Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cunninghame ramblers. Darvel to Loudounhill circular. November 2012

One of many stiles on the route.

Along the old railway line.

Many of the old bridges still remain.

Also some fine examples of cuts as they are known.

She did finally get over!

Oops this part was not an easy descent.

One of the Loudounhill rock faces.

The Kilmarnock Rocket enjoying his own company.

Appeared on a bridge abutment.(sshh it's a secret!)

At the summit of Loudounhill.

Today's leader.
Today Saturday November 24th I travelled by bus to Darvel to meet Cunninghame Ramblers for a 9 mile circular to Loudounhill .On a clear frosty sunny morning 14 of us left the town to go along the Darvel to Strathaven railway line for 3 miles before arriving at the base of Loudounhill where we had a coffee stop before tackling the slippy steep ascent. Some minor scrambling was involved here before we all made it safely onto the summit with it's fine views down the valley to Irvine and beyond. The descent was equally challenging due to the wet leaves lying on the paths so several falls and slips were enyoyed by the group. After our lunch stop we returned to Darvel via the hill tracks on the south side of the main road where  everyone enjoyed the fine views of the surrounding countryside bathed in the winter sunshine. Thanks to our 80 year old leader today, he did an admirable job telling us all lots of little stories  when he was a serving police officer in the area catching amongst others the many poachers that used to lead him a merry dance round the hills.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Recce for ADRC . Straiton to Dalmellington. November 2012

Monument Hill
On Wednesday November 23rd I did a recce for my forthcoming walk "B+" with ADRC. This is the sixth time I have tried to work out a safe route and also one that a group could do without too many fences to cross and the inevitable wet boggy ground.My normal two walking partners were not available so I broke the rules and went out by myself on a cold sunny morning. As I approched Auchenroy Hill near to Dalmellington I made the decision that if we were to do my original plan,  perhaps  we would not finish in the daylight hours available to us at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, so I would alter my plans and change the route into a linear one finishing at Dallmellington Community Centre car park. Once I had worked out an interesting route through Craigengillan Estate and managing to keep the distance up to about 12 miles this was definitely a better way for a group walk. My original route  now upgraded to an"A" walk will now appear on the summer programme 2013 subject to the walks committee's approval.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Cunninghame Ramblers. Irvine town trails. November 2012

This is called the "black" bridge??

Leaders explaining some local history to the group.

Perceton House disused curling pond.

Underpass came in handy for a coffee stop.

Tournament Bridge in Eglinton Park.

Lunch at the visitors centre.

I found a tree lined avenue.

Remains of Eglinton Castle.

The ice house.

He is always smiling!

The Dovecote. (dookit to you and me)

Stanecastle at the Girdle Toll.

Today's group.

And finally our leaders.
Today Tuesday 20th November I took the bus to Irvine to meet up with Cunninghame ramblers for a mid week walk round some of Irvine new town trails which was ideal as we have experienced a lot of rain recently in the west of Scotland making the underfoot conditions very difficult for off road walking. Eleven of us started off on a dry cloudy morning from a car park in a local housing estate to make our way to Perceton House which was used as the offices for the new town when it was under construction. The leader also pointed out to us the remains of the local parish church sitting on top of a mound almost obscured by the trees.During a brief shower of rain we we able to shelter in a convenient underpass to have a wee coffee stop before going onto the grounds of Eglinton Castle country park where we had a pleasant lunch break using the tables provided at the visitors centre. Making our way through the park we passed an old ice house and then a recently renovated dovecote where the family must have kept their doos all these years ago.Next stop was Stanecastle where again lots of local history was passed on to the group by our leaders.Arriving back at the cars to end an 8 mile walk taken in conditions which were maybe not ideal we only experienced  a couple of real showers accompanied by some light drizzle. Thanks to our leaders today who were local to the area, we all had a very enjoyable informative walk.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers. Stranraer to Portpatrick. November 2012

Severe mud on the SUW.

Passing Dunskey Glen

Today's group.

