June Day to the Carsphairn area
It was nice and sunny when everybody met up at the Green Well “car park”. Even the midges made an appearance! Sun cream on, we soon headed off along the farm track towards Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. When the track ended, we started following a wall towards the summit, crossing the Polsue Burn by a sturdy, newish-looking footbridge. When we stopped for a breather at about 500m, Cat pointed out an unusual square-shaped cloud formation. The square cloud raced towards us and soon the view was gone! We made our way to the trig point and shelter at the summit and stopped for a rest and something to eat, hoping for a break in the cloud.
A compass bearing was required to point us down towards Beninner. After about 500m we picked up a handy fence which took us to the Nick of the Lochans. Here the fence stopped, but the summit of Beninner was soon reached after a fairly gentle climb.
Beninner is a Donald Top (with a surprisingly large cairn), which was also the last one I needed to visit to complete the list. We celebrated with a few drams and some shortcake. Thanks to everybody who joined me on the walk and for the good wishes I received from many more!
Unfortunately, the sun did not appear until we were making our way down over Dunool, where we stopped for another break in the shelter of the wall that runs along the ridge. After a fairly long day, nobody fancied the optional route over Willieanna. Instead we all descended back to the farm track and back to the cars, with a short stop at the information board that has been erected near the Green Well of Scotland. The waters are said to cure disease and conceal a stolen pot of gold to this day. The well has also been shown to have no beneficial effect on the weather.
June Weekday Walk to the Kilpatricks
"We're going to climb a hill ..?" enquired Gwen with a touch of enthusiastic incredulity. Oh yes we are .. something that some of the group of 14 maybe haven't done for many months. And it's a highest one .. highest in the Kilpatricks and the highest point in the council area of West Dunbartonshire, somewhere we're now officially allowed to go from the likes of Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.
Everyone met at Edenmill Farm Shop car park .. including Harry and Meghan, Heidi's grandchildren .. in good time for the 10.30am start. The single track road up to the Scottish Water complex is now off limits for cars, and forms part of the John Muir Way, so the first 20 minutes or so were on tarmac road, then on a good forest track. We took the left hand branch where the JMW turns towards Burncrooks Reservoir and continued past Kilmannan Reservoir, all the way to the track's end just below the mound of Duncolm. New deer fencing has just been installed for some reason, including a tricky new stile and a dog gate. Once everyone was safely over, we contoured southwards to begin the steep but short ascent from the south. (This fence could be followed westwards to pick up the post-descent route for anyone wishing to avoid the hill).
We were lucky enough to reach the 401m summit and enjoy the views all around, and nearly finish the lunchtime sandwich, before the predicted rain began. So it was on with the waterproofs for the descent to the west, and the path leading past the Lily Loch to the southern tip of Burncrooks Reservoir and the John Muir Way track again. The rain wasn't heavy, but persistently drizzly, and we soon left the JMW again to cross the dam. Here there's an old and slippy stile with its attendant dog gate at the old deer fence, which took some time to get across .. Steven decided to skip the queue and try out the doggy route.
Our outward track and road were soon met, and the return to Edenmill was pretty uneventful, arriving at 2.30pm. Some tried out the Cafe for post-walk refreshments and some headed for home. We had walked 12.7km (8 miles), climbed around 250m overall, and taken 4 hours to do it. Willie's GPS noted that the actual walking time was 3 hours and 15 minutes, so we had a few stops along the way ......