Walking – Hill and Mountain

Group Leader - Dick Vernon             Tel: 01292 442195
Location - Public on-road parking area, opposite Shanter Way,
Tuesday @ 08.45                        Season - Continuous

Activities of the group have been constrained by the Covid 19 pandemic for the last two years, but we are now essentially back to normal operations.

This is the largest and strongest of the Hill Walking Groups, with about 40 members at present (membership has been unlimited up to now). Usually there are about 20 on the walks, sometimes split between two walks. Our numbers also mean that there is no pressure to come on walks. We are an outward looking group, with a mutually beneficial relationship with ADRC (many are members of both), and a developing relationship with the Am Binnein Club.

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 (and, for Arran, when boats are sailing!). 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.

While the aim of the group is to do hill walks which would be graded as A or A+ by the Ramblers (ie over 2,500 feet of climbing and about 10 miles walking), the major determinant of the walk(s) of the day is our fickle weather! I check several 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 wanted.

Examples of recent better walks include the Merrick- Buchanan Hill round and Corserine – Meikle Millyea round. In happier times, we have climbed most of the more accessible Munros in the Southern Highlands and all the Arran routes. In addition, some of us have made winter (ie snow) traverses of Goatfell and Ben Lomond amongst others

The essential requirements to join the group are a good level of fitness, 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 full crampons and ice axes may be needed for those indulging in harder winter snow ascents (I would always inform members if such equipment was needed for an ascent).

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).

Dick , leader of the Hill and Mountain walking group, negotiating a minor obstacle when exploring a potential new walk for the group with Sandy Martin. A good walk but perhaps not suitable for a large number!

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