May Day Trip to the Ayrshire Coastal Path

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There were 14 booked on this trip to the second section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path .. Ballantrae to Lendalfoot.  Due to an error in my notes, (where I was working on a Sunday bus time for a Saturday outing!) spotted by Chris Robertson on the Tuesday (must try harder), the timings had to be changed and the new meeting point was fixed for the Dowhill Country Fayre just south of Turnberry.  Allan B, Willie, Bob, Liz, Gwen and I left from Cathcart at 8am and arrived just after 9 at Dowhill.  The tearoom doesn't open until 9.30am, and as the Balkenna Tearoom just a couple of hundred metres along the road was open and most of the group had arrived, we decided to take our rolls and tea there. 

So at 10am, the full group of Chris, Kate, George, Irene, David and Jane Royston, Gilbert Mpofu, John Gormley and the Cathcart team, were fuelled up and ready to go.  The weather was fine and sunny, but the northwesterly wind keening in over the Firth was keeping the temperature well down.  The plan was to park the cars just north of Lendalfoot in a spacious layby, slightly separated from the busy A77, and catch the 10.40 bus to Ballantrae.  But Allan, Willie, Bob, Liz and Gilbert had decided to extend the walk to Girvan, leaving a car at the harbour, with Gilbert leaving his car at Lendalfoot in case their plan, or the weather, changed ....

The bus was duly boarded, first at Girvan, then at Lendalfoot, and the walk began at 11am at Ballantrae.  The tide was on the turn and the going along the upper part of the beach on the pebbles wasn't the easiest on the legs, but the views for this first hour across the Firth to Ireland, the Mull of Kintyre, Ailsa Craig and Arran were really clear.  We took the old road around Bennane Head past the cave which was allegedly inhabited up to 1983, and upwards to the viewpoint car park at the top of the hill, passing the smouldering remains of a mobile home which had been set on fire as we left Ballantrae .. when we saw the black smoke suddenly rising above the hill as the fire was probably set.  Aviva please note ....

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside ....  The Team minus 2  Ailsa Craig and some basking seals

After the group photocall, the Girvan team set off at top speed while the others descended to the caravan park (and Spa!) at a more leisurely pace.  The route now follows the shoreline on a pavement, and a stop was made at the Varyag Memorial for a bite to eat and to drink in the views .. particularly those of the seals basking on the rocks in the afternoon sunshine.  As the tide was now pretty well out, we took a short diversion from the pavement onto the sands at Lendalfoot, returning to the roadside at the layby.  The Girvan team could be seen ahead on the climb on the old coach road above Kennedy's Pass and John Gormley's car had gone.  David and Jane Royston were heading for the Dowhill and Gwen and I were stopping at the Riverside Inn at Minishant.  Chris, Kate, George and Irene were going to look around Girvan, and met up with the 5 Girvan walkers later in the afternoon for coffee and ice creams.

The day had been very pleasant and leisurely, with the clear but chilly weather allowing great views all round.  But where will we start the next section ..... ?


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May Weekend to Kinlochewe

On the walk-in  At about 600m on the ascent  Approaching the 'false' summit at 920m  Miriam compleats her Munros  Most of the summit group  Some of the group take in the Top of Sgurr an Tuill Bhain

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