Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Our nephews 40th birthday party. April 2014

I remember the day he was born!

Says it all

The "family"

Anne with the cake

Highly recommmended                                

Monday, 28 April 2014

ADRC. Prestwick/Troon circular. April 2014

Todays group less 2 (see text)

My turn to be leader today
Yesterday Sunday April 27th I had the honour of leading ADRC on grade "C" walk from Prestwick to Troon and surrounding areas.Most of our members are away for the weekend in the Lake District so there was only  8 of us  at the shore car park, made up of a gentleman from Prestwick who is keen to join the group and a lady guest from Canada who was visiting Scotland , she explained in Canada she is a member of a rambling club called "Come Hike With Us" which is well worth a visit to their web page to see the comparisons with our own organisation. On a clear very pleasant warm sunny morning we made our way to Troon along the shore and through Fullarton Woods and this is where due to the nice weather I decided to extend the walk to Barrassie, well that is a leaders prerogative!Once we crossed over the Darley golf course we picked up the shore path back to Troon where we then had our lunch break,it was at this point one of our lady members excused herself but found the walk and the distance a wee bit far for her as she was very tired from her gardening efforts on a previous day and one other member also left at this juncture none other than the Kilmarnock Rocket who found the pace a wee bit too slow for his liking and was last seen power walking back to Prestwick. After our lunch stop we continued on a very pleasant walk along the shore back to our starting point. Apologies for lack of photos today but it is an area that I have photographed many times on previous walks and as I was leader I had the job of navigation on small parts which were not on my original walk plan.Great weather and good company made this another successful 10 mile outing.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cunninghame ramblers. Fairlie to Dalry linear walk. April 2014

Our chosen mode of transport today.

Fairlie Castle

On right of way past castle

Climbing Fairlie Glen with Hunterston in the background

Dalry wind farm

Looking down on Largs

Back onto solid track

Todays group at our unconventional lunch stop
Our leader for the day.
Yesterday Saturday April 26th Cunninghame ramblers did an 8 mile hill walk from Fairlie to Dalry over the moors. 10 of us met at Kilwinning station to take the train to the start . It was a cloudy windy morning as we started out up a steep path through the glen to take us onto the moors at Lairdside Hill and over to Greenhill. A good pace was set today as it was quite cold and windy on the summits hence the reason for sighting the windfarms in this locallity. Lunch was taken in the shelter of some buildings before our last climb to Baidland Hill with its wonderful views right up towards Glasgow. Here we joined a minor road back to Dalry station where some of the walkers had parked their cars earlier and I caught the train home to Ayr. Super day out as usual with this rambling club and thanks to the leader once again for allowing me to join such a  fine group of walkers.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Cunninghame ramblers. Straiton circular to Black hill of Knockgardner. April 2014

Walk leaders briefing

Looking down on Straiton

On summit of Bennan Hill (283M)

What a wonderful day to take a wee break!!

One of the walkers pointing out

Maybole with Arran in the distance.

We decided this was a hide for deerstalkers.

Local farmer was ploughing away in the sunshine

Somehow I managed to miss out the Kilmarnock Rocket

Todays leader
Yesterday Sunday April 20th I travelled to Straiton to meet Cunninghame Ramblers for an 9 mile hill walk to Knockgardner which lies south west of the village. 17 of us met in the walkers car park and after an early morning chocolate minature easter egg we made our way to the summit of Bennan Hill (283M) on an absolutely glorious sunny morning. From here it was a lot of down and ups on sometimes difficult terrain due to the tussocks to reach Cawin Hill (266M) with its wonderful views of  South Ayrshire. Lunch was taken in a small plantation of deciduous trees which must have been planted when there was an old cottage on the site.Next hill was Black Hill of Knockgardner (301M) which I have to admit is one hill I have never climbed in this area and it proved to be one that I will do again as the views and climb were well worth the effort in the warm sunshine,now we followed the Cawin burn down through the forest and back to the car park in the village. A truly memorable day out with thanks to the leader for not getting us lost in all the wee tracks through the dense forests and any comments about lady leaders not knowing which way to go were totally unfounded .

Wigtownshire ramblers. Portpatrick circular. April 2014

What a beautiful day to go a coastal walk

First the climb out of the village

Passing Dunsky castle

Some of the older members had to take a break!

Looking down on Knockinaam Lodge.

