October Day Trip to the Ochils

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Seven of us met up at the Tilly Tearoom for some pre-walk nourishment before going to the start point at Mill Glen. The weather was dry at the start and we had a pleasant walk up the glen on the well maintained path, crossing and re-crossing the burn several times. At the end of the glen we started the ascent of The Law (638m) with a short rocky section followed by a steep grassy path and about 100m below the summit we said goodbye to the views and entered the clag. Continuing on the path to Ben Cleuch (721m) we had some sections of bog to negotiate but it was easier going. Our arrival at the summit was well timed as a group were just leaving and we took their place on the sheltered side of the cairn.

Ascending Ben Cleuch  Summit of Ben Cleuch

After a short break we re-traced our steps for 700m then followed a fence heading ENE to our third and final summit Andrew Gannel Hill (670m). We then descended east and out of the clag to pick up the path on the south side of the Gannel Burn and followed it back to our start point. By this time the forecast rain had started. It was a light drizzle to begin with but by the time we arrived back at the cars it was heavier so we had a quick change and then retired to the nearby Woolpack Inn for refreshments, a bit of banter with the locals and to chew the fat before returning home.

GPS data for the walk:  10.9km distance, 790m ascent, 4hrs 21mins(3hrs 22mins walking)

Willie Robison

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October Weekday Walk to Muirshiel Country Park

"One Tough Mudder"

We should probably have been at home on Hallowe'en watching old fright films .. but no, here we were not observing "How do you like your stake Dracula", but engaged in our own 'Nightmare on Stake Hill'. Nine of us met up at Muirshiel Country Park, 6km northwest of Lochwinnoch, and headed pleasantly westwards on the good LandRover track towards the old barytes mine below Queenside Muir. After a sandwich break at the conveniently-placed container .. complete with table and chairs! .. we started on the ascent to Hill of Stake, just over 2km to the southwest over open grouse moor. With the sometimes waist-deep heather masking boggy traps, the going was slow and frustrating, but eventually the trig point was reached 2 hours and 20 minutes into the day.

Hill of Stake  Misty Law

The plan was to traverse to Misty Law, nearly 3km away, then descend northeastwards back to Muirshiel .. but a direct descent from East Girt Hill following above the Raith Burn seemed to offer less of the tough walking conditions than continuing to Misty Law. Allan, Bob and Steven opted to continue, while the others set off on the direct route. Oh dear ..... to say the going was purgatory is probably an understatement ....

But the traversing descent was eventually completed, taking longer than the Misty Law route, and the muddy clothes and boots chucked in the back of the cars. We all said goodbye to Muirshiel safe in the knowledge that we've seen it, done it and may never return ..!

GPS data for descent from East Girt Hill:  13.14km distance, 326m ascent, 5hrs 01mins (4hrs exactly walking time)


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