April Day Trip to the Ayrshire Coastal Path (Seamill to Largs)

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As the day approached and the BBC weather forecast worsened, the number of takers increased, confirming the long-held view that walkers in this club are a masochistic, but charming bunch.

Rain came and went during the car journey to Seamill, our meeting point, but a constant companion was the layer of low-lying grey cloud.  Bob and Willie were just finishing their breakfast as the rest of us (Iris, Ian, Susan, James, David, Heidi, John and Calum) arrived and were directed to reserved tables which, on a clear day, would have fine views across the sea.  We discovered later that Bob and Willie had been invited to “sit anywhere, except those reserved tables”!  Everyone tucked into hot rolls and there was just a little reluctance to leave the comfort of the Hydro and the joyful colours of the Indian wedding party, but we did.  Having been first to arrive, Bob managed somehow to be last to be ready – we still have no idea what he was up to – then Iris drove off to West Kilbride and a solo adventure while the rest of our group headed along the main road the short distance to the turn off for the beach and the start of the walk proper.

Our route was a low-level walk which continued the Club’s exploration of the Ayrshire Coastal Path, taking in part of Stage 10 (Ardrossan to Portencross) and all of Stage 11 (Portencross to Largs) of the official route.  In the main we kept closely to the marked route except where conditions underfoot got a bit swamp-like.  Like most stretches of Scottish coastline we moved from golden sands to rocks to grassy banks.  Views across the water remained invisible for most of the walk, but thankfully the rain that accompanied us was mainly a light drizzle.

Points of particular interest along the way included a stop at Portencross Castle.  A group of local residents have bought both the castle and surrounding land from Hunterston and the Castle is now open to visitors and available for functions.  It’s a bit Tardis-like, appearing quite small on the outside but much bigger on the inside, and has lovely views across the water from aptly named Moffat(t)’s viewpoint on the upper landing.  The volunteer on duty that day said that if the club was coming again we should phone ahead and a private tour could be arranged.

At 10.43 am  At 11.29 am  At Portencross Castle  The Moffat View  At 3.12 pm

Onwards and past Hunterston where a wee lamb (of the four-legged variety) appeared in need of rescue – thank goodness for smart phones. Susan got through to the Visitor Centre at Hunterston who promised to contact the appropriate farmer for assistance.

We stopped for lunch just outside Fairlie where there was a line of benches along the water’s edge.  By this time the weather had started to clear.  And it continued to brighten and heat up as we reached the last stretch, resulting in layers of waterproof clothing being shed.  We arrived at the outskirts of Largs with blue skies above and the sun beating down.  A short stop and group photo at the Pencil marking the Battle of Largs, and then we reached the ferry point where we met up with Iris.   Iris had visited West Kilbride on the advice of some idiot who hadn’t realised everything would be closed on a Sunday, but despite this had managed to enjoy a peaceful afternoon and lunch in Largs.  We had missed the local bus back to Seamill to collect the cars, so Iris very kindly offered to taxi the various drivers there while the rest of us headed for Nardini’s and ice cream.  On Iris’ return, fish ‘n’ chips were turned down in favour of a drive straight home.  With the sun shining it was a very different journey to the one in the morning.

Another good day out.

Heather Walker

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April (Easter) Weekend to Dundonnell

Was this the sunniest Club weekend ever?

Sixteen members attended the Club’s Easter weekend trip the Sail Mhor Croft Hostel at Dundonnell, just south of Ullapool.  With a good forecast and unbroken sunshine, most set off on the Friday morning with the intention of getting a walk on the way north.

Allan H and Bob were the first to arrive at the hostel and then climbed the nearby Corbett Sail Mhor after which the hostel is named.

On Sail Mhor  On Meall nam Meallan Laide  Willie on coastal wall

Allan B and Willie headed to Laide for an afternoon coastal walk after lunch in Inverness, where they met up with the 5 Andersons plus Cat.  The Andersons then made an ascent of the Corbett Beinn Liath Mhor a’Ghiubhais Li whose name almost takes longer to say than the hill takes to climb.  There were fine views of the Fannaich and Beinn Dearg ranges as well as An Teallach.

