Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers.Girvan to Tormitchel Circular April 2011

Setting off on our walk.

I never fail to get a tree lined avenue.

Views of the Clyde open up as we get spread out.

Many walkers visited the ruined farm.

The two lamas came to greet us.

Lunch was taken in the lee of the wind.

What a happy bunch of walkers!!
Today's walk was a 9 mile circular walk starting at Girvan South car park where I had the honour and priviledge of being the walk leader with madam chairwoman of the Stranraer and Wigtownshire group as my back marker. (Not to be confused with Madam Whiplash of ADRC fame!!) 26 of us started out with visitors from Kilmarnock and Cunninghame groups accompaning us with a short walk to Shallochpark and the start of the Carrick Way from Girvan to Barr a walk we must do one day. A long steady climb soon sorted us out and several stops were made to re-group before we reached our coffee break  which was taken in a sheltered area as we were experiencing winds of 40 to 50 mph.At this point the group split and those walkers preferring the lower slopes and tracks went with Madam Chairwoman and I took the other 19 walkers up Trower Hill (296M) and over to Barbie Wood where we all met up again.Through the wood to the old derilict farmhouse where several walkers took the opportunity to have a  look round and imagine what life was like in there over 100 years ago.Dropping down now to Tormitchel Quarry I declined from telling the group how a quarry worked and operated as this was now in my past life and to be honest I couldn't care a jott. (PS that is a quote from Shakespeare!!) but then again you bloggers probably couldn't care a jott either.Passing a roadside farm we met up with the two lamas in the field  the farmers wife approched us. After inquiring why she had the lamas her reply was priceless and to quote  "What do you buy a farmer who has everything" there is no answer to that.From here it  was a road walk passed the noisy wind turbines of the Barr/Dailly windfarm which to some resembled a jet engine. We agreed that you would probably get used to the noise if you lived in the vicinity and it was not too unobtrusive.Excuse the large words today but our regular rambling walker whom we rely on so much for excellent photos and eloquent vocabulary has decided in his wisdom to attend a 3 day convention on Laurel and Hardy well everyone has to have an interest and today mine was firmly set on the South Ayrshire Hills. Sorry JD hope you had a great time.From the hard road we then climbed up the slopes of Trowerhill where we found a nice sheltered spot for our lunch break. The aerial on the way to the summit of Saugh Hill(293M) was our next marker and avoiding a couple of boggy areas we all safely made it to the trigg point where the views of the Clyde,Arran,Mull of Kintyre,Ailsa Craig and the Irish coast came into view which in my opinion has to be one of Ayrshires finest viewpoints.(Sorry I missed Laurel and Hardy) I was also absent for yesterday's wedding.. I must stop making these remarks but as  the walk leader I feel I am allowed  these off beat comments.From the summit we had a very steep descent to Fauldribbon Cottage which then using their track we arrived back in Girvan at the railway bridge on the by-pass. A one mile walk along the road brought us back to the car park where several of the group availed themselves with an ice cream from the coveniently placed cafe.It is difficult sometimes to assess your own walks but I enjoyed it as I hope everyone else did and my thanks to all for making it happen . My back marker performed her duties from the rear admirably and when she caught us all up we did not give her a lot of time to catch her breath before we were off again. Thank you Madam Chairwoman and hope you recover soon.Last word must go to our absent rambling  blogger and you know who you are you old  rascal,if you enjoyed your day half as much as us we all did then it must have been worthwhile. Thanks to everyone and I hope to see you all soon.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Ben Lomond via Ptarmigan Ridge.April 2011

The owner gave us permission to park here.

Entrance to the climb.

Not long before we  gained some height.

View of the Arrochar Alps.

Summit of Ben Lomond (974M)

It was gale force winds on the summit.

We were not alone!!

Well earned rest.

Still some snow around on the North face.

The brothers "Grim" comes to mind.

We all got a fresh egg to take home.
Today to escape "The Wedding" 3 of us from Ayr decided to climb Ben Lomond starting out from Rowardennan where 2 of the walkers today have family connections. Our route was to go up via the Ptarmigan route which is the steepest ascent . The day was very sunny but as we climbed the wind got up and we actually met some other walkers on their way down as they thought as it was so windy it was dangerous. We agreed it was not actually dangerous but care would have to be taken on the climbs. Once or twice we were actually blown off course but not at any of the particularly steep parts.Once over the Ptarmigan it was a very steep climb which also involved a bit of scrambling we found ourselves on the summit of Ben Lomond. Lots of other people had decided to escape the "telly" as it was very busy but most of them had climbed up using the normal tourist route.Once we had taken our lunch we descended back to the hotel by way of the tourist route and stopped many times to let other walkers past and to take in the wonderful scenery. Back at the hotel the owner gave us a conducted tour of his property and outlined his plans for the future of the  business. A special note to walkers of the West Highland Way is his plans to construct a  bunkhouse which would be an excellent idea considering the amount of through traffic he has from the walkers.A couple of very welcome pints were consumed not by the driver I hasten to add and armed with a new laid egg each we drove back to Ayr . Excellent walk and my thanks to the 2 brothers who accompanied me it was a very worthwhile day out.Now I must go and catch up on all the news about the wedding before I fall asleep.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Cunninghame Ramblers. Kirkconnel Circular April 2011

Our goal today is Kirkland Hill.

