ReportsPosted by Neil Kitchener Tue, January 22, 2019 15:04:01
The day had dawned different from the weather
forecast, a not unknown phenomena in Kirkintilloch. As usual, the members met
at the car park and set off in three cars. The snow on the Campsie Hills was
the first indication that although it had not been a white Christmas it did
look like it would be a white snowy walk. The drive up the lane from Todd Holes
to our parking spot was over fresh virgin snow. However, the party cautiously made
its way up the hill to the parking spot at the entrance to the forest.Neil was
in attendance, complete with his supply of delicious chocolate.
The group were advised that the walk was around the
hill and would offer a range of changing panorama views. The snow was lying
about 2 inches on the ground, the puddles were frozen hard and the fir trees
had snow on them making them look like Christmas cards. The sound of cracking
ice disturbed the quiet of the forest which was further shattered when there
was a singing in unison, if not in key, of “We’ll be coming round the mountain”.
Shortly after the start, we took a small detour to visit the remains of the 13th
century castle belonging to Sir John de Graham, one of the Knights who was
killed supporting William Wallace.
After visiting the castle and noting the history on
the helpful information board, we proceeded along the forest track running parallel
to the road and looked out over Loch Carron with Meikle Bin hidden in the low-lying
mist. One of the party shared that it was originally was called Muckle Bin
meaning big hill. The snow was thinning out and we came to a fork in the path
where we had our first stop with left over Christmas sweeties and jelly babies.
Christine advised that the path to the right went down to the road by a cemetery.
As it was cold, the party then took the left turn
in the track and made our way gently and slowly up to the highest point of the
walk. The scenery changed and we could now see ghostly like figures, the white
wind turbines, in the distance. They were only just visible through the mist
and were hardly moving. Behind us was the loch and as we walked up the hill, we
noticed a lower trail that followed the stream up the valley. We were notified
that this was a longer alternative option, meandering around and eventually re-joining
the path we were on.
A solitary mountain biker passed us speeding down
the hill, not sure who was the more surprised, him or us. His tracks left an
imprint in the snow which we duly followed all the way back to the carpark. We
also saw what looked like deer and rabbit or squirrel tracks. When we reached
the next fork in the path, we took the left track heading westwards and made our
way to the lunch break. The scenery again completely changed to open moorland
with the odd farmhouse.
After lunch and some of Neil’s chocolate, we slowly
climbed up a small slope before following the track back down. Christine assured
us that the views looking down the Fintry valley and the escarpment above Cruachan
Castle were spectacular most days but not today. Eventually, we came across another
junction and discovered our footprints heading outbound.
Arriving back at the car, the group decided that
this was indeed a new walk for the club and would be worth doing again on a
summer’s day when we could see the views without the mist and the snow. A vote
of thanks was given by George which Christine gratefully accepted, stating that
she knew they had had a choice whether to walk or stay in bed on this cold,
snowy day. It was agreed that a further recce to find a path to the top of the
hill would make another interesting walk for the club.
Christine and her helpful chocolate Christmas pixie
ReportsPosted by Neil Kitchener Wed, September 26, 2018 14:48:49
The weekend forecast was promising and people made their way
to the hotel. Some came via Callander and others by Loch Lomond. Neil and Christine
picked up Mary and Marjory and had an uneventful trip over Rannoch Moor and through
Glencoe to the hotel at the side of the loch. Most people had rooms with
spectacular views over Loch Leven looking up the glen to the Pap of Glencoe and
the tail end of Aonach Eagach, one of the major high ridges on the mountaineering
scene in the country.