On a nice dry warm bus at the end.
Yesterday I joined my mother group at Stranraer for a 10 mile walk to Portpatrick. I was asked if I would be good enough to write the report for the local newspaper so I will add this to the blog without cheating this week as I wrote it myself so apologies for the grammar and the odd spelling mistake as my rambling editor (Lofty) as not had a chance to correct it yet.

Wigtownshire Ramblers walk report for Saturday November 17th 2012


On Saturday November 17th Wigtownshire ramblers met at Stranraer to walk 10 miles to the lovely village of Portpatrick on the Southern  Upland Way.(SUW) 15 members including two visitors, one from New Zealand and the other from the U.S.A.  left from the Breastworks car park on a clear cold sunny morning to climb up past the cemetery to join the SUW at Gallowhill Farm where our leader showed us two Belgian Beef Cattle grazing in the field which are a rare breed to this area.On reaching Knockquhassen reservoir two latecomers joined us swelling our numbers to 17 today. Passing the water a gaggle of pink footed geese were feeding until they heard us and  took off with a very fine display of their ability to fly without crashing into each other. This section of the SUW to the cairn on Broad Moor is extremely muddy which made it very challenging finding a way through the bogs and peat. Everyone was disappointed that the authorities have allowed the path to deteriorate into this condition ,some duckboards could be put down to help walkers pass through without resorting to wading in the standing water. The leader is going to get in touch with the group’s paths officer and report the condition of the SUW at this point and hopefully something can be done to save this valuable asset that brings thousands of visitors to the area every year. Once we reached the hard road Knock and Maze the leader pointed out a fine example of a standing stone before we arrived a Killantringan Lighthouse for a lunch stop sitting on a hill overlooking the sea with it’s fine views over the channel to Northern Ireland.The next part of the SUW is a cliff walk on excellent paths past Dunskey Glen  and the old coastguard station before a steep flight of steps took us down the village of Portpatrick where the local bus took us all back to Stranraer for  a well  earned cup of coffee with fresh scones in the warm comfort of Stir It a well known  local tearoom.Our leaders were thanked for their efforts today as the appalling ground conditions experienced by the group  on the SUW had made the walk a great deal more challenging than had been expected.

Next Saturday November 24th the walk is  10 miles on paths around Glentrool in the Galloway Forest. Please meet at Breastworks Car park at 9.00AM or Riverside ,Newton Stewart for car sharing at 9.30AM or alternatively if going direct to the walk start at Caldons please contact the leader on 01776840636
PS Thanks to Scoop for the photos I ran out of battery power (so what's new.)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

South Ayrshire ramblers.Dalmellington to Widow's Loch circular. November 2012

Dalcairney Falls.

Making our way to Little Shalloch

Lots of stops today to wait on the group.

Auchenroy Hill. (ADRC walk on 25/11/12)

Bogton Loch and Burnton.

Come on you can make it!!

Today's large group.

A happy but drookit walk leader.
Today Saturday November 10th South Ayrshire ramblers met at Dalcairney Farm where the walk leader had got permission from the owner to use the yard as a car park.Passing Dalcairny Falls 33 walkers made their way up to the  cottage known as Little Shalloch where we had a wee break for some coffee and snacks.Next was a boggy moorland walk until we reached the forest with it's path to take you round the Black Loch over to the Widow's Loch. Speculation amongst the walkers as to how it was named  must remain confidential on this family orientated blog.Once passed the lochs we made our way to another ruined cottage known as Meikle Shalloch where we had a lunch stop in the rain that had just come on and was not forecasted to start until well into the afternoon.Making our way back through the forest we arrived back at the farm to end this 9 mile circular walk most of it in fairly dry conditions except for the lunch break. Well done to the leader for keeping such a large group under control it was not an easy task with so many different abilities out today. Super walk and excellent company.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Recce for ADRC . Straiton circular. November 2012

Today Thursday November 8th the teacher and I travelled by bus to Straiton to recce yet again the difficult part of my walk I am leading on the 25th of this month. The main problem up until now has been the Baing Burn which in stretches is very difficult to cross but today we cracked it and with a wee bit of fence climbing and a big jump we have found a way that is comparitively easy (I hope). Lets just say I am a bit clearer now on the route I am going to take the group,a lot depends on the weather on the day. Today we experienced high wind and driving rain for a spell but that is the price we have to pay living and hill climbing in this part of Scotland.Thanks to the teacher for accompanying me yet again on this fairly difficult walk, a full blog will appear plus photos on the day.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Wigtownshire ramblers. Beneraird to Smyrton Hills Glenapp. November 2012

At the remains of the plane crash.
One of the "Hut Circles"( see text)

Making our way in the mud!

