Sunday, 30 March 2014

Wigtown ramblers. Lost villages of Ayrshire,Dunaskin. March 2014

The Dunaskin chimneys.

Climbing up the "brae"

Open cast mining has left this mess.

leader at Lethamhill store.

Houses are now just ruins.

perhaps this was the Main Street

now we are out on open moorland

keeping an eye on us!!

Steep climb to the war memorial

Reading the inscriptions

"Corbie Crags" remains

We see you!!

the bridge has seen better days

this was the alternative

For those that don't know her this is "SCOOP"

some of the gates have been padlocked

Could the owners not have found somewhere a bit more eco friendly for their vehicles.

Todays group

Our leader was the Newton Stewart Blogger.
Yesterday Saturday March 29th I joined my mother group at Dunaskin Mine works just outside Patna in South Ayrshire for a 7 mile walk to  what has become known as the lost villages. I am going to cheat a little bit as later today our leader and my good friend the infamous Newton Stewart Blogger will publish a full and extremely informative blog complete with press report which I will add to this post when available. Some of yesterdays photos were courtesy of Scoop so many thanks  for her contribution also to the leader who was armed with many stories   of the lost villages of Ayrshire.

Here's the report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers 29th March 2014  

Twenty one walkers gathered at the entrance to Dunaskin Ironworks for the walk. The weather forecast was for a good day.
Starting out in a north westerly direction, our first point of interest was the grade two listed building that is the Waterside Institute. Here we saw the first of three war memorial that we’d encounter today.
Now we climbed a few steps up to the disused rail line leading to open countryside. Here the open fields were dotted with odd brick buildings once associated with the mines and ironworks. At the Drumgrange burn a line branched uphill. This was the track of an incline drum and steel rope haulage system for raising and lowering rail bogies. A steady climb led us to the ruins of the drum housing. Open cast coal quarries lay abandoned to the west.
Here we saw and heard the first of the many skylarks that nest on these moors.
Now a level track took us past the second war memorial where those remembered were mostly conscripts of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. It was hard to believe that this was once a busy street separating the villages of Burnfoothill and Lethanhill. Further on, a large white painted stone declared 'Long Live the Hill'.
At the ruins of what was once the village store we entered the wood that encompasses the former village of Lethanhill. Here, thanks to an old map we walked along Whaup Row, White Brick Row and Briggate. The terraced houses now mostly reduced to rubble gave a fascinating insight to an age gone by.
Leaving Lethanhill we now headed east along a track. Only used by shepherds, walkers and wild animals these days, this track once carried bogies filled with coal and iron ore.
The track now took us to the edge of the former hill village of Benquhat.
From here we walked across a somewhat swampy moor to climb to our third war memorial, this one also remembered conscripts of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Wreath laying ceremonies still take place annually. A short break was taken to enjoy the somewhat misty views.
We now retraced our steps to Benquhat where we walked among the ruins of the school. Broken porcelain identified the toilet block.
Slag heaps and ironwork mounds are scattered across this area and it was between these we found a sheltered spot for lunch.
After lunch we made our way across more moor and old workings to the head of Corbie Craigs. With the sun now breaking through misty skies, we took our time to view the tumbling waterfalls in the deep gorge below.
A little lower down we came to Corbie Craigs Village. This was a single row of terraced houses built by the Dalmellington Iron Company in the 1850's. The village was abandoned in the 1950's and left to ruin.  A local man we encountered remembered visiting his grandfather here back in the nineteen forties.
Now we followed the Rough burn uphill to cross an old bridge where several initials were carved into the stonework. Once on the opposite bank, we followed the burn to where it converges with the Burnhead Burn to become the Dunaskin. Here we followed the undulating track overlooking the beautiful Dunaskin Glen. A disused rail track ran alongside.
At a high point where the burn turns sharply south we came to the site of Laight Castle, belonging to Alpin, King of the Scots. He was defeated and killed in battle in the 9th century; there are conflicting reports of where and when he died. He is our present queen's 34th Great Grandfather. Nothing remains of the castle, but we could imagine the drawbridge. We took another short break here to enjoy the ambience of the area. A peregrine falcon was spotted across the gorge.
Back on the move and with the giant chimneys of the Ironworks in view, we were soon walking into the grounds of the Dunaskin heritage centre.
Boarded up and abandoned were turbine houses, ovens, kilns, and a wonderful 1847 Italianate blowing-engine house. redundant relics of an industrial age that once was the lifeblood of South Ayrshire. There's still life here though, volunteers from the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group are always around preparing for the Steam Open Days in the summer.
Back at the cars, we now made our way into Dalmellington and the Eglington Hotel where we enjoyed scones, cakes, tea and coffee, an indulgence likely to counteract the good healthy work of the walk !

Next week walk; the 5th of April will be an 8 mile circular from Stranraer to Castle Kennedy. Meet at the Riverside in Newton Stewart for car sharing at 9.15am or the walk start at 10am. The walk starts at the 10am in the Breastworks car park in Stranraer (NX 059 610). New walkers are welcome but please speak to the leader first on 01776 840226.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Day out to the Lake District. March 2014

A good track for our first climb

Tarn at Watendlath

and looking back down on same tarn.

