Sunday, 29 September 2013

Wigtown ramblers. Fairies and Devils at Barr Village. September 2013.

At Barr village car park.

Lunch in the sunshine.

A "Bevy of beauties"

Steep descent (thanks Scoop)

Group at Kirsty's Cairn

Those walkers down there did not climb the last hill!!

Large group on the bridge.

Today's leader.

Happy Birthday. Three score and ten.
Yesterday along with my mother group 26 of us met at the lovely village of Barr in glorious warm autumn sunshine for an 8 mile walk through the "Fairy Knowe" and finally the "Devils Footprints"hence the title, a walk we did last September. .I am going to cheat a wee bit today as the Newton Stewart Blogger also known as the birthday boy will produce a very fine blog of the walk later today and also I will publish the walk leader's press report once I receive it. .Least to say a  wonderful day out in the sun with a a very jovial group of walkers.
Press report.

WIGTOWNSHIRE RAMBLERS –28 Sept 2013 – Barr Circular

On a gloriously sunny morning, twenty-six ramblers, including three visitors from other groups, met outside Barr village hall to commence a seven mile circular walk.

As in some other South Ayrshire villages and towns, a colourful leaflet has been produced, detailing several trails in the countryside around the village, and our walk was an amalgam of four of these trails.

The visitors were made welcome, the Depute Leader was gratuitously insulted, and “Happy Birthday” was sung to one of our stalwarts, Jim, who had reached an important (and advanced) age milestone that very day. We crossed the Changue burn by the bridge in the centre of the village and headed up through the fields towards the forest. Looking back, there were spectacular views of the countryside, with Barr village nestling comfortably in the glen.

There was a sign suggesting that part of the trail was closed, but fortunately our fears were unfounded. However, the forest path had been transformed into a wide track. One of our group suggested that it was in better condition than many of South Ayrshire's A-roads! We followed the track for about a mile before we made a sharp turn onto the Fairy Knowe trail. The grassy path through the forest proved enchanting, with hundreds of red, yellow, white and brown toadstools, together with lichen, displaying every shade of green and silver imaginable, hanging from the branches of the trees.

Suddenly the trail opened out into the warm sunshine, with gorgeous views, myriad waterfalls and narrow wooden bridges as the track plunged and soared alongside, and across, several burns.
After a steep descent down about a hundred narrow wooden framed steps, a wider forest track was encountered leading up to our lunch spot at Kirstie's cairn.  The cairn was erected to commemorate a young 19 year old postman, Christopher McTaggart, who had died in the vicinity in January1913. A large area of grass around the cairn had been neatly trimmed, and although there was only one picnic bench, it was an ideal spot for lunch, below the slopes of Haggis Hill.

After lunch we headed up the Devil's trail, a reasonably steep grassy track again lined with mushrooms and toadstools, mainly pink and red. A sharp turn to the left took us down along a steep and slippery path into another enchanting glen at the bottom of which we crossed a wee wooden bridge over the Changue burn. Some of the Fly Algaric toadstools there had reached an impressive size. A short sharp uphill path took us back onto a forest track.

A hill on the right is reputed to feature the Devil's footprints, the marks of a Bible and a sword-drawn circle. These marks were made during an altercation between the Devil and the Laird of Changue. One of the perils of living in the countryside, I suppose. There was no sign of any cattle in the field, so most of us spent the next quarter hour wandering happily around the hillside looking for the signs on the grass. Nothing conclusive was observed unfortunately.

We headed down the trail back to the village, enjoying the spectacular views across the glen to forest and hills beyond.

Back at Barr, most of the group enjoyed the hospitality of the local hostelry, the King's Arms, before heading home. It was wonderful to find that the hotel had recently reopened after a period of closure.

It is safe to say that weather conditions were perfect, and  they enhanced our experience of one of our favourite walks

Next Saturday's walk is a long (11 miles) walk along the southern shore of the Machars. Meeting times are 9.30am at Breastworks, Stranraer and Riverside, Newton Stewart, and 10am at St Medans beach car park, map ref. NX 365 395
Further information from the Walk Leader at 01671 403351

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Cunninghame Ramblers. Baidland Hill dalry circular. September 2013

A bit of a damp start

We had some nosey cows on our way up the hill

He always talks to horses

Striding up the country lanes

onto the wind farm track.

