Walking - Hill & Mountain (Updated  25/05/2019)

Group Leader - Dick Vernon
01292 442195
Location - Public on-road parking area, opposite Shanter Way, Alloway
Tuesday @ 0845
Season - Continuous

This is the largest and strongest of the Hill Walking Groups, with about 30 members at present (membership is unlimited). Usually there are 15-20 on the walks, sometimes split between two walks.

We walk mostly in the Southern Uplands (Galloways, Lowthers etc), but also head over to Arran or north to the Southern Highlands, when the weather is good enough for such ventures. If some of us are heading further afield, there is usually a second more local walk for those who don’t want to travel so far. The presence of a lot of experienced leaders in the group allows for this option. Indeed, with so much talent in the group, most walks are team efforts.

The major determinant of the walk(s) of the day is our fickle weather! Several of us check the forecasts the day or so before the walk, and then decide on the route, trying to avoid a soaking and also trying to ensure that we see something! If the weather is really bad, then a low level walk (eg Barr Trails) is the order of the day. The decision is then e-mailed to members early Monday evening. If the weather is changing very rapidly, a decision may be postponed until we meet on Tuesday morning. As good weather is essential for trips to Arran or the Southern Highlands, then I try to give members more notice so a second walk can be arranged if necessary.

2018 was a challenging year weather-wise, but we still climbed the most of the hills west of the A74 including the Merrick and Corserine, and on a rare good day in March, some of us made an interesting winter ascent of a snow-clad Ben Vane, where crampons were necessary and an ice axe was reassuring. However, most of our walks don’t require such gear, but if they are likely to be needed then this is included in the e-mail circulated to members. The good weather of May/June saw two visits to Arran, when parties climbed most of the major peaks. These are a few high-lights; whatever the conditions we always find something, in fact we have never missed a Tuesday due to weather!

The essential requirements to join the group are a reasonable level of fitness (most of our walks would be graded as ‘A walks’ by the Ramblers), good walking boots (the Galloways in particular are tough walking, with few paths), wet-weather, and in the winter, cold weather clothing. Walking poles are often useful, and can extend the life of aging knees. Mini-crampons can be useful in the winter if walks are likely to be icy, and, as mentioned above, full crampons and ice axes may be needed for those indulging in harder winter ascents on Arran or in the Southern Highlands.

Finally, I am happy to say that this is a very friendly, welcoming group, so if you enjoy hill walking, then why not give us a try?  

For more information please contact the Group Leader (details above).






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