Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Leek crop harvest. March 2013

Maybe not prize winners

but fine for a few bowls of soup.
Not a bad year for leeks considering the weather we have experienced in the west coast of Scotland . The variety is "Musselburgh" which seems to thrive in our climate. Soon be time to sow the seeds for 2013/14.

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Kilmarnock Rocket . March 2013

Thanks to the "Duke" this is worthy of worldwide publication.

ARDC Culzean Castle March 2013

Just a wee blog to say yesterday 18 members of ADRC did an 8 mile circular walk around the Culzean estate admirably led by the farmer. When she said to me that I had not taken any photographs she was concerned that I may not blog the walk but as I explained the weather was dull and overcast not good for photos. Anyway the group met at the Maidens, walked along the shore up onto the cliff path ,past the castle to Goats Green car park before turning into the estate visiting the Kennedy family cemetry for a lunch stop. Passing the deer park the group made their way through the forest to Swan Pond where I joined them for the last mile or so of their walk.Good turnout on a dreich day and as usual a big vote of thanks was given to the farmer for leading an interesting walk through parts of Culzean that many members had not visited before.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Day return to Mallaig. March 2013

Approaching one of the viaducts in Glencoe.

Loch Treig.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Loch Shiel from the viaduct.

Some of the newer housing in Mallaig

Could not agree more.

The teacher at the harbour.

Cal Mac arriving from Skye.

He seemed happy enough!!
Yesterday the teacher and myself ventured to Mallaig on Scotland's north west coast by train using the Scotrail over 55 ticket. at £19 each this was very reasonable considering the distance travelled (282miles return)On a clear very cold morning we caught the 6.30AM bus from Ayr to connect onto the 8.20AM train from Glasgow. It was a spectacular journey past Loch Lomondside to Glencoe with it's mountain tops all covered in snow. Arriving in Fort William which is home to Scotland's highest mountain Ben Nevis (1344M) , the train became very busy with lots of English tourists keen to travel on the last part of the journey which has a reputation as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. The driver stopped the train on top of the Glenfinnan Viaduct to allow everyone to take photographs which was a very kind gesture appreciated by all. Once in Mallaig we went to a local bar for a wee refreshment or two and a plate of homemade tomato garlic fish soup,if anybody ever visits Mallaig go to the Steam Inn the soup is to die for. Once suitably refreshed we had a wander round the village and it's busy fishing harbour which was fairly quiet at that time as all the boats were away out to sea.The return rail journey was very pleasant particularly once all the tourists got off at Fort William leaving just a few of us to spread ourselves out and enjoy the trip back to Glasgow. Arrived back in Ayr 17 hours after we started  to end a superb day out on a most spectacular train journey.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

ADRC marathon Ayr to Girvan. March 2013

13 "purists"set off at 7.30AM (apologies to the "Duke" he is the cut off on the left)

First town on the route.

Donning the waterproofs at the Maidens.

Girvan's crocuses are just about to come into full bloom.

The pilot and the Girvan Lass enjoy a pint at the end.
Yesterday Saturday March 9th I was supposed to lead ADRC on their annual marathon walk to Girvan but as you all know by now due to my injury I was unable to fulfill my duties so Mr Chairman and Madam Vice kindly agreed to assume my role.I met the group of 13 at Greenan Castle car park where they were start their 26 mile marathon where I explained that they were extremely honoured to be described as "purists" as only the walkers who complete the course can have that accolade attached to their names.On a cold cloudy morning the group made their way along the shore whilst I went home for breakfast before getting  the bus to Dunure to meet the group coming down off Brown Carrick hill which was included in the walk this year to increase the mileage to marathon status.Madam Vice had joined the group by this stage as due to her cold had decided to have a later start and join the walkers at the summit of the hill(NOT A PURIST)).Once in the village the Girvan Lass also joined in the fun (AGAIN NOT A PURIST) making a grand total of 15 walkers heading out to the next port of call which was  Culzean Castle whilst I went back on a bus to Ayr to connect with one to the Maidens where I would meet the group again.They were making excellent time when I met them leaving the castle's estate to walk along the village prom before heading off to Turnberry home of the world famous golf course. I then caught another bus to Girvan where I went to Roxy Bar to watch the Scotland /Wales six nations rugby match which unfortunately Scotland lost . When I was in the bar I met the group's newly appointed Right Honourable Treasurer accompanied by his guid lady enjoying the beer and the game when he spotted me and started to offer up excuses why he was not out in the rain with the group enjoying the delights of the Turnberry shore. Just be honest sir you were never going on the walk but your secret is safe with me!The group finally made the Harbour Bar at about 4.30PM which was a very commendable time,  some of the credit must go to the Kilmarnock Rocket who lived up to his reputation and led from the front at a very past pace encouraging the others to keep going on what turned out to be a dreich afternoon in the drizzly rain. Once everyone was in the bar a small refreshment was enjoyed by all and a vote of thanks to the leaders. My own appreciation was also expressed to Mr Chairman and Madam Vice for stepping into my shoes and putting in a lot of hard work reccing the route so that the group could have a safe and enjoyable day out. Next year I have had a suggestion that we do our marathon in  September from Girvan to Ayr which could make transport arrangements easier to organise. I will look into this idea and report back to the committee.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Culzean Castle and estate. March 2013

Carpets of snowdrops in the woodland

Very imposing castle overlooking a calm sea.

The large doors of the castle firmly shut for the winter.

The Shanter riding school were in the park today.

New lambs enjoying the first steps of life.
Today Sunday March 3rd I went on the bus to the Maidens to hopefully meet up with Ayr and District ramblers who were climbing Mochrum Hill  which was wonderfully blogged by "The early Ooters" last year. My intention was to phone the walk leader and find out which way the group was going to use on their return to the Maidens. Well of course I had not fully anticipated that the mobile phone signal in that part of West Scotland is very poor so I did not manage to make contact with anyone. Undeterred I walked through the village into the estate up past the Swan Pond to the castle which is closed at present for the winter, thinking as I am walking I may meet the group yet coming back through the grounds. This did not happen so I presume they were walking on the dis- used railway line which is full of uneven surfaces so as I was on my own I did not venture this route. Finishing up at the castle gates I caught a bus back to Ayr to end a most enjoyable 4 mile linear walk in the spring sunshine.