Walk Reports

Walk Reports

Walk Reports

Reports and comments on scheduled walks.

Cairnoch Hill Circular

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.

Any volunteers?

Kind Regards

Christine and her helpful chocolate Christmas pixie

Ballachulish Weekend

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.

Friday 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 through forests.

Saturday 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 walk.

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 this day.

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 horse.

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 spate.

SUNDAY 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.

Following 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 Ardnamurchan peninsula.

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.

Monday 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 towards Oban

FINALLY 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 revisited.

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.

Paisley Bridges and Buildings - Wednesday 6th June

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 colours.

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 local characters.

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.

Christine Cameron

Arran Photos

ReportsPosted by Neil Kitchener Sun, May 20, 2018 22:31:32
A couple of photos of the walk on Arran from Evelyn Cook

darvel walk 12th May

ReportsPosted by Liz Paterson Mon, May 14, 2018 19:50:53

Coire Fhionn Lochan, Meall Briorach and Glen Catacol (Arran) - Saturday 12th May 2018

ReportsPosted by Webmaster Mon, May 14, 2018 12:30:10
By 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.

On 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 activity.

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:

Darvel circular walk via Loudonhill

ReportsPosted by Liz Paterson Sun, May 13, 2018 21:49:56

12th May

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.

Holehead - Waterhead Circular

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.

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