniform of a high ranking officer and put fake plans in his pocket and deposited him in North Africa where the Germans would find him and his dummy information. It is reported that the body used came from the Dasher. We then followed a road alongside the shore to Stevenston and were given a little bit of its history courtesy of a board erected by the local council. Lunch was taken at the edge of Stevenston Golf Course before heading off along an old railway line that used to carry the coal from the local pits. This was known locally as the Callie Line or as we know it as  The Caledonaian Line.A visit to the ruins of a 15th century Ardrossan Castle where again we learnt that Oliver Cromwell's men removed some of the stone from here to construct the Citadell in Ayr.We then proceeded to make our way down to Ardrossan Town and back to the cars. A super walk with all the history involved in a local area that a lot of us were not familiar with. The weather was excellent considering it is only the end of February.
Walk start.
Ardrossan Marina.
Drum is owned by a well known car dealer.
An Ayrshire town with 2 Vice Consulate!
Memorial of HMS Dasher.
Saltcoats harbour lookout.
There must be a connection with Australia.
Ramblers at lookout.
Saltcoats harbour plaque.
This is where  the railway floods during a storm.
Daffies will be out this week.

Old Caledonian Railway Line.

A nicely decorated house.
Ardrossan Castle (circa 1500)
Group at Ardrossan viewpoint.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

ARDC walk to Grey Hill by Girvan. Saturday 26 Feb.2011

Today's walk was a 7 mile circular walk at Girvan taking in Grey Hill, Fell Hill and finally on to Byne Hill with myself as walk leader. 24 walkers met at Girvan South car park and then proceded along the shore and up through the caravan site to access the new track that has been built which took us behind Byne Hill and a steady climb up to a cottage called Drumfairn. After the usual coffee break we then headed out on to the Grey Hill Grasslands where we continued to climb steadily until we could see some of the hills in South Ayrshire and beyond.We then proceeded to the summit of Grey Hill where we got the full coastal view which was a bit misty today and Ireland was not visible but we could see the Mull Of Kintyre. Lunch was taken here in a sheltered spot as on the summit the wind was blowing quite strongly. From here it was off to Fell Hill and past an old settlement and with some imagination you could visualise a house once stood here.Up to the summit of Byne Hill we could see rain showers around but we were fortunate they were missing us out.Down to the Crawfurd monument where our rambling historian gave us a brief history of  the man for which it was erected in the 18th century. Apparently he saw service in India and Africa not the historian I hasten to add.We now headed down on another new track which now means we don't have to trudge through the muck anymore and back to the cars on the shore. A great walk full of the usual wise cracks . Hope to do it all again in 2 weeks time at Ballantrae with the same group.
Wonder where this owner hails from?
This one obviously enjoys jazz.
This used to be the "Muddy Field"
Another fine tree lined avenue.
We stopped for a heat.

Coffee break in the quarry.

We soon reach open countryside.

Not many milk churns left these days.

On the summit of Grey Hill(297M)

I don't often get my photo taken.

Summit of Byne Hill. (214M)
4 walkers did not go to the summit of Byne Hill.
Girvan from Byne Hill. (see the rain shower)
The Crawfurd Monument.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Largs Hills with Kilmarnock and Loudoun ramblers Sunday 20 Feb 2011

For today's walk I went to Largs and met up with the Kilmarnock and Loudoun Ramblers who were today tackling a fairly strenuous hill walk up towards Rowantree Hill. 22 walkers left from Largs Academy and climbed up a path leading past the Gogo Water which was soon down in the valley as we were on a very steep ascent at this point, fairly gets the heart pumping on a Sunday morning. Once we were up the first hill we stopped near to the aerial on Cauld Rocks and took a breather as the biting easterly wind had now picked up making the wind chill factor well below freezing level. From here we then climbed to the top of Girtley Hill (385M) but due to the mist all around us it was difficult to pick out the usual landmarks down below us on the Firth of Clyde.From here our intention was to start out over the Bessel Moors and on to Rowantree Hill but as our walk leader rightly pointed out we were now up at the snow level and the ground conditions were very boggy underneath the snow and the summit was shrouded in mist so it was decided to abandon that idea and try and cross the Greeto Water and do a ridge walk back towards the start. After a lunch stop beside the rushing water we set off to look for a crossing point which proved more difficult than first anticipated and after several reccies of varying difficulty this idea was also abandoned as the ground was very sloping and slippy with the mixture of boggy moss and snow several of the ramblers displayed  acrobatic skills whilst sliding down the hill on their backsides.We then headed for higher ground which was a little drier underfoot and climbed back to the summit of Girtley Hill where another well earned breather was taken before we headed over to the Cauld Rocks aerial station and then we made the steep descent back to the cars where we then had this club's traditional "Kilmarnock Huddle" where all walkers form a circle and a nominated member proposes a vote of thanks to the walk leader on behalf of everyone. A very nice idea and one that other groups may wish to consider.A good walk in very difficult conditions.
The Gogo Water
Looking back towards Millport.
Coffee Break.
We soon get spread out.
A rest from the biting Easterly wind.
Now we are up at the snow level.
Aerial view of Largs.
The Kilmarnock Huddle.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Outing with RSPB at Doonfoot shore.Saturday 19 February 2011