Lunch on the hillside

She had a lot on her mind today.

Today's group

Leader has to make an appearance.
Yesterday Saturday November 3rd I was honoured to be the walk leader for Wigtownshire ramblers on an 8 mile circular route up the summits of Beneraird and Smyrton two of the highest hills in this part of south west Scotland.As leader it is also my duty to write an article for publication in the local press so I will use it as my text for this blog.As usual my learned colleague will be producing a more detailed blog accompanied by some fine photographs,this can be found on the link to the Newton Stewart Blogger.

Press Report.

On Saturday November 3rd Wigtownshire ramblers did an 8 mile circular route up Beneraird and Smyrton Hills which are just two of the many hills situated in the Glenapp area.20 walkers met at the crossroads just off the A77  where there is ample car parking for the cars that came from the South Rhinns and Newton Stewart. The leader welcomed and introduced three new members to the group and hoped they would enjoy today’s walk. Setting off on a clear sunny cold morning along an old farm road we pass the  electricity convertor station which takes the power to Northern Ireland. After all the recent heavy rain that has fallen  recently in this part of Scotland the going was very muddy  slowing our progress until we reached the path that takes you from Ballantrae to New Luce a distance of some 19 miles . As this was a road that once carried horse drawn traffic many years ago the ground was somewhat easier to walk on. Our first stop was at an area described on the map as hut circles where we learnt that these were small dwelling places with low earth sides  and a timber structure was erected above this . Today all that is left are several circles where the houses once stood.Making our way up to Beneraird we met the farmer on his quad bike taking  feed to the animals grazing on the hillside which was a relief to some of the group as the beasts turned their attention to the food and ignored us completely.Once on the summit  the leader pointed out several hills visible today mainly towards the Galloway ranges. Heading on the road towards Lagafater Lodge the leader took the group to the remains of a Liberator aircraft which crashed on the hillside in 1945 resulting in 17 deaths out of the twenty that were on board on that dreadful day. The plane was on it’s way from Northern England to Prestwick when in thick fog and perhaps the lack of reliable navigation aids the plane hit the hill. One of the survivors crawled to the lodge to raise the alarm and when the rescue services finally got to the site they discovered two of passengers were still alive made even more remarkable that two days had passed since the accident happened. A lunch stop was taken here beside the wreckage whilst we remembered all who had perished on that fateful journey. Next we crossed over a grouse moor to take us to Smyrton Hill with it’s panoramic views of the Clyde and Loch Ryan with  the ferries making their way to and from Ireland.From the summit it was a very steep descent down to Smyrton Bridge and the track back to the start . The group thanked the leader for an excellent walk in the autumn sunshine before retiring to Stranraer for coffee and scones in Stir It one of the many fine tearooms to be found in the town.

 Next Saturday November 10th the walk is a 8 mile circular route from Castramont to Loch Whinyon. Please meet for car sharing at Breastworks car park, Stranraer at 9.00AM and Riverside ,Newton Stewart at 9.30AM. If going to the start at Knocktinkle please contact the leader direct on 01776 840226.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wigtownshire ramblers recce to Beneraird and Smyrton Hills. November 2012

Today I left Ayr on the 6.40AM (it's called dedication) bus to Glenapp picking up the teacher en route in Girvan to do an 8 mile recce for my walk on Saturday November  3rd. I will give a full blog on the day but will mention to anyone who is reading this report it is fairly wet and muddy right at the start of the walk. Once we were on Beneraird it was a little easier underfoot crossing over to the summit of Smyrton.We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the autumn sunshine after  yesterday when the rain forgot to go off all day hence the mud today. This is a grade "B+" walk due to the muddy conditions so come prepared on Saturday with good strong boots and gaiters. Hope to see you all there.