Passing through one of the many gates

Takes you to a WW2 listening station

We arrive down at the lodge

Now we had a couple of miles road walking

A herd of aptly named "Belted Galloways"

Lunch stop was beside this waterfall

Only thing missing was Billy Connolly
The hotels were very busy in the warm sunshine
Todays group
With our leader.
On Saturday I travelled by bus to Portpatrick in South West Scotland to join my mother group for an 8 mile coastal walk .As my mentor "The Newton Stewart Blogger"is preparing the press report I will use his text as my blog today..As I am having blog problems this morning with my spacing I hope it comes out OK.

Here's the report
Saturday the 19th of April

On a dry spring morning with the sun shining, sixteen ramblers gathered at Portpatrick's South Car Park for today's coastal and countryside walk.
Already people were congregating in this popular village to enjoy the Easter weekend at the seaside.
Climbing the many steps to the cliff tops we were joined by another rambler to take the group total to seventeen.
We were soon passing the ruins of Dunskey Castle and dropping down to cross the bridge over Craigoch burn.
Early day caravanners were setting up on the best sites.
Even this early in the walk we were seeing an abundance of spring flowers. The daffodils at Portpatrick were giving way to primroses, bluebells, violets and celandine. Later in the walk we would see wood sorrel and anemone and a lone wild orchid.
Solar haze meant the absence of distant views, but we were treated to nesting seabirds and a variety of fishing and pleasure craft out to sea.
After passing through a number of kissing gates we were soon looking down on the holiday cottages of Morroch Bay.
Here too was the intriguing sign declaring the 'Path to Hush-Hush'.
A gradual descent brought us down to the Antonlew Glen, Port of Spittal Bay and the Knockinaam Lodge Hotel.
It's remote location made it an ideal setting for a secret meeting between Sir Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower during the Second World War to discuss the D-Day plans. It also featured in John Buchans 'The Thirty-nine Steps' as the house to which Hannay fled. An erected marquee in the hotel grounds gave speculation to a possible wedding party later in the day.
Accessing the beach, we enjoyed a fifteen minute tea and coffee break.
Reluctantly leaving the beach we climbed the road alongside the tumbling Port of Spittal burn up to the Portree road. Here, as we turned north a brightly coloured peacock made an appearance.
Gypsy Vanner horses grazed in adjoining fields.
A gradual climb brought us to North Port o' Spittal where delightful Jacob Suffolk cross bred sheep and lambs eyed our passing with suspicion.
In other fields we saw Belted Galloways, Shetland ponies, pheasants and rabbits.
Soon we were alongside the ruins of Hush-Hush, once a world war two radar listening post hence it's name. The name has more appeal than the actual indistinct rectangular brick building.
With views over Portpatrick and the surrounding countryside we made our way back to Portree where we lunched by the waterfall on the Craigoch burn.
After lunch we made our way past the increasingly busy holiday parks to Portree Terrace from where a short steep climb brought us to Heugh Road.
Here we passed an intriguing garden filled with oriental ornaments, standing stones and Easter Island type statues.
A short walk along the A77 brought us to the farm track to Dunskey Mains Farm. With a profusion of wild garlic along the verges we now made our way down the wooded Dunskey Glen to emerge at Sandeel Bay.
On our way back along the coastal path to Portpatrick, we occasionally had to give way to the increasing number of casual walkers and daytrippers out this Easter weekend.
Back in Portpatrick, the place was awash with people. The outdoor seating areas of the hotels and bars were filled to capacity while cars drove around the car parks looking for spaces.
Knowing how busy Portpatrick would be, our walk leader had arranged our after walk refreshments at Brambles in Stranraer.
Our car spaces were quickly filled as we left the port. Now we made our way to Commerce Road in Stranraer. Fruit scones, cherry and apple pie, tea and coffee capped a wonderful day out in the spring sunshine.

The next walk on Saturday the 26th of April is a new moderate walk in the central Machars.
Meet at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.15 am or the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9.30 am for car sharing. The walk will begin at 10am at Clauchrie Forest Gate (NX 401 556). For more information or if going direct to the walk start telephone the walk leader on 01671 403351. New walkers will be warmly welcomed. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Barony Hill Dailly. April 2014

A pair of school teachers.
Yesterday in the company of the teacher and his partner we carried out a recce for the forthcoming Newton Stewart walking festivall that we are both involved in . It was a glorious day as we followed the route through Lindsaystone woods to start the climb to  Barony Hill. On the summit the views across this part of South Ayrshire are absolutely amazing,then we crossed over to the dis-used quarry complete with its old limekilns. Once down in the woods the forest floor was carpeted with wood sorrel and early flowering bluebells which hopefully will be in full bloom next month when we take the group walk. Another excellent sunny day out in this part of Ayrshire.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wigtownshire ramblers . Creetown to Newton Stewart. April 2014

