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.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos. Those ruins look fantastic. Sounds like you had an interesting walk.