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Friday, 24 March 2017

A short Saunter at the Canal & Croy Hill

Las Ramblas return to the world of walking with a short saunter along the Canal at Auchinstarry Marina and back over Croy Hill passing part of the Antonine wall on the way. We had hoped John Lee Hooker would join us but he got lost on Canal Street. Gillian, Avril, Marion, Bruce & Reuben head off without him. 
           At Auchinstarry marina, on the Forth and Clyde Canal.,there are many moorings next to a hostelry that claims to be the first eco-hotel, restaurant and pub in Scotland. It is a lot more modern than its 18th-century origins, but the presence of horses in neighbouring fields harks back to the days when the animals were stabled nearby to be used as a passenger service along the canal.Nowadays, the canal is a great leisure resource, with walking a popular attraction. On the waterside, you can look out for a variety of bird life, including herons, swans, little grebes and tufted ducks. Just away from the canal, in hedgerows and woodlands, smaller birds fill the air with song, making for a perfect walk.

Starting Point

Marion & Avril head off

Reuben Suggests a different Route

Taking in the View

Looking back over the Campsie's

Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall, known to the Romans as Vallum Antonini, was a turf fortification on stone foundations, built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde
Avril, Gillian & Reuben

Marion joins the Pose
Time to head for Coffee

Totem at the  Boathouse
Time for a Coffee in the Boathouse.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A Blustery Port to Port.

Bruce takes an early morning Coastal walk between Portrush and Portstewart. Hugh Cornwell couldn't make it to Northern Ireland as the ferry from Cairnryan was stuck in the harbour due to it being a bit windy.
Portrush Harbour
Carved Brick Sculpture
Portrush Beach
Starting to get a bit Blustery
Lumpy waves

Surfs up
Bit breezy
Thar she blows

To cold for a swim so off to work

Thursday, 29 September 2016

2016 World Stone Skimming Championships

Las Ramblas Ramblers Stone Skimming Division head to Easdale for the
Championships. Chris Difford took a wrong turning and ended up in Camber Sands and in the wrong season but he sent a fun little ditty to entertain us in the Rain.

The World Stone Skimming Championships were started in 1983 by Albert Baker, and then lay fallow until they were resurrected in 1997 by the Easdale Island Community Group
                                  as a fund raising event.                                       
Contestants hail from around the world and the championships now attract over 300 participants and many spectators. Anyone of any age and any level of skill can enter the championships.
The competition is split into Ladies, Men, Junior Boys and Girls and Under 10s Boys and Girls categories. There is also the Ladies and Men Old Tosser categories for those entrants who have reached the experienced and veteran heights of no longer being in their 50's.
The Field of Dreams
Marion & Kay have the misfortune of throwing after Ladies Champion Lucy Wood
Marion celebrates getting a stone in the water
Jill Prepares for her 14m Puffin winning throw
Sally & Daisy show more interest in the wine than the competition
Budgie winner Alfie at the presentation ceremony in the Oyster Bar


Men's Budgie
Alfie 45 meters
Andy 37 meters
Bruce 34 meters
Kevin 22 Meters
Neil 17 meters
Sam 14 meters

Woman's Puffin
Jill 14 meters
Kay 9 meters
Marion 0 meters

6th Las Ramblas 210 meters

Our usual thanks to everyone who organised the event,
the staff at the Oyster Bar
and at the Puffer
And Steve, Trish & Gillian for putting up with us for another Year

Monday, 26 September 2016

Pre Skim Stroll in Ardmaddy Gardens

Las Ramblas (Stone Skimming Division) take a leisurely saunter round the Ardmaddy Castle Estate
Marion, Bruce, Linda, Neil, Alfie, Jill, Andy, Kay, Kevin, Sally & Daisy Struggle through the Rain Barry Manilow despite his claims did not.