This bridge is for cyclists only

Some of us preferred dining al fresco

whilst others chose the cafe

Lots of bikes for hire

Bruntis Loch

The sun eventually shone on us

Another tree lined avenue to add to my large collection

Todays leader
Yesterday I caught the bus to Newton Stewart to meet my mother group to walk from Creetown to Newton Stewart, unfortunately my bus did not connect with theirs which I had already worked out so my idea was to walk from the bus to Kirroughtree Visitor Centre where I knew they we going to have a lunch stop. It was cloudy dry morning as I made my way up through the forest with all the birdsong ringing out from high up in the canope of the trees which I really enjoyed before meeting up with the group coming off the old railway line that used to run along this part of the country. Lunch was taken at the magnificent visitors centre before setting off on an undulating path through the forest past Bruntis Loch on towards the hills above Newton Stewart. Lots of the walkers were telling me this is a long 10 mile walk and I may miss my bus home, unknown to them I had reccied part of this walk before and I knew several places where I could if necesssary cut the route short and head off to the town. Thanks for everyones concern and I can report that I caught the bus with time to spare, good to see you all again and thanks to the leader for letting me join the group albeit a wee bit late.

With thanks to the Newton Stewart blogger..

Wigtownshire Ramblers April 12th 2014   Creetown to Newton Stewart
“By bus to Creetown”, was the instruction to Ramblers this week and consequently eighteen members boarded the bus in Newton Stewart. Alighting near Adamson Square where our walk was to begin two more walkers joined the group. We set off in good spirits over the Money Pool Burn and along tracks to Barholm Mains Farm where we watched frisky lambs and protective mothers grazing in the fields. Crossing the Creetown Road the group climbed the short path up to the disused railway track. The track has been tarmacked and is now part of the national Cycle Route 7 as we discovered from a newly painted fossil tree sign, created by Jon Mills, along the way.  
Spring was in the air with a profusion of wild flowers blooming in the verges – primroses, celandines, stitchwort and speedwell to name a few. A family of cyclists waved cheerfully as they passed by. At the Cairnsmore Viaduct the Ramblers turned right heading up the valley towards the new centre at Kirroughtree where our lunch break was to be taken. Along the road we were met by our Ayrshire walker who had come to join us. Now we were twenty one. The centre was very busy as spring celebrations were taking place. Some walkers elected to picnic on the benches outside while others went in to sample the food provided by Cream of Galloway who now run the café. All enjoyed a visit to the new restrooms which were voted a huge improvement over the old ones.  The group were delighted to meet Alan Hall, editor of the Wigtown Free Press, who faithfully publicises our weekly articles. Also on site was Lucy Hadley forest ranger and Helen Fenby from Cream of Galloway, both of whom have encouraged and assisted Ramblers in past walks
After a most enjoyable break the walk resumed along the blue trail which took us under the new and impressive wheel bridge “Standing at five-metres in diameter and with a 12 metre ramp on and off, the new bridge was designed and built by Andy Hopkins, 7stanes Technical Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Alasdair Rennie of Sustainable Scotland and other Forestry Commission Scotland staff."  A pause was taken for photographs before walking on to the Bruntis Loch where some walkers took a short detour to view the polished pink quartz gemstone, a feature of the Kirroughtree 7 Staines route.
A short walk later and the group abandoned the blue trail crossing the dyke and fields of Larg Farm. Here we viewed Larg Tower now a heap of stones but once the seat of the McKie family who were granted the lands about by Robert the Bruce. Crossing the Queensway the group entered the Doon Wood via a new forest road created to remove the disease ridden larch trees. After a steep climb up Parliament Knowe the group paused for sweeties and a short lecture on how it got its name by becoming a meeting place where lead miners could discuss their grievances against their employers. Later it was used by tinklers as a summer camp for many years.
The walk now took us up a beautiful tree lined path and into Bower Wood. A sharp wind had arisen and we were glad of the shelter of the trees. As we topped a rise in the path we looked straight down into a field, the hollow centre of which was filled with a herd of about thirty fallow deer, some brown, but mostly white, who were sheltering from the wind. They gazed at us in some alarm but we moved on down the path which eventually lead us through Minnigaff, along riverside road and back to our cars. The now customary refreshments were taken in the Belted Galloway café where Gordon was awaiting us with freshly baked scones and a cheery service.
Next week there is an eleven mile walk around the coast and countryside near Portpatrick. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9am or the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.30am for car sharing. The walk starts at Portpatrick South car park at 10am. Thinking of going straight to the start or of joining our group?  Please phone the walk leader on 01581 200256 first.