Sunday, 30 November 2014

Deerstalkers dinner party. November 2014

Out to shoot the dinner.
Last night Anne and I were extremely honoured to be invited to the deerstalkers house in Ayr for dinner. Along with 8 other guests we were treated to a superb meal of chicken and local venison with lots of alcoholic beverages. During the after dinner chat lots of varied subjects were discussed along with   more strong drink. Arriving home Anne and I were accompanied by the teacher and his lovely partner whereupon I opened a bottle of this years sloe gin which was to the best of my recollection first class. Great night out but plays havoc with the walking programme. Thanks must go to the deerstalker for providing an excellent meal she really did us all proud.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cunninghame ramblers. Mid week walk on Dailly paths.November 2014

Walking along the Main Street

Lots of very muddy tracks today

Lunch in the forest

Good stile gets out of the forest

and some relief from the mud

Group less two. (away for a comfort stop,guess who)

Traffic commissioner was our leader
Yesterday Wednesday November 26th Cunninghame ramblers met in Dailly on a cloudy reasonably mild day for a 6 mile walk round the village utilizing two of the well known local trails. Firstly 19 ramblers left the square for a mile or so of road walking before going up a very muddy path that led us into Kilgrammie woods to a  pleasant ramble along a track back to the village whereupon our next part of the walk took us into Lindsayston woods to a pleasant lunch stop beside a small burn.Suitably refreshed we next left the woods onto a good road where we met the farmer from Balcamie Farm who explained to us the various reasons for separating the sheep during the breeding season. We also asked about the local curling pond that was supposed to have been used up until about 60 years ago. He very kindly took us down to where it had been and also pointed out an old brick building which housed the curling stones until they were required during the winter months. I have past this pond on many occasions without ever seeing this building, thank you sir for taking the time out to show this part of local history.Arriving back at the start our leader was thanked for guiding us through the mud on another very jovial day out with this rambling group.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cunninghame ramblers. Catrine to Sorn circular. November 2014

Meeting in Catrine.

This water was used to power the mills that once stood in this area.

Donning the waterproofs.

We had to give way to a car on this very narrow bridge.

Some ramblers always find a dry spot for a cuppa.

Bluebells in the woods.

Sorn from the high path

Well laid out paths took us round the village

Entrance to Sorn Castle.

Lunch at war memorial

Todays group

The chemist was our leader.
Yesterday Saturday November 22nd Cunninghame ramblers met in the quiet East Ayrshire village of Catrine for 7 mile circular walk to Sorn on the River Ayr Way coupled with a walk round 4 farms.15 of us started out on a cloudy dry morning but unfortunately and not as forecasted the rain came pouring down but as usual undeterred we soldiered on until the weather eased as we approached the lovely village of Sorn. Morning coffee in the local cemetery providing  a few wisecracks from the group before we took a well defined path through the woods high above Sorn. Now the bit none of us had done before our leader took us on minor roads to what has become known locally as the 4 farm walk which entailed us passing through (you have guessed it already) 4 farms. Interesting countryside with lots of pheasants in the fields and also a couple of buzzards keeping a watchful eye on the group. The next part of our walk was another minor road passing by the Sorn Castle estate before reaching the war memorial perched high above Catrine. After a brief lunch stop we descended a flight of very steep narrow slippy steps back to the cars. Nice pleasant walk programmed to give us all time to return home to watch the rugby international on TV which was  played at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock breaking with the traditional venue of Murrayfield. Scotland v Tonga which we  won 37-12.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Gordon and Anne's Blog: Glasgow Central Station tour. November 2014

Gordon and Anne's Blog: Glasgow Central Station tour. November 2014: Start of tour is underground. Then we were allowed on the roof on walkways Looking down on the trains Looking out on...

Glasgow Central Station tour. November 2014

Start of tour is underground.

Then we were allowed on the roof

on walkways

Looking down on the trains

Looking out on the Glasgow skyline

Stick to the day job

Not often I get in on the blog.
Today the teacher and I travelled by bus to Glasgow to go on an organised tour of Central Station which has been getting some very positive press reports recently. For example on a recent doors open day 100 tickets were put up on the web page and 83000 people applied. With this information one of the stations employees who just happens to be a railway enthusiast approached his manager and suggested that the tour had the potential to become a major tourist attraction hence the reason we were there today and it is now completely sold out until the end of February 2015.We started in the vast tunnels under the station which were constructed by thousands of navvies back in the nineteenth century to house storage areas for coal ,grain etc etc. some of the tunnels go down to the river Clyde, another one connects to Queen Street station in the city. Lots of stories of what life must have been like back then were narrated by our two tour guides. next we were taken up a narrow stair which eventually had us all out on the walkways of the biggest glass roof  in Europe with views over the city and down onto the stations 15 platforms. Again we were told about the construction of the roof ,during the war years the glass was painted black so that it would not become a bombing target . In the 1960's and into the early seventies all the glass was replaced when the station went through a major renovation programme.
In conclusion it was an excellent well prepared tour with access to places in the station that up until recently were out of bounds to the general public. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wigtown ramblers. Gordons famous 3 hill walk in Glenapp.November 2014

A and C walkers at the start

We always stop here for a moments silence

Perhaps a farmer with a sense of humour. (it is only the fleece)

Hill group on top of Pinderry

Our leader with his pompous look.
First of all apologies for the late posting of this blog but I have been very busy of late. As the Newton Stewart blogger has again published an excellent blog with a press report I will just use it to report on the walk.