Remains of St. Conal's churchyard.

View back to Kirkconnel.

Lots of bridges have been built over the burns.

Traditional coffee break.

One of the many information boards.

Walk leader points out all the places of interest.

Seats provided are better suited to one person.

These guys are better known as "the advance party"

Poor light double click to see the train.

Today's ramblers at the top of Kirkland Hill.
 Todays walk is with the Cunninghame Rambling group in the village of Kirkconnel which forms part of Dumfries and Galloway.Our walk leader was brought up in this area and her local knowledge was to prove invaluable as there is a lot of local history in this part of the country. 17 ramblers left the village on a very clear sunny morning which was a great relief to the walkers who were out yesterday and got "drookit" it was a very pleasant change. The first burn we came to was the Polblower Burn known locally as the Bakers Burn as the water from here was used to drive the wheel at the mill to enable the baker to produce the flour for his bread.Kirkconnel Heritage Trust have to be commended for their contribution to today's walk as all the bridges built over the burns were constructed in the village and then transported into position. Our climb today was to the summit of Kirkland Hill (507M) and as we ascended the views started to open up with Solway coast in the South and Arran  in the North.At the top our walk leader pointed out all the various hills and crags which were visible lots of us who were on last weeks walks could look to the Lowther Hills and appreciate them from a different angle.Lunch was taken just off the summit looking down on the open cast coal mine which we were assured will be filled in and returned to it's natural state. One hopes this will happen in our lifetime.Walking down the side of the Glenwharrie Burn we saw the site of the old St Conal's church and as it was Easter it was very befitting for some of the ramblers as this was the closest many of them had been to a church for  years with the exceptions of weddings and funerals.Arriving back at Kirkland farm it was a pleasent walk back down the Bakers Burn passing many young local families out rolling their Easter eggs and generally enjoying the the beautiful countryside on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A super walk made all the more interesting as it was lead by a local lassie who had a wealth of the history of the area. My thanks to her and the group for allowing me to participate in such an interesting walk.Hope to see you all again soon.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

ADRC Kendoon circular April 2011

Walk start using the grass verges as a car park.

Trudging along in the rain.

Coffee break .

An unusual bridge. (See text)

Newly built large house by Kendoon Loch.

View up the loch towards a fish farm.

The Drookit ramblers.
Todays walk was supposed to start at  the dam at the bottom of Kendoon Loch but unfortunately the authorities had  closed the suspension bridge we were going to walk over. Our astute walk leader had noticed this  on the internet last night so was able to re -route us before we left Ayr. It was a grey dreich morning in Ayr and as we travelled South the skies got heavier and so did the rain. We parked at Kendoon Youth Hostel and 23 ramblers started the walk up  Black Water until we reached a stretch of the Southern Upland Way (SUW). A brief coffee stop was taken before we had a gentle climb up Culmarc Hill and dropped down to a bridge over the River of Ken. The bridge was constructed using large diameter concrete pipes and filling in the gaps. Very clever and would be quite cost effective in this rather remote location.Lunch was taken at an old derilict cottage which had been constructed using the same type of stone for building the dry stoned dykes. It might not have been very windproof but it was home to someone perhaps over 100 years ago.Now we had reached Loch Kendoon which we walked alongside until we reached a very narrow road bridge known as High Water of Ken. Following a trail down to the power station dam we were being watched by a shepherd and his dogs who were tending their flock of new born lambs. Very carefully avoiding the sheep we arrived at the dam and followed a concrete structure that looked like a canal until we reached the sluice gates. This was the end of our walk which unfortunately had been taken in fairly wet conditions hence the lack of any good photography.Thanks again to our walk leader today who coincidentally was the same one that took us on that memorable walk through the "Striding Arches" several walkers today have asked him to repeat it again sometime so I think he got the hint. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Recce for Stranraer Group. Girvan to Tormitchel Circular April 2011

I always find a tree lined avenue on my walks!

This guy has seen better days.

Tormitchel Quarry.Reminds me of days gone by.

A farmers display of captured moles.

Little wind today so the turbine just turned very gracefully.

Wild Primula growing beside a stream.

TV mast on way to Saugh Hill.

Who knew that Girvan has a gardens of this name?

