Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cunninghame ramblers . Lugar Circular June 2011

We started here today.

Auchinleck to Lugar was the route.

We passed James Keir Hardies House in Cumnock.

The magnificent Lugar Viaduct (circa 1850)

Plaque to commemorate the viaducts 160th anniversary.

This was true pig's swill!

Even the geese got in on the act.

Ramblers at lunch in Cumnock.

Our younger ramblers had to have a go.

Now the kids show us how it should be done!

A rambling farmer on the sky ride.

A very well laid out woodland.

Which has won awards for it's creative wood sculptures.

Tree lined avenue to Dumfries House.

Today's happy walkers.
Yesterday on a lovely sunny windy day I ventured off to Auchinleck for an 8 mile circular walk through Lugar and Cumnock in the company of The Cunninghame Ramblers Group.Also with us today was one of my fellow members of Stranraer and Wigtown Group who I will refer to as the "farmer".Setting off from Tescos car park we joined a nice forest track which took us to Cumnock and the Glenmuir Water sometimes referred to as the Water of Lugar.We stopped to admire the Great Lugar Viaduct built in 1650 what a wonderful example of 19th century engineeering.Arriving in Lugar we then went through some lovely farmland and woods which took us back through the viaduct on the far side from where we had walked earlier. Lunch was taken at the play park in Cumnock and several of the walkers had to try out the various swings and sky rides designed for children and enjoyed by the over sixties. The farmer had a go on the sky ride and found it a wee bit painful in his lower regions. We will not go into the finer details  least to say we will keep that for another day (perhaps the Christmas Party?)After all the fun we headed off to the grounds of Dumfries House which a certain Royal Prince has had a lot do with recently. The roads through the grounds are very well kept with all the different breeds of cows and bulls in their seperate fields. Our rambling farmer was able to tell us all the varying kinds and pedigrees which was very interesting. Arriving at the North end of Auchinleck we had a road  walk of about 1 mile to take us back to our start point. A great walk full of interesting local history which I had never appreciated even though I have driven through this area on many occassions in the past. Thanks to the walk leader and  also the group for allowing me and the farmer to join them today.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

5 Peak challenge. Island of Arran June 2011

Steep climb up to Coire Fhiorn Lochan

One of today's younger walkers

"I haven't got a signal!"

Today's stalwarts.

Looking out to the Papps of Jura

Looking down on the lochan.

We climbed this serious ridge.

The Kilmarnock rocket on top of Beinn Bhreac(711M)

Today's views were spectacular

All too much for this guy.

One of the many wonderful rock formations.

One has to rest occasionally!

What a wonderful place to wait on the bus.

Posh seating in this shelter on the island.

Our bus that took us back to the ferry.
Today I was very fortunate to be asked to join a very elite party of walkers who come from various groups to do the 5 peak challenge on Arran .5 of us met for the 9.45AM ferry to Brodick and then a bus to the start at Thundergay on the North West side of the  island. From here we went up to Coire Fhiorn Lochan where I was 6 weeks ago with OIR group from Kilmarnock.Now the fun begins and we cilmb our first major peak called Meall Biorach (551M) which was challenging to say the least but the views out towards the Papps of Jura made it all worthwhile in the lovely summer sunshine.Crossing over a pleasant plateau on the summit we lose a little height and make our way up to Meall Donn before losing more height and then a great climb on very dry grass up to Beinn Bhreac(711M) with its large cairn where we took a well earned rest as it was quite warm even at this altitude but there were no midgies.Off we go again and drop down onto a ridge and then a serious climb again got us up to Mullach Buidhe (721M) and at this point we could see right over to Ireland a lots of the West Scotland coastline. To the north many  of the Arrochar Alps were also visible . Again steep descent took us down to a fairly narrow part of the ridge and then all the way up to  Beinn Bharrain (721M) which was the last peak of our walk today. An extremely steep descent took us over an hour to complete to get us down to the shore at the little village of Pirnmill where we all took a well earned rest whilst waiting on the bus to take us for the 7.20PM ferry back to Ardrossan. This was an "A" walk in the true sense of the meaning. Particular thanks must go to the leader who worked out that it was possible to do this challenge all in the space of one day. A walk I must introduce to ADRC in their summer programme next year because it certainly is not a winter walk. A thoroughly enjoyable day and in my opinion the best walk I have tackled this year.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

ADRC to Wanlockhead Hills June 2011

Remains of the old narrow gauge railway.

Entrance to one of the old mines.

Walkers enjoying their lunch

Wanlockhead Beam Engine.

Information on engine.