Picturesque boats bobbed on the loch with swans gliding and herons
fishing.in the mirror calm surface of the water. The hotel also offered a
swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna which was well utilised by members of the
group, especially after the walks. The menu was very varied and the venison in
wine sauce was a real favourite. The choice for breakfast was great, the cooked
breakfasts were the downfall of many a dieter and the porridge was cooked
properly. Lisa arrived and shared her experiences from the leadership training
in Mugdock which she had just finished. She gave us tips for future use and
recommended the course for members. Also staying in the hotel was an
international party of train spotters who were doing the great rail journeys of
the world. They were looking forward to the “Jacobite” steam train ride from Fort
William to Mallaig which is commonly called the “Harry Potter Line” as it was one
of the highlights of the films.
afternoon we explored the village and it’s surroundings, walking along the edge
of the loch around the hotel before exploring the old slate quarry. Notice
boards along the walk gave information about the quarry, its importance in the
last century and touched upon the hard life of those who toiled in dangerous
conditions to produce slates. The slate was a unique colour and had been
exported all over the world. The quarry is now filled in as a loch in tranquil
surroundings. The ghosts of the slaters the only memories of the hard work
loading ships to carry the slates to the roofs of buildings far away. The
ramblers then followed a walk along the Breaclet Trail which climbed up through
the beautiful moss and lichen covered woods above the quarry to an old
settlement before returning to the village. Ballachulish is a relatively quiet,
tourist free village off the side of the main road. There used to be a railway
line connecting it through Kentallan to Oban but times and Mr Beeching move on
and it is now a very picturesque cycle track skirting the loch edge and winding
started with the inevitable rain shower and the main walk was led by Christine around
the base of Sgorr Dhearg from Duror back to the hotel .This was a new one to
the club, such events are rare and most walkers took advantage of the
opportunity to participate, the high walkers due to injuries opted for this
This new walk, geographically in two parts, was 9 miles long
with an ascent of 400m, the first part was along forest trails and the second through
open moorland before descending into Ballachulish The start of the walk climbed
gradually following signs to James Stewart’s birthplace. For the literary
minded, James Stewart was made famous in “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson.
In summary, a few years after Culloden, a member of the Campbell clan known as “The
Red Fox” was shot and killed on the hills above Duror. James Stewart was blamed
for the crime. Although he was innocent, he was convicted by the jury comprised
mostly of Campbells and hanged at the rocky outcrop overlooking Ballachulish Bridge.
The culprit’s name was known by the clan chief but has not been revealed to
The group slowly made its way at a leisurely pace through
the forestry tracks, admiring the views and watching the trees beginning to portray
their autumnal colours. As we slowly climbed up there was a spiral of smoke in
the distance, a sign that the Duror Bothy 1994 was inhabited. We stopped to
talk to a couple leaving the bothy who were making their way to Easdale for the
annual world stone skimming championship, hoping to improve on their 80th
position in last year’s competition. We wished them all the best and continued
to the hut.
The well-appointed bothy was still occupied by another couple and the
fire was alight so we stopped for a cup of tea and some took the opportunity to
read the information leaflets on the events leading up to and the consequences
from the murder as well as a biography of James and his family. His life and
the events need to be set in the historical time. The Jacobites were on the
losing side and history is usually written by the victors.
The party then moved on along a grassy path and timber
boardwalk. A fallen tree blocking the path had to be negotiated. It was
interesting to watch the differing techniques. First prize goes to Mary for her
graceful acrobatics helped by 2 other members. Marjory described it as a golden
The trees were covered in lichen and mosses with different shades of
green. Anyway, back on track and we climbed slowly to the highest point of the
trail before descending and following a track through the woods to the open
country where we stopped for lunch in the open area beyond the wood.
The path changed to a narrow sheep track, contouring and
meandering down the valley. When the mists cleared from the tops, we were
blessed with amazing views of the back of the hills and the ridges down Glencoe.
The next part of the path was long and winding. To break the solitude and
silence of the surroundings Marjory started humming a tune and we tried to
guess the song. This was followed by the group attempting to sing songs but
unfortunately, we could not remember all of the words and many Glasgow ditties
were sung out of key. It would have been appropriate to have sung “She’ll be
coming round the mountain when she comes”, but sadly, we resorted to
remembering the songs of the 60s. We followed the path down and were soon rewarded
with spectacular views of the Pap of Glencoe, further on we turned a corner and
looked down on Ballachulish and Loch Leven nestling below in the valley. There
was a 5 minute view and rest stop and some of the singers by this time had sore
throats, music lovers may have had sore ears for the same reason.