On Beinn Liath Mhor a'Ghiubhais Li

Kenny stopped to take in the views from Little Wyvis.  David Boyd took a seriously strenuous run over the Beinn Dearg range, while Gordon and Andrew climbed Beinn Mheadhoin in Strathconan.

Nearly everyone ate at the nearby Dundonnell Hotel on Friday night where we were joined by Mark and Miriam who had travelled up after work.

The main attraction on Saturday was An Teallach, and with excellent weather, members visited the two Munros and 6 of its 7 Tops.  9 members set off from Corrie Hallie (Allan B, Allan H, David B, Kenny, and James, Jamie, Alasdair and David Anderson plus Cat).

Kenny was feeling unwell after the steep and latterly boulder-strewn ascent of Sail Liath (blown cylinder head gasket apparently; Kenny) and Allan B decided to accompany him back to Corrie Hallie.  The rest of the group continued in excellent scrambling conditions over the various tops along the ridge although James, David A and Cat decided to bypass the more exciting parts of Corrag Buidhe.  Everyone met up again at Lord Berkley’s Seat where Mark joined us.

Mark, Miriam and Willie had set off from the Dundonnell Hotel and climbed towards Bidean a’Ghlas Thuill.  Miriam and Willie climbed via its north easterly top before making the trip out to Glas Meall Liath, while Mark headed directly over Sgurr Fiona to Corrag Buidhe.

Continuing over Sgurr Fiona everyone met up again on Bidean a’Ghlas Thuill.  The Anderson party plus David B then made the return trip out to Glas Meall Liath (well worth it for the views) while Mark, Miriam, Willie and Allan H started on their descent.

On Sail Liath  On Lord Berkeley's Seat  On An Teallach  On Glas Meall Liath

Gordon, Andrew and Bob cycled and climbed the Grahams Beinn Tharsuinn and Meall a’Chaorainn, while Susan walked the Corrie Hallie track before heading to Ullapool for some supplies for Saturday night’s meal.

On Beinn Tharsuinn  On Meall a'Chaorainn

The customary Club weekend meal was enjoyed on Saturday night (Bob’s soup, Susan’s lasagne and Miriam’s sponge dessert) but the day’s exertions had obviously taken their toll as Kenny’s cheese board had to be postponed to Sunday and sun-pink faces headed off to bed for a relatively early night.

Sunday dawned once more to clear blue skies and sunshine and everyone took to the hills.  Allan H, Mark, Miriam and Bob walked in and climbed the Grahams Groban and Beinn Bheag, which was a long trek but well worth the effort as the views from both hills were superb .. over to the Fannichs, An Teallach, the Fisherfields, Torridon and Slioch.

Groban and Beinn Bheag  On Groban  On Beinn Bheag  On the western Fannaichs  On the western Fannaichs

The view from Groban

Allan B took David B, Alasdair and Cat to the westerly Fannaichs of Sgurr Breac and A’Chailleach.  Gordon and Andrew cycled and climbed the Grahams, Carn Loch nan Amhaichean and Beinn nan Eun.  Kenny, James and David A climbed the Corbett Beinn Enaiglair above Braemore junction and then the Graham, Meall Doire Faid.  Meanwhile, Susan and Jamie headed down to Poolewe where Susan walked around Loch Kernsary and Jamie went on a training run for his forthcoming marathon.

On Beinn Enaiglair  On Meall Doire Faid  On Beinn Ghobhlach  The Ullapool-Stornoway Ferry

Gradually everyone gathered in the afternoon sunshine in the Hostel garden before making eating arrangements.  Willie had cycled from Dundonnell round Little Loch Broom to the Graham, Beinn Ghobhlach, from which he descended to Rireavach to pick up the coastal path and then walked out.  He was spotted cycling back to the Hostel in the dusk as many of us sat eating in the Dundonnell Hotel.

Not being accustomed to having four days of good weather in a row, nearly everyone decided to head home on Monday morning.  Alasdair and James visited the Corbett of Sail Mhor .. which was surprisingly windy on the summit despite the blue skies .. before setting off down the road. 

Ascending Sail Mhor

Unfortunately, an earlier road accident led to long delays on the A9 at Blair Atholl, but this could not dampen the spirits after what had been an excellent weekend in a very comfortable hostel.

James Anderson

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