Sunday, 29 May 2011

Family reunion May 2011

My Canadian sister and Scottish brother.(I am on the right!!)

Sister with my Ayrshire grandson.

He is the apple of my eye.
Today was a day for families to get together. Grandchildren take centre stage  in these situations so we got a few snapshots of the family because dear knows when we will be able to do this again.

Wigtown ramblers to Grey Hill Girvan with a twist. May 2011

Steep climb up Byne Hill(214M)

View of Girvan from the top.

Lunch stop with Ailsa Craig in the background.

I used to own one of these(Austin A35)

Windy summit of Grey Hill(297M)
Today I joined my "mother group"(masonic term) Stranraer and Wigtownshire ramblers outing to Grey Hill by Girvan. This was an old walk for me but with a new twist in that our walk leader had worked out a completely different route from the normal one. Meeting at Girvan South car park on a blustery morning 20 ramblers set off up towards the familiar caravan park and then up the steep sides of Byne Hill but not onto the summit we went round it until we came to the monument to Colonel Archibald CB Craufurd of Ardmillan Estate who was killed in India in the 18th century.Older readers may also remember Ardmillan Castle which was burnt down in 1986 and is now the site of yet another caravan park.From the monument we took a bearing on Fell Hill and Ardwell Farm heading out towards Kilranny aerials which is also where the old road to Stranraer from Girvan passed through. Lunch was taken here with the wonderful views over a fairly choppy Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig and beyond. This is a hardy group of walkers no sooner had we finished lunch the walk leader got us all together and pointed out the trig point on top of Grey Hill(297M) which was our next goal we were to head straight up. No rest stops were taken on our way to the summit. It was blowing a hooly on the top and we soon made our way over the ridge to Fell Hill where a break was taken in behind some rocks to get some shelter from the winds.On our way back to Byne Hill we were being watched by a farmer on his quad bike with the usual sheepdog sitting on the pillion seat. Once we arrived back at ByneHill it is an easy descent down to the main A77 and along the shore back to the car park. Great walk and well recced by our leader it was a way around these hills I had never done before which gave the walk  a welcome twist as an alternative to the well trodden routes we are all familiar with. Thanks to all involved and hope to meet up with you all again in the near future.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Day Three Isle of Arran May 2011

Brodick Castle.
Again day three and the weather is still stopping me from doing the high level walks that I had planned. Today was to be Goatfell from Corrie a walk I have done three times before but as I am walk leader in August for ADRC I thought I would take the opportunity to recce it once more. Low cloud killed off this idea so back to the low level stuff once again.Into the grounds of Brodick Castle and discovered the amount of damage they suffered in the high winds of Monday. It is incredible to think we are in the month of May and experiencing winds more associated with December or January. A very pleasant walk through the estate and then down on to the shore back to the ferry terminal where I met up with the rest of the family. We then used our bus passes to go to Blackwaterfoot over the string road which gave us some spectacular views down the mountains back to the Clyde. Once we arrived at Blackwaterfoot we walked out to Shiskane Golf Clubhouse which has just been opened this year. Lovely new building with all modern facilities overlooking the Mull of Kintyre. Back onto the bus and return to Brodick by way of the North Island through Lochranza and Sannox. The ferry crossing was a liitle bit rough back to Ardrossan but it all adds to the fun. A great three days with the family hopefully to be repeated but maybe the next time we will go to sunnier climates.

Day Two on Arran

Glenashdale Falls. Whiting Bay.
Second day saw me up nice and early to catch the bus  back to Catacol to do a recce for ADRC walk in October 2011 to see the deer rutting. The walk takes you up through Glen Catacol and over to Lochranza Distillery a distance of about 10 miles. The bus dropped me off at the start and then the wind rain and hailstones came on big style. I sheltered for some time and eventually decided to abort my plans and head off back to Brodick on the bus. Walking in these conditions on your own has never really appealed to me. Once back at the house I found the local bus time table and discovered a service to Whiting Bay. Many years ago my wifes parents had a house there so off I went to low level pastures to try and keep out the wind. Once there I climbed up to Glenashdale Falls which again given the recent rain were to say the least quite spectacular. On my descent I walked right through the village and my thoughts were that nothing basically has changed all the buildings and houses are the same except the locals have got older looking. They probably thought I had aged too!! In the evening we went up to the Sannox Hotel for dinner and except for my sister falling on the floor twice it was a great night.( Nothing to do with the wine) Back to the house and a two mile walk around the village before I turned in for a good nights sleep.

Day One on Arran May 2011

Starting out from Thundergay.

Stops were taken on a steep climb.

Our first sighting of Coire Fhionn Lochan.

Lunch break at the lochan.