We continued to make our way slowly down, stopping to take a
photograph for Neil of the innocuous looking rock where he had slipped and
dislocated his elbow during the recce the previous weekend. As we walked down
the mist was swirling through the bealachs and corries above. Walking through
village, we stopped at the playing field to watch a shinty match between
Tyndrum and Ballachulish. The score in the fast-moving local derby was 1-1 and
it looked very skilful but highly dangerous. Then it was back to the hotel for
a sauna, lovely meal and sleep, to do the same again tomorrow, sweet dreams. Everyone
agreed the walk was a very good addition to the club’s repertoire.
Jim lead John and Elke around walks to Inchree waterfall and
General Wade’s Road near Onich where they enjoyed seeing the majestic falls in
dawned clear of rain and plans were made. Christine and Neil repeated the walk
undertaken yesterday by John and Elke, climbing up a well defined path to Inchcree
Waterfalls made up of three separate cascades. They stopped to watch people canyoning
down the falls and then dropping from ropes into the deep pools of water. The
views down Loch Linnhe were beautiful with ever changing skylines.
the track along General Wade’s Road they looked for red squirrels. Although
they were advertised on the posters they did not make an appearance. They then
went for lunch at the Corran ferry and watched the cars and ferries cross over to
Meanwhile, Bob’s group were walking up to Grey Mares Tail
waterfall which was in full spate after last night’s rain. No one was tempted
to try the Via Ferrata up the face of the old quarry. They continued up to Mamore
Lodge returning to Kinlochleven via the West Highland Way. Following a visit to
the ice house and climbing wall where there were no takers for either, Joan visited
the hostel nearby and was given a guided tour of the hobbit houses. They then
drove to Glencoe and explored the footpaths around the Lochans before returning
to the hotel after visiting the memorial to the Glencoe massacre.
Jim’s party climbed Signal Rock and Am Torr before also
exploring the Glencoe Lochans although they failed to make contact with Bob and
his merry band of walkers.
On return to the hotel the water babies luxuriated in the
sauna again before dinner. The meal was followed by an accordionist who played
many haunting Scottish tunes including the Black Island and a few in
celebration of Rabbie Burns. A demonstration of dancing by Ann and Robert and a
small girl who was clearly bemused by the event followed. The dance began as a
Zorba the Greek circular movement transforming into a highland jig. Ann and
Robert’s footwork could have graced the floor of Come Dancing.
Later, Elke and
John performed a variation of a Gay Gordon to much applause from the train
spotters. The manager informed us that Ballachulish had lost the shinty match but
enjoyed drowning their sorrows. Defeated but not downhearted the losers had
said “Well there is always next year”.
At the end of the evening, Aileen
gave a vote of thanks to all the leaders and rewarded them with bottles of
amber nectar. There was a special vote of thanks for Robert Bain for his very
valuable contribution to taking over arrangements at the last minute and
dealing with the accommodation changes.
dawned clear. Early morning swims completed, Marjory and Mary visited
the commemorative memorial cairn to the massacre of the McDonalds of Glencoe.
The trip home was uneventful. A short stop in Callander whilst Christine
visited the bakery for the tear and share dough bread and coffee, Neil then
retreated to the car while the ladies raided the charity shops. Before heading
home, Jim’s party toured around the quarry, Bob did a brief recce up the Hidden
Valley, Aileen and Joan visited the museum in Glencoe and Robert and Ann headed
Thank you to all who contributed to or participated in the weekend. Hopefully
the injuries sustained at the weekend or prior to that will lead to a speedy
recovery. Injuries included one dislocated elbow,(acquired on the recce) one
broken finger (acquired in the interest of domestic harmony), two scratches to
the head( one caused by a frisky branch) and one caused by a naughty car roof
and lastly a slip injuring the gluteal muscle. Perhaps at this juncture it might
be worth saying that the first aid training went well and might need to be
Glencoe lived up to it’s reputation
of being one of the most majestic and historical glens in Scotland. So now that
the weekend is over, we can turn our minds to future rambling adventures.