Orchard Gardens.
Today Tuesday April 19th saw me off to Girvan to recce a walk for Stranraer and Wigtownshire Ramblers that I am leading a week on Saturday.Starting at the car park at the South end of the town I went up towards Shallochpark and picked up the Carrick Way . As I started to climb I met the local farmer with dog who asked me where I was going and was I familiar with the ethics of the country code. After I assured him and gave him my planned route he was very polite and wished me a very successful walk.Farmers like him I can tolerate.I won't give too much deatail as this is only a recce and a full blog will appear on the day of the walk. As I approached Tormitchel Quarry I could see men working and it reminded of my day's in that industry. Quickly passing the quarry bathed in the sunshine I soon forgot these stupid thoughts and headed back up the hills.On my approach to Girvan it was very misty probably a heat haze yet again,that's twice in one week I have experienced this strange phenomenon . On my descent to the town I encountered whin bushes which I can assure bloggers are bloody prickly at this time of year. I have worked out a safe passage through as long as no one pinches my markers before the actual walk. On my way into the town I came accross a wee gem of a park by the name of Orchard Gardens a way off the tourist trail and was a welcome stop on a hot day after all my strenuous climbs. I thought I knew Girvan fairly well but I never knew this place existed. The ramblers walk is on Saturday April 30th meeting at the car park just South of Girvan by the coffee stall and public toilets at 10.00AM.Strong footwear is required along with gaiters if you have them though not essential for this 9mile "B" grade walk. All members of rambling groups and visitors will be made very welcome.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

ADRC walk to Steygail,Lowther and Thirstane Hills April 2011

Memorial to a convenanter (see text for more imfo)

Climbing up to Steygail.(573M)

Serious descent from Steygail

We came down this hill fellow walkers!!

Is that the "Moon"?

A visiting rambler frae Cunninghame on top of Lowther (725M)

 Can my head get any bigger I ask myself.

The group on top of East Mount Lowther (631M)

Ring Ouzle
 Today Sunday April 17th as promised on yesterdays blog we are about to venture out again onto the hills near Durisdeer for a serious walk led by our own ADRC vice chairperson whose reputation for this grade "A" walk is one only for the faint hearted. Enough of that stuff  we arrived in a small lay-by on the road from Drumlanrig Castle entrance up towards Durisdeer which we filled nicely our walk leader then introduced us to our  visitors from other groups namely Kilmarnock and Cunninghame. A very commendable 23 ramblers set off towards Dalveen Farm for our first stop at a memorial stone beside the farm to a covenantor by the name of Daniel McMichael whose grave is in Durisdeer churchyard which was the starting point for yesterday's walk.Our walk leader informed us his sword is on display at Greyfriars Museum in Edinburgh so next time I am at the races in Musselburgh I must go and have a look. Regular bloggers please remind me. A long climb then began up the slopes of Steygail (573M) where another of these knowledgeable walkers informed us that "Stey" meant windy and I retorted with that "Gail" was my youngest daughters name to which we did not receive a printable reply.At the summit we then went on a fantastic descent back down almost to the level that we started out at. I told you this was an "A" walk. After a wee coffeee break we started out on the climb to make up all the height we had lost and a good bit more that took us to the summit of Lowther Hill (725M) with it's golf ball aerial which takes the planes from our country on their first part of their journey over the Atlantic and to many other parts of our world.Lunch was taken  just off the summit looking down a glen towards Criffel hill on the Solway Firth. At this point various hills could be seen and a guessing game developed between the walkers as to which one was which. Our walk leader told us that all would be revealed as we climbed to the top of East Mount Lowther(631) where there is a view finder which would kick all the clever dicks (sorry Dick) theories into touch. From there we descended to Thirstane Hill (583M) which overlooks the Enterkin Burn. Locals to the Ayr area will know there is a well known hotel of the same name but a closer inspection of the the map shows that in  our walk area there is a place called Enterkinfoot so I would suggest that this is where the name came from and the hotel has borrowed it to fool the hoipolloi into thinking they are going somewhere special.From here we made our way down back towards Deveen Farm which we passed earlier on in the day and then it was back to the cars in our own wee lay-by which we filled making it impossible for any other cars to get in.All walkers made it back safely, one or two mentioned the word "blisters" and again in true blog tradition no names will ever be revealed hope they have all recovered before next weekend when we have a "B" walk with ADRC on the Saturday  and a "B+" one on the Sunday with the Cunninghame Group. Thanks again to today's walk leader you lived up to your well deserved reputation for leading a seriously true graded "A" walk.Today's bird (of the feathered variety you silly old men) we think may have been a ringed ouzle but as I blog I am awaiting confirmation from our resident rambling member if that this  is correct as we only heard his or her song and it is similar to a thrush . Watch this space for the answer. Also a definite sighting was one of a red kite and if I can import a photo to the blog I will do so but as it is now past 10.00PM I may fail if you get my drift. Good Night to all bloggers. Sleep tight.

We filled this lay-by.