Ardmaddy Castle gardens, in a most spectacular setting, are shielded to the north by mature woodlands, carpeted with bluebells and daffodils and protected from the Atlantic winds by the elevated Castle. The Walled Garden is full of magnificent rhododendrons, some huge, an increasing collection of rare and unusual shrubs and plants, the 'Clock Garden' with its cutting flowers, fruit and vegetables grown with labour saving formality, all within dwarf box hedging. Beyond, a woodland walk, with its amazing hydrangea climbing to 60 feet, leads to the water gardens - in early summer a riot of candelabra primulas, irises, rodgersias and other damp loving plants and grasses. Lovely autumn colour. A garden for all seasons.
Ardmaddy Tower
Crossing in light drizzle
Taking shelter in the Potting Shed
Slight respite from the downpour

Oh well time to head to the House Of Trousers for a quick refreshment before getting some last minute training in the Oyster Bar
Tigh an Truish
A good sign for tomorrows Competition ?
Let the training commence

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Lews Castle Stroll in Stonroway

Bruce takes a pre-work Stroll in Stornoway, Jimi Hendrix missed out as he was
to busy with a full Scottish Breakfast in a local hostelry he did however suggest this song for the walk

King James VI granted ownership of Lewis to the Mackenzies of Kintail in 1610. By about 1680, Lord Seaforth had established his estate house, Seaforth Lodge, on the Gearraidh Chruaidh, an area of rough ground on the west side of the harbour. Parts of this original building can still be seen within the stripped out walls of the mezzanine at the rear of the present Castle.
In 1844 the Lewis Estate was sold to James Matheson.
Sir James Matheson was born in Lairg, Sutherland and co-founded the Jardine Matheson company in Canton in 1832. Having made his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade, he returned to Scotland and purchased the Island of Lewis from the Mackenzie Trustees for £190,000.
Matheson commissioned the renowned architect Charles Wilson to design his new island residence on the site of the Mackenzies' Seaforth Lodge. Building work started in 1847 and the £60,000 project took seven years to complete. A further £49,000 was spent on transforming the rough grazing land around the new Castle into extensive woodlands and private gardens. The temperate climate and shelter from the initial planting of hardy species, created ideal growing conditions for a wide range of native and imported species. A large conservatory complex, added in 1875 by Alex Sutherland, housed a host of more exotic and delicate species.
The creation of the Castle Grounds involved the clearance of tenants and the re-routing of public roads, which did not endear the new proprietor to the local population. To balance this, during his period of ownership, Sir James Matheson provided employment, funded famine relief and many other social and economic projects for the benefit of the island community.
On his death in 1878 the estate fell to his widow Lady Mary Jane Matheson and subsequently to his nephew Donald and grand-nephew Colonel Duncan Matheson. For financial reasons the Lewis estate and the Castle were put on the market in 1917.
William Hesketh Leve (Lord Leverhulme) was born in Bolton, Lancashire, in 1851 and built up the Lever Bros/Unilever conglomerate. Having first seen the Hebrides on a vacation cruise in 1884, he bought the Isle of Lewis in 1918 for £143,000 and a year later acquired the Isle of Harris. In little over three years, Leverhulme spent some £2million on industrialisation schemes, largely based on fishing, which he believed would transform the economic and social conditions in the islands.
Leverhulme had ambitious plans for Stornoway and commissioned the artist Raffles Davison to draw up his future vision of the town. This, incidentally, included a bridge linking the harbour at Bayhead to the Castle Grounds.
Leverhulme gave the Castle electric lighting, central heating, numerous bathrooms and intercom telephones. An enthusiastic dancer, he extended the ballroom by combining it with an adjacent drawing room. He hosted many famous visitors and invitations to balls at the Castle were eagerly sought.
In 1923 Lord Leverhulme gifted Lews Castle and 64,000 acres of land to the people of Stornoway parish and the Stornoway Trust was established to manage this substantial estate on behalf of the community.
Harbour Fisherwoman

3d Wall Mural
And another
Lews Castle from the harbour
Boatman's House
Looking back to Stornoway
Lewis Chessman
And another
Lews Castle
Overgrown Bridge
Oh well time to go and earn some money