ReportsPosted by Neil Kitchener Fri, June 08, 2018 08:19:03
The day was sunny as the small group of ramblers left the
arches at Gilmour Street Railway Station in Paisley on Cathies first walk as a
leader. Soon we were crossing the first of several bridges as we followed the
River Cart through the centre of town, stopping to admire statues of local heroes
while admiring the historical buildings which were intermingled with the new.
In the Square in front of the station musicians were playing music and the
statue of Wallace looked out over the town. We walked through the town noting
the Paisley Abbey on the left as we continued to follow the river. Crossing
more Victorian bridges with their unique character we made our way to the former
Coats thread factory. After we crossed the road, we caught the first sight of one
of the murals described in the Scots Magazine, a Kingfisher resplendent in its
We then followed the river before cutting through to our
first stop at the Threadmill Museum. Inside the building was a small museum
telling the history of Paisley threads making. Cathie had arranged to have a
short talk by a local historian on Paisleys rise to fame and fortune, thread,
silk and shawl making. He thrilled us with macabre tales about Christian Bale. At
the same time a woman came and showed us the designs and samples of the Renfrew
Tapestry which is being made by 1,000 volunteers to celebrate the past present
and future of Paisley.
After our lunch/coffee break, we made our way back through
the gardens to the next stop at Paisley Abbey. The building is rich in history
and we lingered amongst the cloisters and nave until the leader moved the party
on. We could have spent more time there as there were so many things to see. We
then continued down through the town past the Russell Institute which is a beautiful
A listed Art-Deco building, originally established the 1920’s as a health for
women and children, it was now adapting to the changing demands of the 20th
Century. We meandered down to the Bungalow which is a street with now
world-famous murals, they often had a connection to Paisley e.g. Gerry Rafferty
a local lad. However, John Lennon and Jimmy Hendrix were there representing the
world’s famous artists.
As we made our way back we noticed that the Sma’ Shot
Cottages , a set of preserved old houses were open. The guide gave us a tour of
the houses showing the way people lived in olden days and the changes that had
taken place over the years. The visit was like a time travel through the
development of the weaving industry and we were able to see examples of the old
hand weaving looms. Again, we were regaled with interesting tales relating to
We then made our way to the Black Bull, one of the oldest
pubs in Paisley which had a host of original features and a working juke box.
While there we spoke to some actors dressed as first world war soldiers who
were making a film about the Spanish Flu pandemic which killed millions of
people at the end of the war.
After a cold lemonade, the next part of the walk was up the steep
cobbled stones past the Coats Observatory to a viewpoint at the top of the
hill. If you closed your eyes you could hear the clogs and sparks as the
millworkers made their way up the hill to their respective churches.
The walkers then sang a song about a woman working in the
mill, dreaming of her valentine who would take her away from the drudgery of
the mill work. It is not clear how many of us were in key but we all sang with
passion and enthusiasm. The last part of the walk was back down the cobbled
streets passed the Quakers church to the cars and home.
Paisley is a town with a rich history and heritage, it is a
much undervalued place with a great deal of energy and character. A vote of
thanks was given by Marjorie and all agreed that although it was Cathie’s first
walk as a leader she had delivered a magical and surprising walk, the bridges
were only one part of the rich tapestry that made up this walk.
