Friday, February 22, 2013
Kilmarnock Trip-Early January 2012
Time to chill out away from the business, the phone and computer for a few days. We went up to Kilmarnock on 4th January, the weather was miserable but we had booked to see The Hobbit at the cinema so it didn’t really matter.
The next day was dry and grey but was likely to be the best of our few days here so we set off for Loudoun Hill.
The Spirit of Scotland sculpture
Bridge over the River Irvine
Having seen The Hobbit the day before, I was waiting for something to jump out of the rocks at me!
Carved rock on top of Loudoun Hill reads:
Wallace of Ellerslie 1270 to 1305
The Battle of Loudoun Hill plaque 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'
The Battle of Loudoun Hill was fought in May 1307 between a Scots force led by Robert Bruce and the English commanded by Aymer de Valence. It took place beneath Loudoun Hill, in Ayrshire, and ended in a victory for Bruce. It was Bruce's first major military victory. (Wikipedia)
Pete at the trig point
Flush bracket S4269
Looking towards Arran
Its quite a long way up, our car looks really tiny in the car park!
You can just make out the Spirit of Scotland sculpture too!
The sun is trying to break through the clouds
Part of the huge Whitelee Wind Farm
There are some lovely old trees on the side of the hill
Good for hiding from the enemy too!
A lot of Scree around this side of the hill
Ruins of Backhill Farm
Hermit? no its Pete!
There must be some big moles around here!
I think he should have taken his hat off!
A short burst of sunshine and the hill lit up
Remains of the old railway
Looking down the Irvine River
Tree and sign
Loudoun Hill and sign
Lovely interpretation board showing the history and the wildlife of the hill.
Back to the car for a picnic lunch…..
…before heading off to The Big Wood near Newmilns
Some great old trees here too!
Good to see a bit of sunshine through the trees
Moss covered tree
This sign in the river was about the closure of the Loudoun Theme Park saying that it hopes to reopen soon, but there is no sign of that as it looks pretty run down!
Loudoun Gowf Club, aparently the only “Gowf” club in the world, over 400 years old!
Starting to get cold and damp now so back to the hotel for a nice meal!
The next day we headed for Dundonald to see the castle and walk part of the “Smugglers Trail”
Topograph near the castle
The castle and visitor centre isn’t open this time of year but we had a look around the outside
Dundonald Castle is a fortified tower house built for Robert II on his accession to the throne of Scotland in 1371 and it was used as a royal residence by the early Stewart kings for the next 150 years. It was said to be Robert II’s favourite residence and it was here that he died in 1390.
Skein of Geese flying over
Time to find the Smugglers Trail which starts below the castle
Trees clinging onto the rocks
Pete found a tuneful seat to play!
Path to the reservoir
Good views of Troon from here where the walk continues to
We decided that the weather was starting to deteriorate though so walked around the reservoir and headed back
Fungi growing from a tree
Mycelium or fungus roots under the bark
I spotted this squirrel, unfortunately one of the “bad” ones!
Back to Dundonald Castle
It then started raining so we headed for the toon that is Kilmarnock, shops, yuk!
The next day it was time to head back home, the weather was dreary again and the top of Ailsa Craig was lost in the clouds
We had a short, cold, windswept walk at Maidens on the way home.
Despite the weather we managed to unwind with some nice walks, a good film and a couple of good meals out.