Saturday, 21 April 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 21 April Maidens – Dunure

21 April Maidens – Dunure Report by Cath and Rachel

Thomas, Cath, Amanda, Frances and Isobel drove to Maidens where Thomas left us and drove on to Dunure.    I had been worrying about not getting in touch with Douglas to tell him of the change of plan.  We were late in leaving as I had hoped that Thomas would see Douglas and let him know we were waiting for him.  Cath said she would wait for Douglas and Amanda opted to stay there with her. Thomas was going to walk back to meet us, leaving his car at Dunure.
Maidens car park was the rendezvous for the ramblers at the beginning of this week’s walk. Twenty six members turned out on a beautiful sunny day to sample a section of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
Not long after we set off we met Gordon waiting for us and he tried to get in touch with Douglas too, without success for a long time.  The other walkers were: Rachel, Heather, Leslie, Linda, Peter, John, Audrey, Allan, Margaret, Ken, Mary x 2, Irene, Christine Sloan, Carl, Peter Bedford, Forbes, Audrey and Tom.  Before long we went by the house owned by Carol Smylie, which is for sale – apparently it looks good inside but gave no indication of that outside which looked pretty grey with a garden much in need of attention.
The old turnpike road ran along the beach here before entering the policies of Culzean castle; the walkers followed this trail, crossing the wide playing fields which now adorn the sea front, and then the sands, before entering the Long Avenue by way of a convenient footbridge. We had reached the Swan Pond when Cath phoned to ask how long she should wait for Douglas – it was about 11am by then – and we agreed to meet at the gas works later.
The Avenue ran by a derelict estate cottage, through woods with carpets of bluebells, wild garlic and marsh marigolds before reaching the Swan Pond.
A short tour of the grounds had the ramblers admiring a sculpture of an otter slide, carved out of a fallen cedar tree from Brodick Castle, by Isle of Arran sculptor, Marvin Elliot.
The walkers then paused to watch herons squabbling high up in a heronry before a short detour was made to admire the Cat Gates, designed around 1800, by Edinburgh architect John Thin. Stops were made at the Camellia House and the walled garden where old apple trees were in bloom. Passing magnificent flowering magnolia trees, the castle itself was reached and a final visit was made to the restored gas works.
The estate of Culzean is of great importance to Scotland’s cultural history; it emphasises the importance of the Picturesque movement of the late eighteenth century. Great credit must go to the management policies of the Country Park, the local authorities, and the Scottish National Trust in upkeeping and renovating the extensive grounds, and maintaining Robert Adam’s design of the Kennedy castle.
Gordon had finally got in touch with Douglas who had gone back to his caravan and then walked to Culzean –he was to meet us at the castle, near the bridge.  Meantime, Thomas had reached the estate and met up with Cath and Amanda nearby.  So now we were all together!  Thomas and Leslie left us here to walk back to Girvan. We did get down to the gas house and then moved off as quickly as I could get the walkers to so that we could get to our lunch spot before we all flaked out with hunger!  It was about 1pm by the time we got there.
Another beach beckoned and with great reluctance the ramblers continued their planned walk. The path now took the walkers through trees, past idealistic holiday cottages with a glorious seascape view and a stream running by the garden wall, back onto the shore, once again following the old turnpike road.

Cliffs of yellow sandstone and a stony foreshore made the going slow with the tide at its peak. A convenient slipway marked a sheltered resting spot for lunch,

where the somnolent tune of the waves allowed a leisurely wait for the tide to recede, enough to make the rocks at Isle Port passable.

Conglomerate rocks were a feature of the shore after the adventurous dash over rocks to avoid wet feet.  The formation of an ancient slurry, enfolding stones, and giving the look of badly mixed concrete, made the common name of pudding stone quite appropriate.

The cliffs gradually became higher and the route by the sea impassable, so the path climbed steeply, zig-zagging past an ancient settlement, to reach the top of the escarpment, where there was a wide view to Arran - Goat Fell standing proudly above Holy Isle, and Ireland just visible in the murky distance. A big black cloud hung out to sea but sunshine continued to accompany the walk.

A grass field smartly rolled in wide stripes was skirted and the way led inland, avoiding a steep inlet, to cross a burn by stepping stones. A ploughed field with spring barley just sprouting
took the walkers to an old lookout tower, where wartime coastguards watched for submarines and other shipping heading for the Clyde.
Soon after, the path dropped down through scrubland to enter Dunure’s Kennedy Park where another old ruined Kennedy castle, renovated dovecot and disused limekilns were passed and inspected as the company hurried to the tiny harbour for refreshments, after a most interesting and sunny walk.
We were in time to find the village hall still serving teas but it was so crowded and hot in there that, despite the possibility of our having our tea outside, most of us opted to go to the tea room at the harbour.  Cath had taken some drivers back to Maidens, Douglas to his caravan, and then come back by which time we had finished our tea!  Some of the drivers managed to get tea but Cath was happy to skip her coffee and avoid the calories of a cake! 
 We dropped Rachel and Heather off at Maidens and went on to Girvan where we picked up Thomas.  Linda was just ahead of us and Leslie got his lift home too.  Thomas and Leslie had had a shower of rain which left them pretty wet for quite a while.  Thomas had left his lunch in the car and the ice cream shop was closed in Girvan!!

1 comment:

The Glebe Blog said...

I haven't seen these before, what a cracking set of pictures.