Walkers negotiating the scree.

After the heavy rain lots of waterfalls were at their best.

Kilmarnock OIR Group of happy ramblers.

Today's walk leader.

Catacol's 12 Apostles.
 Tuesday May 24 saw me and my family set off to the Isalnd of Arran in the Firth of Clyde for 3 days. My sister who lives in Canada was here for 2 weeks so we took the opportunity of a wee break together. Boarding the ferry at Ardrossan I met two wonderful people whom I have met on several walks with different groups a bit like myself a "Nomad". Well today they were part of the Kilmarnock Opportunities In Retirement Group going to do a walk from Thundergay on the West coast of Arran to Catacol. So after a few introductions to the various walkers I managed to secure an invite to join them on their planned walk. A bus from Brodick took us to the start via Lochranza and deposited us in the middle of nowhere with the rain and hailstones pouring down. Lets not be downhearted our walk leader said the forecast is for it to brighten up so off we went up towards the lovely lochan that goes by the name of Coire Fhionnn and it lived up to it's name in all respects. We stopped here for a lunch break before we started to climb up the side of Meall Bhig(438M) to take us on a path which bordered on the sides of Meall Damh(570M) which gave us wonderful views of the wild mountain terrain. Following a rough track this now took us down towards a burn which we were to cross. As we have had so much rain recently we had to go some way up to find a suitable crossing place and then once on the other side there was another path which took us down through Glen Catacol where we experienced extremely strong gusts of wind and at one point we had to stop as the rain and hail came on coupled with the gale force wind it was impossible to continue. After 5 minutes the sun came out and off we went again where we could see the lovely village of Catacol in our sights. Once in the village the walk leader showed us the row of houses known locally as the "12 Apostles" each house being slightly different in some way to it's neighbour. A welcome pint of beer was consumed in the Catacol Hotel as we waited on the bus to take us back to Brodick.My sincere thanks to the group of walkers and their leader for allowing me to join them it was very much appreciated by myself. Once we arrived back in Brodick I made my way to the house the family had rented to enjoy a nice dinner with the usual round of refreshments and joviality that only a family can enjoy reminiscing on the "Good Old Days"

Saturday, 21 May 2011

ADRC Lochwinnoch RSPB to Castle Semple. May2011.

Today's starting point.

Bluebells were still in bloom.

Excellent tracks through the woods.

Derelict building in the estate.

Unusual root system exposed.

Cows always sit down when it is going to rain.

Collegiate Church ruin.(circa 1504)

Well preserved interior of church.

Disused railway line. See text re stonework.

Folly situated just outside Lochwinnoch.
 Only 6 walkers appeared today at the start mainly due to the fact that the main body of the Ayr and District rambling group are away to the lovely Isle of Skye for a week of walking and climbing.The other reason for the small number was the weather forecast.We started out from the Lochwinnoch RSPB centre after we had had a 10 minute introduction to the area by one of the local guides especially arranged for us by  today's walk leader.Whilst we were at the centre we were lucky enough to catch sight of redpole,bullfinch and goldcrest all feeding on the feeders which are provided by the RSPB. Leaving the centre behind and heading off down the paths by Castle Semple Loch it was dry overhead but rain was not far away looking at the grey clouds all around us. We went through some lovely wooded areas and were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a roe deer as it looked for a way out of a field over a high fence.Coffee break was taken in a forest with plenty of cover as the rain as predicted was strarting to fall quite heavily. Once clear of the wood we came to Collegiate Church (circa 1504) which  probably due to its remoteness is still in excellent condition albeit the roof has disappeared. Several gravestones are still in the main part of the church. Now we headed up onto a disused railway which formed a loop from Paisley to Ayrshire when the present one could not cope with all the freight and passengers who used the line at that time. The last passenger train was in 1966 with the freight business ceasing just shortly after that. Our walk leader pointed out the ornate stonework on one of the bridges and the reason for it being like that was that the land owner could dictate to the railway company his own stone design to allow the railway to pass through his land.We walked the line (so did Johnny Cash)for a couple of miles till we came to a folly on top of Kenmuir Hill. NB A certain rambling colleague of mine from Kirkudbright may be interested in the name!The folly has lots of tales and stories about it and as to why it was built. One of them tells of the landowner of that time could sit there and admire all his property and farm animals. Another story is related to Freemasonary but as it is a secret I am sorry I cannot tell you any more.We then followed the path back to Castle Semple Loch to look for somewhere sheltered where we could have lunch but we could find nowhere suitable. So we headed back to the reserve and decided due  to the wet conditions lunch was cancelled and we all made our way back in the cars to Ayr. Thanks to our walk leader today who put a lot of effort and time in working out today's route and arranging the wee talk for us which we all found very informative. Hope to see all of  today's walkers at the barbeque in two weeks time when we hope to be blessed with better weather than today.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A bunch of grapes from The Honourable Secretary. ADRC May 2011