A bit of an unusual one for me today as opposed to going on a ramble I joined members of the RSPB on a walk to look for birdlife. What I enjoy is going out with experts and seeing birds that either I did not recognise or they were too far away for me to pick out with my binoculars. Thanks to a members scope we were treated to some rare views of some species which were not too familiar to me. We started with a large flock of curlews roosting in a field. Then a sparrowhawk hunting in the same field and as we watched he swooped and dived until he caught his breakfast probably an ordinary hedge sparrow. Next was a small flock of tree sparrows which are quite different to a hedge sparrow and fairly rare to this part of the coast again it was the experts that did the spotting.Reed buntings were in a bush next to an old house and were not too bothered with the human intrusion and we spent some time just watching them. Yellowhammer were also seen at this time. Further up the coast towards Greenan Castle we saw a twite in a tree with some other birds mainly sparrows and again I would have missed that sighting had it not been for my fellow twitchers. Pleasant morning in a cold easterly wind made it  a different walk to what I normally do here are some photos of the birds we saw and I hasten to add I cannot take the credit for them as I have imported them for the purpose of this blog.
Reed Bunting
Tree Sparrow

Sunday, 13 February 2011

ADRC Ramble at Glenmount by Loch Doon. 12 February 2011

27 Walkers ready for today's ramble.

1st coffee stop.

Loch Braden is in the background.

What is this?

We decided on a pumping station

Lunch at Little Shalloch

A former settlement.

Another of Ayrshires tree lined avenues.


Before vandalism

Bridge over the Doon at the start of Ness Glen.

Ness Glen

The river was in spate.

Loch Doon once mist cleared.

Loch Doon visitors centre.
Saturday Februauary 12 saw 27 ramblers from ARDC leave the car park at a misty and beautiful Loch Doon to make our way up to the Big Hill of Glenmount. The first part of the walk was up a muddy trail to the top of Rowantree Craig where our first coffee break was taken. Unfortunately the mist came down and after lots of discussion, looking at maps and the usual culprits with their GPS's we set off again. It is definately a lot easier to navigate when you can see your goal however the walk leader had so many assistants we were soon on the top of the Mount albeit not in a straight line!Now the mist was clearing a bit and we were rewarded with our first views of the Galloway Hills. From here we set of on a North Westerly direction to the Wee Hill of Glenmount and again lots of discussion developed to ascertain we were on the right summit as no trig point was present on this one.Again the walk leader had the final say and we went for what she was sure was the highest point. Then we came across a strange wee building out on the moor and we decided it was either a mine shaft or a pumping station from long ago and finally we  settled on the latter.Lunch was taken at a ruined cottage by the name of "Little Shalloch" where our resident rambling twitcher pointed out to the group a "crossbill" which was in a tree above us. This is one of the earlier breeders so perhaps we disturbed him at a crucial point in his life.Onto a good solid track now we made our way down to Craigengillan Estate where we would enter into Ness Glen providing the water level was not too high we would be able to safely negotiate a passage through. After passing some old settlements and a field of horses looking for carrots from the passing walkers we came to a bridge over the River Doon erected by the landowner to allow walkers a route into Ness Glen. At the start of the Glen was an area again erected by the estate with some wooden structures and a childrens play area however one of the buildings had been torched by some arsonist which is a great shame after all the hard work that has been put into this project. Now we were right into Ness Glen and the path was a wee bit slippy in places and the noise of the river gushing by  made it quite spectacular and I would highly recommend a walk here if you have never walked here before. At the end of the glen is Loch Doon dam which helps to control the flow of water down the river. Once clear of the dam we arrived back at the start to a sunny mist free loch which was wonderfully  clear to end an excellent walk with the usual good company .