That is Skiddaw in the distance

A party of school children from Cheshire 
                                                      double click to see yourselves kids!!
The views were exceptional

This was the start of the descent

defiinately not for the faint hearted.
Recently with 4 of my rambling colleagues we went on a day trip to the Lake District. We travelled down Derwent Water to the typical lake side village of Rothswaite, here we started to climb to a hamlet called Watendlath complete with its own little tarn which was home to many ducks and geese. Another climb took us up onto Great Crag (436M)  and over to Doc Tarn on  a tricky stoney path before attempting the descent which to say the least was exceptionally steep with stone steps to assist you, coming down this way in wet weather would be virtually impossible. Arriving at Stonethwaite it was a pleasant 2 mile walk back to the start. The weather was very good to us until the last 10 minutes when we got caught in a shower but that did not dampen our spirits after a fantastic walk in an area that we do not get to very often. Thanks to all who took part it was a day to remember.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

ADRC Smugglers trail with a wee twist. March 2014

Leaders briefing

Mind the cars now!

Sitting on the reservoir wall for elevenses

Used to be Troons water supply.

The Sainty Visionary waiting to go to Hunterston ore terminal.

Hallyards Quarry

On the smugglers trail

Dundonald Castle circa late 13th century.

There were a few gates on the route back

Daffodils were in abundance today

Group on top of Dundonald Hill

He smiled earlier (our leader)
Today Saturday March 22nd ADRC met at Fullerton woods for an 8 mile walk on the smugglers trail but unlike previous walks this one had a twist in it towards the end. 20 of us left the car park on a cloudy breezy morning to walk through the village of Loans before getting to the actual smugglers trail. Our leader told us all about the contraband that came from Troon harbour along these very paths to the castle at Dundonald where it was then sold onto the various traders ,majority of it being whisky from Ireland. On the return leg instead of following the normal path we climbed up a slippy muddy one to come out at the top of Hallyards Quarry which today was nice and peaceful as there was nobody working at the weekend. Another short climb took us to the summit of Dundonald hill with its wonderful views over the Clyde estuary ,a distant Ailsa Craig was clearly visible. Passing back through Loans we followed another deviation to come into Fullarton House by the rear gates which have recently been uncovered and restored by the council. The promised rain at midday did not materialise and we all enjoyed a dry day out on this well known trail. Thanks to the leader who is obviously a  well kent face locally judging by all the car horns and waves from their occupants as we walked along the various roads.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Cunninghame Ramblers . Smugglers trail,Troon to Dundonald.March 2014

Todays small group

with our leader.
Yesterday Saturday March 15th Cunninghame Ramblers scheduled walk to Enoch Hill near New Cumnock was cancelled due to high winds and mist in the area,however our leader had an alternative outing commencing at Troon Cemetery..8 of us left the cars at the start to walk towards the shore on a drizzly cloudy morning with a forecast that said things will improve as the day goes on. The first part of the day was similar to our mid week walk until we were clear of Fullarton Woods we picked up the Smugglers trail through the village of Loans and onto the track that takes you up behind Hillhouse Quarry where a certain blog author used to be gainfully employed. Once we arrived at Dundonald Castle visitor centre we had a stop for lunch before retracing our steps back to Troon.The pace today was exceptionally fast covering the 10 miles in under 4 hours,regular ramblers will know to do that distance in that time we did not HING ABOOT!!Weather did improve slightly but was not suitable for photography hence the lack of photos on the blog. Thanks to our leader who incidentally will be celebrating a birthday in the next couple of weeks when she will become a bus pass holder, you led a an excellent walk on a dreary morning.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cunninghame ramblers. Mid week walk Prestwick-Troon circular. March 2014

Starting out on Prestwick shore

Looking over Royal Troon golf course.

Wigeon duck.

Crocuses and daffodils were in full bloom.

Elevenses at Fullarton House.

Lunch on Troon prom

bathed in the spring sunshine

Todays group

with me as walk leader.
On Tuesday March 11th I was the walk leader for Cunninghame group to do a 10 mile circular route round the Prestwick and Troon areas.26 of us met on a glorious mild sunny morning to walk along the shore towards the Pow Burn which at this time of year has a lot of birdlife feeding on the mudflats including Wigeon duck. Crossing over the golf course the path then took us into Fullarton Woods which were covered in daffodils and crocuses in amongst all the trees. A brief stop was enjoyed here before going into Troon to take us back to the shore to enjoy lunch looking out towards the island of Arran. Once we were all refreshed I decided as it was low tide we would enjoy a long shore walk back to the start as opposed to using the local cycle track. This is Cheltenham week at the races so I finished off giving the group my tip of the day (unfortunately it lost) before heading off to watch the action on television. Thanks to all who came out it was an honour and a privilege to be asked to lead this fine group of ramblers and I look forward to meeting you all again on a future walk.