ReportsPosted by Neil Kitchener Sun, May 20, 2018 22:31:32
A couple of photos of the walk on Arran from Evelyn Cook
ReportsPosted by Liz Paterson Mon, May 14, 2018 19:50:53
ReportsPosted by Webmaster Mon, May 14, 2018 12:30:10
sheer co-incidence, an identical number of walkers (13), albeit at the earlier
time of 05:30, set off from Southbank to travel to Ardrossan to catch the 07:00
ferry to Arran. What a day we had! The sun shone from early on and was still
shining when we arrived back in Kirkintilloch after a wonderful day in Arran.
arrival at Ardrossan, we were joined by Caroline for our ferry trip and when we
reached Brodick, we had a welcoming committee of Eric and David McKenzie, who
had made the sensible decision to stay overnight on Friday. Our group now
comprised 16 eager hikers. After a pleasant bus journey almost half-way round
the island, we set off from Mid Thundergay to head for Coire Fhionn Lochan. We
stopped here for our coffee break in a beautiful setting. At this point, we
split into two groups, the larger group continued the climb to Meall Briorach
and the other group taking the more direct route to Glen Catacol. On three
separate occasions during the steep descent into Glen Catacol, we came across
some adders, either warming themselves in the sun or involved in some mating
Both groups met up at the Glen Catacol Hotel for some
well-earned refreshments in the beer garden before catching the bus back to
Brodick and the waiting ferry. All in all, it was a terrific day in stunning
scenery, wonderful weather and great company. Huge thanks to our leaders Alan
C, Alan T and Eric. The time, effort and expense involved in carrying out the
recces and in leading the walks on the day is very much appreciated.
The route taken by the main group is shown below: (Green=start, Red=finish)
Position on the island:
If anyone has any photos taken on the day, please feel free to add them to this report or, if you are unsure of the process, you can email them to me and I will do the necessary.
Some images added by Bob Cole:
Additional photos kindly submitted by Caroline:
ReportsPosted by Liz Paterson Sun, May 13, 2018 21:49:56
What a beautiful morning and 13 walkers left Kirkintilloch to head to Darvel.
With the number being 13, we say 12 and the leader (myself Liz Paterson)
Well, What can I say about this walk! I think it breaks the record for the walk that has the most stiles in it. It had 21 and it was a STYLISH WALK. The scenery in the Irvine valley was absolutely amazing. In glorious sunshine from Darvel we headed up what is called the Bankers, a tarred path to the top of a hill and then onto the open hills passing farms and soon into the woods along the side of the Gower burn, where we had a lovely stop for morning tea.
The route now once again was onto a tarred minor road, again uphill and over open countryside to link up with a minor road down to pass the dis used quarry and then crossing the busy main road to link up the Loudonhill walkway.
Reaching the Spirit of Scotland monument, we stopped for our well deserved lunch.
Some were a bit apprehensive with the Hill in full view, as you never really know what s up a leaders sleeve. But to their great delight this was not in the agenda. Unknown to them on the return leg of the walk, it was their legs that would soon tell the tale of the record breaking walk with 21 stiles all along the old railway track leading back to Darvel.
Verdict Tired but Happy Ramblers.
Photos to follow Courtesy of Ann Blair.
ReportsPosted by Ann Bain Sat, March 24, 2018 15:55:40
This walk was a last minute change to the programme because of treacherous underfoot conditions on the Meikle Bin recce which was to replace another walk.
Surinder's strollers numbered 17 and the walk started at the layby on the Crow Road.
Our group are multi talented and Eric occasionally demonstrates the Paso Doble at the start of a walk.
Meantime our leader was wandering what she had let herself in for.
A short walk along the road took us onto the track leading up to Holehead with the mighty Meikle Bin in the background.
After an arduous climb up to Holehead we stopped for our tea break just below the giant's golf tee.
No walk on Holehead is complete without a visit to our Trig point where pink paint can still be made out. Work party anyone?
Occasionally, a member will make a small faux pas, and once again Matt put his size 10 in it.
In fairness he was not the only one but I wasn't quick enough to snap the others.
Crossing back over the Crow Road we walked up to Waterhead through the forest, stopping for lunch in a sunny clearing.
A vote of thanks was given by Ella to Surinder particularly in view of the difficulties encountered in her recces for what was her first time as walk leader.