Wenesday the 28th November
I'm on my way to pick up the 'Teacher' at Girvan, to head out to Cumnock, where we'll jump into the 'Sloane Ranger's' car. (Note new nickname, click on the link and see if you agree) and head for Darvel.
I'm up early enough to catch the moon.
Up at Girvan, the moon's just dropping behind Arran's hills.
There's been a hard frost, so it takes a while to get to Cumnock, but we're soon on our way and park up in Darvel. We start the walk at half ten which is fine. The Cunninghame Ramblers walked this on Saturday. The Ayrshire Blogger posted the walk before going out on Sunday and snapping his tibia and fibula. Get well soon Gordon.
Darvel was established in the late 18th century, and a number of buildings have dates on them.
After walking east out of the town we climb a short way up Cemetary Road and join the old Darvel to Strathaven Railway Line
Coming across a small flock of flighty birds a moment of inspiration had me identifying them as Fieldfare
I'm sure that's right, I struggled to zoom in and get one to sit still for long enough.
There's still some of the mud around that the Cunninghame Ramblers encountered, but the frost has been helpful in making the ground much easier to walk along.
We and the trees create long shadows.
At least half a dozen planes passed over during the walk.
The bottom small plane is a 2007 two seater Aeroprakt A.22L Foxbat registered just along the road at Strathaven
At Newlands we leave the railway track to take a steepish tarmac road up to the back of Loudoun Hill.
A short but steep and slippy climb soon gets us to the summit.
We reach the trig point which has a flush bracket Benchmark S4269
The plaque just below the summit reads.
'Battle of Loudoun Hill, May 10 1307, Through devotion and by willing hands this stone was hauled here to commemorate the first victory of King Robert the Bruce who won for us freedom from serfdom'
It's lunch time.
An inscribed rock declares Wallace of Ellerslie 1270 to 1305.
This link will take you to Kyn Wai Chung's Biography of William Wallace.
At the bottom of Loudoun Hill s this monument to Wallace.
Because we're close to the shortest day of the year, we decided we wouldn't have the time to cross over to the otherside of the Irvine Valley so decided to retrace our steps back to Darvel
Descending Loudoun we came across some very interesting bits of broken branches.
I'll admit I haven't seen anything like this before. It looks like mould or fungi that's frozen to give these wonderful patterns. If anyone can throw light on this I'll update the post.
On the way back we again have fun with the shadows.
Back in town we spot some other old houses with dates 1772 and 1797 then make our way to Hasting's Square.
In Hasting's Square is a plaque in memory of the Regiments based in Darvel during WW2, The Dagon Stone a prehistoric monolith and the bust commemorating Sir Alexander Fleming of penicillin fame.
A very worthwhile and enjoyable walk in excellent company.