Today's walkers
As previously blogged today was ADRC outing to Wanlockhead. 17 walkers arrived in the village to thick mist and murky conditions. We all agreed that it will not last beyond midday and the sun would appear. Well read on.First of all we had to introduce the safety rules for walking in conditions such as today. Our walk leader insisted we all stay in sight of each  other and the back marker was to blow her whistle in the event of losing touch with the main group.Off we went first of all up Black Hill (550M) onto Stood Hill (587M) and to be perfectly honest due to the mist we could have been "stood" on any hill you could only see for a few yards. Undeterred we made our way down a very steep slope and prior to climbing up to Willowgram Hill (515M)we stopped for a coffee break . Serious climb and we were on the summit thanks to a fence which we all used as a navigation aide. From here it was a fairly wet boggy walk for 2 miles until we reached the Southern Upland Way and thanks to a GPS we did not make a wrong turning as at this point it was a little confusing which direction we should be heading. Once down to the forest this confirmed we were indeed on the right trail and  stopped for lunch at a ruined cottage. The rest of the SUW took us back to the old disused lead mines and then it was a hard road walk back to the start passing the famous Wanlockhead Beam Engine on the way. Built in the mid 19th century it is the only one of it's kind remaining in the UK.Back at the start several of the walkers made use of the excellent facillities provided for walkers and then adjourned to the tearoom for a welcome cuppa. Sorry for the lack of photographs but the conditions did not allow for anything worthwhile. Everybody said they enjoyed the walk as it was different than a lot of them had experienced and our walk leader who was so aplogetic for the poor day has promised to put the walk on again in next summers programme but was still trying to figure out when that would be. One footnote bearing in mind this is the month of June and we are in the week of the longest day as we were approching our starting point the street lights came on,they work on a  sensor system and  lit up  at 2.20PM.Now we think that is a record that would be hard to beat!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Route Marchers walk to Cairn Table and beyond. June 2011

Muirkirk was our starting point.

Honest Muirkirk is down there through the mist.

Climbing Cairn Table (593M)

Cairn on summit .

View Finder.

Is it a walker with his midgie net or a bank robber?

Macadam's memorial.

Inscription on the monument.

Well constructed bridge over the River Galpell.

Historical information board.

Muirkirk has it's own racing circuit.
Today I joined the route marchers as I call them for a walk up Cairn Table near Muirkirk in East Ayrshire to recce a walk for the future and also to try out new routes that we had not walked before.Going up to the summit of Cairn Table we were in the drizzly misty rain but once on the summit it cleared a bit and we had a nice breeze which was keeping the midgies away. The cairn on the top was constructed to commemerate the fallen who hailed from the village in The Great War of 1914-18.From there we descended down towards a forest area  climbed again to the summit of Stony Hill (562M) this is where the fun began we were not sure what would be the best way if we had a large group with us so after several attempts at going through peat bogs it was decided to make our way down through the forest and onto a track as shown on the map.It was quite a difficult descent on the wet slopey ground but we all made it safely it was now time for a spot of lunch or so we thought. In the forest waiting for us to get comfortable were clouds of midgies so lunch part one lasted all of three minutes and off we went again throught the dense forest until we reached the moorland and the breeze where we then enjoyed lunch part two.From here it was 4 miles back to Muirkirk along a fairly boggy and sometimes invisible track so lots of jumping over wee streams made the going quite strenuous. A very nicely constructed bridge took us over the River Galpell and on past a memorial to John Macadam who invented the tar that we all drive our cars along on the roads. He was a son of the village. Passing the local golf course we came to the  car rally circuit they have built here on the edge of Muirkirk and today the boy racers were doing time trials in their sooped up machines presumably before they go cruising this evening along Ayr's Promenade and upset the local residents .A great walk of 11.5 miles over rough ground with quite a bit of climbing involved resulted in the usual discussion is it an "A" walk or a "B" we decided it was in between so we settled on "B+" to stop the arguements. A wee bit of a dreich day weather wise but most enjoyable in the company of the "Route Marchers"

Thursday, 23 June 2011

ADRC recce to Wanlockhead and the SUW June 2011

Steep climb from Wanlockhead.

Madam Vice showing us the way.

Lunch stop at Cogshead ruined cottage.

Now on the Southern Upland Way.(SUW)

The scars of an old lead mine.

A Wanlockhead pyramid.

It has an outside loo!

M.V. washing her feet before--

Tea and biccies in the cafe.
Today 6 of us did a recce for this Sunday's walk which is an 8 mile circular grade B+ starting at Wanlockhead. This will be a brief blog with the main one being written after the walk this weekend.First of all I was greatly honoured to share a car with the Right Honourable Secretary and Madam Vice as the very competant driver.I am starting to move in the upper circles of this walking group tongues will start wagging if I am not careful. Anyway back to the walk which started at the village museum and then up Black Hill (550M) onto Stood Hill (587M) down and up to Willowgrain Hill (515M) before descending onto the SUW. Lunch was taken at a ruined cottage just as the rain threatened to come on but we were fortunate no sooner had we donned the waterproof gear it went off and the rest of the walk was taken in very pleasant sunshine.As I said no great detail or historical photographs of the lead mines today  this will follow this Sunday when hopefully we are as lucky with the weather as we were today. Our walk leader was pleased to finish  off dry as she was on her way to Glasgow tonight to attend one of these pop concerts which if you believe the press  is full of young women all dressed in pink. TAKE THAT with a pinch of salt if you want. See you all on Sunday.