Sunday 24 February 2019
A rare day out with Alex and a hill for a change. As I get older, left to my own devices, I'm more interested, on solo trips, to do coastal walks, lower level tours, or visit interesting urban areas rather than mountains. Although I still enjoy them I really need company to motivate me towards the extra effort to go up them and unlike me, Alex has never deviated from a love of hill walks. To the point where he rarely suggests anything else, with me at least :) Above is Abington village, right beside the busy M74, and the starting point for our walk.
Sunday 17 February 2019
Back in Ayr again but this time for a walk inland through Ayr itself. One of the real joys of going anywhere these days is finding out about the history of the areas I visit. It's probably also an age thing as in my younger days it was more about fleeting impressions seen in a blur of travel and sensory enjoyment/overload rather than any deeper thinking or analysis about what I observed. Also I was usually in company then and had to engage constantly with a group of equally energetic companions with different competing interests. Maybe it's that simple. Now I tend to think more about the objects I see in front of me and this trio of large buildings proved a perfect example.
In short I expected the town centre to look much better than it did - more upmarket and tidy, given the income bracket of the surrounding area... but it was actually worse. Also, given that record numbers of people are in work, according to government figures, and supposedly lifted out of poverty, how come there always appears to be ever increasing levels of walking wounded, assorted anti social damaged souls, the left behind, and the frankly unemployable in any large town or city I've been in during the last five years- and that's local accents not immigrants. Surely with so many universities, colleges and other centres of learning the standard of education, opportunities, and general collective intelligence of the local population should also jump up creating a more balanced ordered society. But that's not the impression I get, wandering around. Something doesn't add up. Despite the propaganda recent predictions (in the Guardian) warn that another million UK households containing children with be pushed into poverty within the next few years.
Having said that many immigrants from overseas still do believe that the UK offers abundant opportunities for advancement denied to them elsewhere so maybe that has some bearing on the equation.
Sunday 10 February 2019
On the first visit to the west coast seaside town of Ayr on the beach walk I was looking across at the Carrick Hills and Bower Hill but the tide was covering most of Ayr beach that day so I knew the continuation walk on-wards to Dunure would be out of bounds as it's only accessible at low tide. A couple of weekends later therefore I was back again to do this longer walk of around 12 km, most of it under rugged cliffs and headlands where the Carrick Hills stop abruptly by plunging into the sea. Above is Ayr Beach, this time at low tide.
The Sawney Bean story here as this seemed a fitting place to put it. A fascinating glimpse into Scotland's dark past in medieval times where history of common folk gets hazy. Even a prominent real life figure like William Wallace is unclear, his low status early life largely undocumented but he grew up either in Ayrshire or Renfrewshire, Elderslie being the best guess.