Today I felt very honoured to receive a visit from ADRC secretary who very kindly brought me a bunch of lovely juicy red grapes. He had read the blog and finally got the hint. Next time I am poorly I must ask him for a bottle of gin not any old gin must be "Gordon's". Today was also my lucky day as I left the house this afternoon there was a hoot of a car horn and our lovely Madam Vice offered me a lift in the town of Ayr where I was going to partake in a modicum of ale.I feel indebted to the office bearers of ADRC and thank them for the support they have given me over the last 3 weeks. I am on the mend and we kick off with Lochwinnoch (Not Largs) tomorrow and off to Arran on Monday for a few days with my brother and sister who is home from Canada just now. Could be a wee bit of fun as we don't obviously get the chance of us all being together at the one time. Watch this space for updates.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wee walk to Dunure May 2011



High tide and some stormy seas on a blustery morning.

This years lambs are now looking more like sheep.

The colours of the gorse are wonderful at this time of year.
Hi fellow bloggers and readers I am back as promised this weekend. Not with the bang as I had hoped  more a wee bit like a damp squib(a firework for the benefit of foreign bloggers). I am on the mend but only firing on 4 cylinders as opposed to my usual six.This virus thing is taking it out of me and there is no quick fix but there is some light at the end of the tunnel so Him up there will have to wait a wee while longer before  I go upstairs as I am not quite ready to depart this planet yet. So onto today where the Right Honourable Secretary of ADRC came out with me on a short walk from Doonfoot to Dunure by way of the Clyde Coastal Path.He has been very good to me and has inquired after my health on a regular basis for which I am very grateful. Thought he could have at least brought me a bunch of grapes but I am still waiting. Seriously he persuaded me to try this short walk and to be truthful I got on fine and we had a bit of laugh as  it was high tide  we had to dodge the surf a few times to add to the enjoyment. As there was only 2 of us it made it ideal for a bit of bird watching and we had a coffee break watching a pair of gannets hunt for their lunch.Little ringed plover and shellduck were also prominent as we made our way to Dunure. Once there we climbed  our way up to the castle and did a bit of exploring and marvelled at the building techniques of all those years ago. Courtesy of the bus we were back in Ayr around midday. My thanks again to our Right Honourable Secretary for accompaning me as if it was not for him I probably would not have ventured out today.Anyone spotted the grapes yet?

Little ringed plover.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

News of an unwell blogger.

Those readers who log in at weekends to view the walks and who was out will have to be disappointed. I have a urinary infection and if someone tries to take the p-ss I will personally banjo them. It started during the week and I could not throw it off so on Friday I had to visit the doctor where my temperature was 103.In her opinion all caused by this urinary virus. Now I am on 6 paracetomal a day and 2 anti-biotics so if you shake me I will rattle.It completely drained me and my energy levels. For example yesterday morning I walked from Doonfoot to the town via the shore promenade a walk that normally takes me 45 minutes took me the best part of 2 hours as you all know who they are the old people sitting on the benches looking out to sea well yesterday I joined them.Same man went up Ben Lomond last week. Today I could have been walking in Arran and tomorrow I was supposed to be accompanying two of the brothers I was out with last week to 3 days in the Lake District with a walk up Helvellyn. That is now obviously cancelled under the circumstances.Hope everyone who walks with the groups I am associated with had a great time this weekend and watch this space I am only temporarily out the game and I will be back by next week. PS What do you do on a Saturday when you dont go out walking I personally cannot remember spending a Saturday at home?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Travellers visit to Greenan Castle. May 2011

Greenan Castle

Rubbish on the site.

Why do they always leave a gas cylinder?

Admittedly some of them made an effort. Why did they not take it to a rubbish bin?
For the past two weeks we have had some of the travelling people camping at one of our local beauty spots namely Greenan Castle. Whilst I have no great  issue with this could they not clear up after they are ready to depart. In comparison last weekend was the annual Girvan Folk Festival and there was a derth of fly campers and caravanners using the harbour car parks as our local council in their wisdom thought we will increase our weekend official site costs and to rub salt in the wound charge an extra 25P if you wished to use hot water in their very basic portaloos.On Monday at the unofficial sites all litter etc had been removed by the folkies which is a true credit to them My point is could the travellers not do something similar and I am sure they would find that people would start to welcome them  to their communities.. One local in Girvan was heard to say roll on next year. (Unfortunately he owns a pub by the harbour so I think he may be a little bit biased)