Walk report.
15th of November 2014

Twenty seven walkers gathered at Auchencrosh crossroads above Glenapp for the walk start.
Due to recent adverse weather it had been pre determined to have two walks of differing difficulty.
The harder high level walk would traverse the range of hills from Penderry to Smyrton hill, while the low level walkers would do a circular from the Interconnector station to Ballantrae, returning via the Glenapp Castle – Smyrton Glen.

Low level circular.

Fifteen walkers opted for the low level walk and began the walk taking the track north east past the Auchencrosh Interconnector. This is a high voltage link connecting Ballycronan More in County Antrim with the National Grid.
The track continued past Willie’s Wood to cross Smyrton Bridge. It was a sunny day with very little cloud.
Before long the route afforded views across to Knockdolian Hill and to Ailsa Craig out in the North Channel. The rooftops of Glenapp Castle stood out in the sunlight. A strange rubber tracked dumper, an old tree lined avenue and odd fungi also caught the attention along here.
The track, occasionally muddy, led us to the crossroads at the old Ballantrae to Stranraer road. It now leads to New Luce via Lagafater and is part of the Stinchar Valley Trails.
Here we took a left turn to head north west. At Kilwhannel road end a group of tall sheep seemed to have arranged themselves into a family group for a photo sitting session.
Continuing north-west the track brought us to farm buildings of Laggan Stables where the farmer passed the time of day with us.
Just below the farm the Auchairne burn flows into the Crailoch burn where a number of waterfalls delighted the group’s photographers.
The track now took us down the course of the Crailoch burn passing the walled garden of Lower Laggan House. Carved wooden sculptures spotted in the garden included a golden eagle and a tall crane.
On reaching the road junction with Laggan cottages, we accessed a field to continue alongside the Crailoch Burn to its confluence with the river Stinchar.
After crossing another field we made our way into Ballantrae and the sea front for a sea view lunch break.
Though still a little misty in the distance, Arran and the Mull of Kintyre could be identified. What looked like a large marine research vessel, complete with helipad and crane sat off Corsewall Lighthouse.
After lunch we made our way south to the gates of Glenapp Castle. Now we began the climb up the delightful glen still in autumnal colours. The path followed the Smyrton burn up through mature woodland, large bamboo plants, past tumbling waterfalls and across wooden bridges. This was the most colourful section of the walk. We emerged from the glen at Smyrton. After carefully crossing the busy A77, we made our way past the village hall to a track to the east through open country. This brought us back on to the Auchencrosh track and another ten minutes back to the cars.
We could see the hill group descending Smyrton Hill. They would arrive back ten minutes later.
Many walkers from both groups then made their way to the Merchant House in Cairnryan for wonderful after walk cake and other confectionery delights.

High Level Walk
It was a dry morning with a fairly brisk wind as the somewhat grumpy walk leader addressed the other 11 hardy souls who decided to participate in the more challenging of the two walks being offered.
After moaning about his dental health and the appalling conditions during the dry run (hah!) undertaken the previous Wednesday, the leader described the challenges to be faced.
Despite this, the group set off quite happily from the cross-roads at the top of Glenapp along the road opposite the electrical sub-station. After about 3 miles, we left the road ( having encountered some people in large vehicles out to destroy some of the local wildlife), and turned sharply left up Penderry Hill. The views of Ailsa Craig and the coastline below were spectacular. Once at the top, we headed for a wall, which we followed for a couple of miles toward Carlock Hill, the conditions underfoot being wet, although not as bad as the previous Wednesday!
Once at the top, we paused at Ellie's Memorial, before enjoying lunch.
We set off down the hill to the A77, skirting the Postman's Memorial, then walked about 300 yards to a track on the other side, leading to the radio masts at the top of Auchencrosh Hill. After reaching the top, it was decided to head on down towards the sub-station. Despite the fact that the weather was improving, with the wind dying right down, it was getting a bit late in the day to tackle Smyrton Hill as well.
During the 10 mile walk, sightings were reported of raptors, roe deer and red grouse.

By the time the group got back to their vehicles, the leader had cheered up enough to thank everyone for being cheery, sticking together and contributing to a very enjoyable day in the hills.

Next week’s event will be a coastal walk from Cairngarroch to Ardwell Bay on Saturday the 22nd of November. The walk will start from the Cairngarroch (NX 052 494) at 10:00am. Meet at the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer at 09:30 or the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart at 09:00 to share transport.

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Inverness short break. November 2014

Of course I found a Wetherspoons!

Well laid out field of remembrance.

Inverness Castle

A lovely tribute to a guid family man.

4 wheel drive needed here

Our hotel
had the most amazing toilet.

The power of the sea at Golspie
Anne and I went to inverness for a few days courtesy of the trusty old bus pass. We left Ayr on Monday morning on the 6.30AM X77  to Glasgow connecting onto the express gold bus to Inverness. Our hotel was the Royal Highland which was wonderful to sy the least ,it was a little old fashioned but in a very nice way. Our room was large and spacious with a king size bed and a shower in the bathroom which at full power would blow you away. The meals can only be described as excellent with dinner and wine being provided on the first night included in our £99 package (that was for the two of us).On Tuesday we took the service bus to Golspie on the Moray coast which was interesting and different as neither of us had ever been there before.In the afternoon we stopped off in Dornoch with a visit to the famous golf links. Dinner that evening was taken in Wetherspoons (2 steaks and a bottle of a wine) before a nightcap at the hotel to end a very pleasant day. Next day after a walk round some of the sights in Inverness it was back onto the bus for the journey home after what can only be described as a wonderful break and value for money.