Category Archives: Essential

The walks in the category should be on your “do before you die” list. Forget the tosh you read in those coffee-table books of this ilk: this is way better than swimming with dolphins or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before all the ice melts. They really are the full-fat cream of this collection and only a few make the grade. You’d be an idiot to ignore this recommendation.

Falls of Clyde

Snowdrops beside a streamToday was one of those grey pre-spring days when visibility is poor and so a woodland walk sounds good.  For reasons known only to my brain, out popped the idea of a circuit around the Falls of Clyde at New Lanark. We’ve done this a few times before and a winter walk is always great because the trees don’t obscure the river (too much) and the volume of water is usually higher and so the Falls more impressive.  And it was so. Continue reading

Dun Skeig, Kintyre

With a Jubilee weekend looming it was clear that an escape plan was needed to minimise exposure to all that royalist tosh yet take advantage of an extra day’s holiday.  We decided to go somewhere remote and  Kintyre sounded like a good idea, based on the following:

  1. we’ve never been, yet have seen it so often from Ayrshire;
  2. it doesn’t need us to go through an airport and so avoiding:
    • being treated like a terrorist;
    • a stupid weight restriction;
    • being forced into a space that veal would complain about;
    • contributing to the bonus of that smug git who runs Ryanair;
    • having to dump Her Jazzness in kennels.

So after a chat with Mr Google we ended up giving the hamlet of Clachan our custom for the weekend, and this turned out to be a great choice: it’s a very friendly community 1 with a 5-star walk on the doorstep.   Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Hi to Gareth, Linda and Iain – and thanks!

Sóller to Coll de L’Ofre

Sóller

It’s back to Mallorca for a bit of spring-time sunshine, bird watching and walking with the Missus. This was our first foreign holiday without the brat and so we could do adult things like imbibing the occasional tincture and walking without having to deal with teenage sulks: all very enjoyable. In this post I’ll talk about the best walk we did: a part of the GR221 long-distance path from Sóller to the Coll de L'Ofre.  And I’ll throw in an anti-cyclist rant for free.

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Kilchattan Loop, Bute

West Island Way stone

I want you to keep this to yourself because I’ve found an absolutely superb walk and I don’t want hordes of riff-raff coming along and spoiling it.  Luckily, because no-one reads this blog 1 it shouldn’t spread.  It is the loop of the West Island Way at the south end of Bute starting at the village of Kilchattan.  This is a 48km walk along the length of Bute and has been in place since 2000, but I’d only stumbled on by chance recently.  We’ve decided to do it in three stages, and today we’d head to south as I’ve always wanted to check out Kilchattan having seen it so often from the mainland.  Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Apart from discerning people such as yourself, obviously.

Portpatrick

Dunskey Castle

You might remember last year when we did the start of the SUW that I’d been very impressed by Portpatrick and thought it would be a good place for a long weekend break with the Missus.  Well, as Man+Dog of our word, we invited her down this weekend and it was great.  We’d even ordered beautiful weather and were not disappointed: always worth a bit of advanced planning.  In this post we’ll combine two of our walks to make it look like we had an active weekend and didn’t just spend our time in the (excellent) pub. Continue reading

Glen Trool

Looking east along Glen Trool

Normally when we are in Glen Trool we are heading along the glen to walk the hills at the east end.  Not today, and that was a great idea because we ended up with a 5-star walk (and they are pretty rare).  There was no real plan other than trying to do a bit of the Southern Upland Way at the west end of the glen and add on stuff that looked promising: one of those nice “Where does that path go?” days.  Let’s just say the route was very roughly a figure-of-8 centred around the visitor centre at Glen Trool 1. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Although it’s currently a building site as they refurbish it, which meant no shop, and hence no lovely Galloway ice-cream.  Update 12-May: full service restored.

The Rhinns of Kells

Awful Hand, Mullwharchar and Wolf Slock

There is something about the name “Rhinns of Kells” that is just lovely.  A quick check through my beautifully arranged and catalogued photo collection shows that it is 5 days short of four years since I last walked on this ridge and it was long overdue for a repeat. Last time I did it on my own 1, but today I had two companions: Stuart and her Jazzness.  Both had been making noises about doing “The Rhinns” for months now and today was the day.  This time was special because we were aiming to do the whole thing from [place name=’Coran of Portmark’] down to [place name=’Meikle Millyea’] in one jaunt.

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Notes:

  1. Jazz being but a twinkle in her Dad’s eye

Helm Crag, Grasmere

Helm Crag from Easedale

On the last day of our short break Jazz and I were heading for Helm Crag while the Missus hit the shops of Grasmere. This is a lovely hill that sits above Grasmere. Wainwright raved about it (“…in a region where all is beautiful, it makes a notable contribution to the natural charms and attractions of Grasmere”) and suggested it would be an ideal starter to whet the appetite for a week’s walking.  With this level of hype I had expected the place to be heaving but we had it to ourselves (well, until we started heading down…) Continue reading

Portpatrick to Castle Kennedy

Portpatrick harbour

If, like me, you thought that the Southern Upland Way (SUW to its friends) was just a slog across bleak moorland covered in blanket conifers, then today’s walk from Portpatrick to Castle Kennedy would quickly change your mind.  This is a cracking walk through a rich variety of countryside on the Rhins of Galloway. Continue reading

Hunterston and Portencross Circuit

First Peacock butterfly of the year

I hereby declare Spring 2011 has arrived. OK, so the equinox isn’t for a couple of days, but Spring certainly looked like it was here today as we did our usual circuit around Portencross and Hunterston. We do this walk a few times a year and it has a lot of variety and good scenery to keep you entertained. Continue reading