Coming up through the mist

Is it getting a wee bit clearer in the distance?

Lunch by the roadside

Today's group

and our leader.
Today Tuesday September 24th Cunninghame Ramblers met at Dalry for a 7 mile circular walk up Baidland Hill (334M) It was a damp muggy morning as we set off along local paths that eventually took us to a windfarm road to the summit of the hill. The views on a good day are normally stunning looking out over the Clyde to Arran. Today low cloud and wee bit drizzle prevented us from seeing more than a couple of hundred yards but it takes a lot more than weather to dampen the spirits of this group. Good day was had by all with a big thanks to the leader for showing a few of us some new tracks around Dalry.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

ADRC. Afton Water to Al Hang circular. September 2013

Misty tea break

All safely back down

thanks to our leader.(Kilmarnock rocket)
Today's walk was an 8 mile circular walk starting at Afton Water reservoir near to New Cumnock.12 of us met in the car park on a cloudy breezy morning to start our first climb up Cannock (594M) ,we were only half way up when we entered the mist and that set the tone for the rest of the walk all the tops were completely shrouded in gloom. Undeterred we made it up all the rest of the hills on this circuit namely Blacklorg Hill(598M)Meikledodd, Al What (628M) and Al Hang (642M). Thanks to our leader who had the unenviable task navigating in these conditions and never once did he get us lost and when he said round this forest is the reservoir he was right again. Well done sir.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Titanic exhibition. Belfast. September 2013

Titanic Exhibition

Could someone help him with one across.

Leaving Cairnryan behind

passing Corsewall Lighthouse

At the door of the Ulster concert hall.

They even have a sheep on the drivers door.

And a moonlight sail home.
Yesterday Wednesday September 18th I left Ayr at 5.40AM and drove to Girvan where I collected the teacher en route to the Irish ferry port at Cairnryan.Leaving on the 7.30AM ferry it was a wet start with a forecast of sun and showers. The crossing was fairly smooth with some wonderful views of Northern Ireland as we approached Belfast Lough..We took a taxi to the Titanic Exhibition which is housed in the most futuristic hall I have ever seen. The presentation of the exhibition was to say the least spectacular with video and visual displays played out in several different halls within the complex.Without going into great detail if you are ever have an opportunity to visit Northern Ireland make  time to visit this part of Belfast. In the afternoon we made our way to the city centre and found the famous Crown Bar which is still lit with old fashioned gas lamps today. Later we found Weatherspoons for more beer and someting to eat before we caught a bus back to the fery for our 7.30PM sail back home. Wonderful long day but well worthwhile making the effort to visit what must become one of Ireland's top tourist attractions.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cunninghame Ramblers. Glen Sannox and "The Chimney" Isle of Arran. September 2013

Today's transport.

Discussing the route.

The start of the "Chimney"

Slow progress was made.

Looking down through Glen Sannox.

Glen Rosa to a distant saddle.

A heron waits to catch his supper.

Today's group on the saddle.

Our leader.
Yesterday Wednesday September 11th 18 of Cunninghame groups finest walkers headed to the Island of Arran where they had organised two different walks ,one was round Brodick and the other was through Sannox and up a rock face known locally as the chimney. 16  of us opted for the more serious walk and after taking the bus to the start we made our way through a misty Glen Sannox much to the delight of the local midgies who were lying in wait for us.If you stopped at all they descended on you in their hundreds but if you kept on the move they were not too bad. Once we arrived at the base of the chimney the leader ordered a break before we started climbing. The first part is not too bad then it develops into scree before the  part of the climb that gave it it's name.Two of our group experienced some difficulties here but at this point it is as hard to descend as it is to ascend,so after a lot of coaxing ,some bad language everyone finally made it to the summit which takes you onto a plateau known as the saddle. After a well earned lunch break we started off to make our way down through Glen Rosa under the watchful eye of a stag who was guarding his females ready for next month's rutting season. We all finally met up in one of Brodick's fine watering holes for a couple of pints of beer before catching the ferry back home. I am sure there will be one or two tired muscles today after what was a strenuous 10 mile hike, thanks to our leader who was walk leading for the first time in his rambling career you were superb with all your words of encouragement on the difficult parts of the climb.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Portpatrick to Stranraer 2013

