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March Weekday Walk on the Antonine Wall

There were only 5 in the group who met up at the Boathouse at Auchinstarry for a round of the Antonine Wall and the Forth and Clyde Canal. I'd brought the date one day forward to Tuesday (8th) because of forecasted heavy rain and strong winds on the Wednesday, which may have disappointed some who already had plans for the Tuesday .. but we have to be weather flexible, and the sun was out for most of our route ..!

We set off eastwards on the north bank of the canal, then started the ascent of Croy Hill at the Dullatur bridge. After a short steep climb we arrived at the recently installed metal sculpture "Silvanus" at the same time as a large group of walkers from another club. Silvanus is the Roman god of the woods and the sculpture was commissioned to raise awareness of the World Heritage site of the Antonine Wall .. along which we would be walking! We continued the ascent of Croy Hill from the north, rather than taking the busy south approach, then followed the Wall all the way to its highest point on Bar Hill .. stopping for a brief break at the halfway point.

Roman soldier Silvanus  On the Antonine Wall  Ascending Bar Hill  On Bar Hill

After viewing the site of the Roman Fort and the layout of its buildings just beyond Bar Hill (built for Silvanus), we made the descent into the village of Twechar, then returned along the canal to Auchinstarry. It was a very pleasant route enhanced by the sunny weather .. I can recommend it to anyone ....

GPS data .. distance 11.94km(7.5mls) .. total ascent 281m .. total time 3hrs32min with walking time 2hrs48min .. average walking speed 3.8km/h.


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March Backpacking Weekend

Only Cornel and I were up for the traditional Club bothy trip this year. Justin was going to attend, but was struck down with COVID. It's hard to believe that it's been two years since we heard reports of ‘Lockdowns’ as we walked out from our bothy trip to Glen Feshie.

On Friday we drove up to Bonawe Quarry and parked the car. The walk-in to Cadderlie bothy was straightforward along a good track and took us about 1.5hours. On arrival there was one other person entrenched in the small middle room with his bike. Once settled, we took a walk further up the track to Dail. This involved crossing a Victorian swing bridge, which was in good condition. The cottage at Dail was not in a good state, due to a roof collapse after a fire. A little further on we reached Dail pier and we decided to head back to Cadderlie, as the rain had arrived. Back at the bothy there were no new guests and a comfortable night was had by the fuel log fire.

Cadderlie Bothy  Beinn Molurgainn  The bothy fire

Saturday morning was initially dry and we decided to head up a track we had seen slightly north of the bothy. This was helpful and got us clear of the trees. We then headed up the ridge and skirted around Meall Dearg (578m). The rain had arrived by this point and we agreed to continue on and climb the Graham Beinn Molurgainn (690m) .. a stiff climb and a wet summit. We retraced our steps back to Meall Dearg and agreed at this point that the best option was to return to the bothy rather than try and climb another hill. As we dropped down the weather improved, and the sun came out as we arrived back at the bothy. As the evening wore on more guests arrived, but were easily accommodated.

Sunday morning was a short walk back to the car. On the way home we stopped at a café in Taynuilt and had a delicious scone, rhubarb and ginger jam and clotted cream. Wow!

Mark Setford

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March Weekday Walk on the Ayrshire Coastal Path

There were 7 in the team for this ramble along a section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path .. Allan, Bob, Diane, John G, Gwen, Hamish and Andy. Six of the team met at Barassie Station in good time to catch the 0948 train south to Newton-on-Ayr, where they met up with John G (who lives locally) and set off northwards for Prestwick, Troon and Barassie. The sky was blue and completely clear, with the waters of the Firth of Clyde reflecting the same colour .. but, boy, was it cold! We were walking into the teeth of a chilly northerly wind, but with the sun behind us, we slowly warmed up. We made a toilet stop just before leaving Prestwick and spotted three very hardy ladies preparing themselves for a dip in the sea. "Are these swimmers wild?" asked Gwen on return from spending her 30p. "Well, they looked quite happy to me", I said before enquiring about the inflation-busting cost of spending a penny. It appears that entry to South Ayrshire Council facilities are now digitally controlled by tapping your credit or debit card to the tune of 30p please ....

At Prestwick on the ACP

The tide was well in, so we had to leave the beach and take the route around the head of the Pow Burn, which is the boundary between Prestwick sands and Troon south sands .. and indeed between Prestwick Golf Club and Royal Troon. On a day when the tide is well out, we could probably have stayed on the sands and forded the Burn, but we made a sandwich stop in the shelter of the dunes before meeting Troon South Sands .. which were surprisingly busy with dogs and walkers enjoying the sunny weather. The newly-constructed Ferris Wheel at Troon loomed larger and larger as we got nearer and we left the beach to investigate .. apparently it opened for business on Saturday 2nd April.

The team split up here, with John G heading for the bus stop to return him to Prestwick, and Gwen and Andy cutting off the loop round the headland by window shopping and viewing all the changes in the town. The last leg along Troon north sands .. very unattractive and messy .. and Barassie beach, brought us back to the Station virtually at the same time after a great ramble under blue skies.

GPS data .. distance 13.7km(8.5mls) .. total ascent 75m .. total time 3hrs46min with walking time 3hrs03min .. average walking speed 4km/h.


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