January Day Trip to Cairn Table

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The first walk of the year was to Cairn Table south of Muirkirk. The previous visits were evening walks in May 2003 and June 2008.

Cornel, James, Ally, Steven, Heidi and Willie met at the Cairn Lodge Services to discuss the walking plans for the day over a morning coffee and a 3 item breakfast roll. With no low level walkers we opted for a circular walk taking in Cairn Table and Stony Hill.

From the car park at Kames we made good progress across the old football ground, through the site of the old Kaimes Ironworks then over partially frozen boggy moorland. We were aided and sometimes abetted by the duck boards and bridges on this part of the walk. As we neared the end of the really boggy ground we noticed another walker ahead of us who was neither ascending or descending in fact he seemed to be waiting on us. This proved to be the case and a few minutes later we met up with Justin.

We all continued over The Steel and up to the summit (593m) where we had good views of Tinto, the Campsies and the Arran hills as well as the numerous wind farms. The large WW1 memorial cairn provided some shelter from the cold north wind and we stopped there for food and hot drinks with Steven stepping into Bob's boots to provide the festive grub .. Christmas cake and mince pies.

The route to Stony Hill follows the boundary between Ayrshire and Lanarkshire, mostly along an ATV track with but with some seriously boggy bits along the way. The top of Stony Hill is covered in peat hags which we had to pick our way through to get to the small summit cairn (562m). From there we descended across the heather moorland to the old Muirkirk to Sanquhar drove road. This track took us across the Garpel Water, past the memorial cairn to John Loudon Macadam and the site of his tar works and finally back to our start point.

Ascending Cairn Table   The Cairn   Summit of Cairn Table   Crossing to Stony Hill   Stony Hill

A good walk to start the year, with good winter weather and good company.

Willie Robison

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January Weekend to Newtonmore

8 members braved the wintry A9 to make their way to the Newtonmore Hostel for the January weekend.

Newtonmore Hostel

Cornel and Bob set off first, taking in the Graham, Creag Ruadh (next to Meall Chuaich), on the way. They were able to report that although the snow cover was variable, the wind would make walking difficult at times over the weekend. Kenny and Justin, James and Susan, and Ally and Cat all travelled up after work.

Once everyone was safely in the Hostel plans were made for the Saturday; Susan would ski at Cairngorm, Cornel, James, Ally and Cat would head down Loch Laggan and head for either the Easains or Beinn Teallach, and Kenny and Justin would tackle the easterly Munro Top of Carn Liath, Stob Coire Dubh, from the A86.

On Saturday everyone experienced a typical Scottish winter day on the hills with strong winds making progress difficult on the summits. On Beinn Teallach the summit cairn could only be tapped as we were blown past, and Susan’s skiing was cut short due to the wind. Kenny and Justin successfully “tapped”  Stob Coire Dubh.

Bob probably made the best choice opting for a low-level walk around Loch an Eilein and Loch Gamhna in the shelter of the forest.

Back at the Hostel the group settled in for a hearty meal of haggis, neeps and tatties accompanied by Bob’s broccoli soup and finished with Kenny’s trifle. A convivial evening of malt whisky sampling followed.

On Sunday the wind was forecast to reach gale force in the early afternoon, so Kenny and Justin elected to head down the road. Bob and Cornel made an early start on the Graham, Creag Liath, near Newtonmore. Cornel reached the top as the wind increased while Bob decide to turn back. The Andersons undertook low-level activities in the Newtonmore and Aviemore areas.

Ally and Cat stayed on for a further night at the hostel and bagged the Glen Feshie Munros of  Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a’Bhlair on Monday, but despite an early start, ended up walking the final hour back to the car by headtorch.

Once again, the Newtonmore Hostel was warm and comfortable and provided an excellent base for our various activities over the weekend.

James Anderson

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