Path on the S.U.W.(see text)

Spike and the teacher at the cairn on Broad Moor.
Yesterday I caught the 6.40AM bus from Ayr to Stranraer via Girvan to collect the teacher and Spike en route and another bus to Portpatrick where the Southern Upland Way commences. Starting off at 9.30AM this was to be a test of fitness and stamina with Spike setting the pace,well those of you that know him this was just short of running. We had a good laugh in the windy sunshine and completed the 10 mile walk in just a little over 3 hours with only brief stops to either admire views or take on water. I must make comment on the state of the S.U.W. path which was atrocious in places after the last time I was on it.  The recent dry spell  has improved it in places but some duckboards for the winter months still need to placed on the stretch beside Knockquhassen Reservoir.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sun flowers in the garden. September 2013

Honestly they are over

3 metres high all grown from  tiny seeds!!

Doonfoot to Dunure. September 2013

Looking out over Ayr bay.

On the summit of Brown Carrick Hill.
Today the teacher and I walked from Doonfoot to Dunure,a walk we have done many times before but today was a wee bit different as we are experiencing a late burst of summer weather. When we were up at height the wind was blowing,the sun was shining and the views were superb ,another excellent day out.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Wigtownshire ramblers. August 2013

Loch Bradan dam.

On top of the dam.

A grey cloudy loch.

Lunch on the track.

The two groups meet for the second time.
Yesterday on a cloudy mild day two groups from my mother group walked the 8 mile circuit round Loch Braden ,we were not supposed to be in different groups but due to a misunderstanding some of the car drivers parked their vehicles in the WRONG car park. I will not go into detail and when I receive the walk leaders report I will attach it to this post. My group of 8 enjoyed our walk and we stopped many times to discuss the various wildlife that came into view along with the early fungi on the forest floor. Good day out with this small group.

Walk leaders report.

Wigtownshire Ramblers
31st August 2013
Sixteen ramblers and two visitors journeyed into Ayrshire on Saturday for an eight mile walk around Loch Bradan. As there were car parks at both ends of the loch, ten walkers started clockwise at the south end and eight parked by the big dam and walked anticlockwise, both parties to meet twice on the way round.
The day was dull but only one shower of rain dampened the proceedings and the views over the water and to the surrounding hills were spectacular.
The area of Loch Bradan was increased at the beginning of the last century by a dam built for Troon Water Works. This joined Loch Lure and Loch Bradan.  Again in the 1970s the reservoir was raised when a new dam was built to provide more water for the increasing population of Ayrshire. The Lure dam can be walked along, giving a view to the south across placid water on this day, but the Bradan dam was closed off and its height and strength only revealed as the parties walked the path below the structure.
As the Bradan dam was passed, the Water of Girvan was crossed at a ford. This river rises on the slopes of Shalloch on Minnoch before passing through a series of lochs - Loch Girvan Eye, Cornish Loch, and then Loch Skelloch, which the walkers viewed from the forest road on the west side of Loch Lure, before passing through Loch Lure itself and Loch Bradan. When the river emerges from under the big dam it continues on its way through Straiton to the sea at Girvan.
The walker’s day was brightened by seeing so much fungi growing below the trees alongside the lochs. Red fly agaric and orange fries were dotted about in the shade and great patches of ground were enlivened by a fairyland of small white toadstools spotting the soil. This area is popular for wild camping, a beautiful place to stay awhile, but the campers have left such a lot of debris behind that they are in danger of spoiling their outdoor holidays.
The east side of Loch Bradan is open moorland, a cycle path, which gave a good walking surface. A ditch alongside was the playground for pond skaters whilst tiny toadlets hopped away from the heavy boots of the passers-by. There were mercifully no midges to annoy the ramblers on this walk.
The cars were once more reached by both parties and the company adjourned some miles up the road, to House on the Hill for welcome refreshments. This had been an easy and pleasant outing, good views, good company and good weather for walking.
Next week’s ramble on Sep 7th, is a C+ 7 mile circular walk taking in Chapel Finian and Barhobble. Meet for car sharing 9.15am Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30am Breastworks, Stranraer, or 10am Chapel Finian Car Park NX 279 488. All are welcome but if going straight to the start or new walkers, please phone walk leader, 01776 700707.