On 16 August 2017, we were honoured to welcome Denis Spiller, the National President of Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) along with the 1230 District Governor, Gary Louttit, to see and experience for themselves the delights of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. There to welcome them, at Dunure harbour, were Ayr Rotary President Craig Wilson, Jimmy Begg, Gus Iannotti and Ron Ireland.
Despite the looming rain clouds, the party of six set off on an amiable stroll with Jimmy, as ever, leading the way and elaborating on various features of interest such as the castle and its doocot.
From there they were guided up our newly-constructed Smugglers’ Brae steps, stopping at the new bench to enjoy the (imagined) views. After continuing through the Millenium Wood to the kissing-gate above the lookout-field, with storm clouds approaching from the distant west, the wise decision to return was unanimously reached. In the comfort of the Dunure Inn, the group enjoyed an excellent light lunch during which the erudite chat ranged from things entomological to classic cars (both involving beetles!).
Denis and Gary were full of praise for the efforts of Ayr Rotary Club in creating and maintaining the Path and for the benefits this brought to Rotary through greater public awareness.
She had her baptism of fire hacking through a jungle of 5ft high Monks’ Rhubarb and Cow Parsley beside the new bridge over the Ladywell Burn. But her enthusiasm for the job kept the two lads going, and she didn’t let us stop till we had cleared away enough vegetation to let her see the wee waterfall that we could hear tinkling somewhere in the jungle.
So ladies, let’s have more of you out to join us. It’s great fun, you are helping the local community and you are out in the fresh air. What could be better?
Gillian is a very keen walker and has an excellent website, Gillian’s Walks, listing many walks in Scotland and beyond.
Walkers will be glad to learn that, with just two mornings’ work, six Pathminders completed a new sleeper bridge over the Ladywell Burn, 1km north of Dunure. Though a small burn easily forded in dry weather, it was a bit of a problem during spates, and has been on our ‘to-do’ list for some time.
We are now moving on to the notorious Wet Gully 300m further north, where a 70m ditch has been dug to improve drainage, a new path-line pegged out, and work begun to provide a firm base underfoot. Work in progress.
Topping a recent gift of £92 from their Christmas Raffle, Cunninghame Ramblers have delighted us with a further surprise donation of £500 towards Path maintenance. This will let us buy 5 tonnes of whin chips to surface the Fisherton Gully path from top to shore. A much needed improvement.
Thank you Cunninghame Ramblers – our top Walkers – who have now donated almost £900 to support our work over the past eight years.
Over the past three months, Pathminder squads have spent 282 man-hours at the Smugglers Brae, Dunure, converting a slippery muddy slope into a fine stepped, surfaced path. This was only made possible by a grant of £1550 from SAWET (South Ayrshire Waste Environmental Trust); the supply of 50 old sleepers from Trump Turnberry Golf Course; and a generous donation of £500 from Hillhouse Quarries Ltd to buy 10 Tonnes of whin chips. All materials had to brought on site by hand, sack and barrow. It’s amazing what a gang of OAPs can do – unpaid but willing! And there’s now a seat at the top, with a spectacular view, for tired walkers.
Five Rotary Clubs, Girvan, Alloway, Ayr, Prestwick and Troon, with a total of 240 volunteers, cleared 565 bags of rubbish over a 19-mile coastline from Girvan to Troon. Working with the Marine Conservation Society, we counted 2,800 plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes. Calculating we must have lifted 33,000 bottles over 11 years, this info has been sent to MSPs at Holyrood to support a current cross-party call for a Plastic Bottle Deposit scheme – something sorely needed. Read the full report The Plastic Peril Report 2017
You will remember when Natalie attended the Rotary Club of Ayr meeting in July last year. She was attempting a 6000-mile journey round the coast of Great Britain in memory of her five year old daughter Elizabeth who died in December 2015 – and hoping to raise £100,000 for Bristol Children’s Hospital. In fact she topped this target with a fantastic £115,000!
The Club presented Natalie with a new pair of boots, to help her on her way and a few members walked alongside her on part of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
Congratulations Natalie on competing your walk!
One of our Pathminders, Ron Ireland, took this photo of a stranded seal on 8 February 2017, at Bracken Bay. Apart from that, Ron spotted a couple of Roe deer, nesting ravens in the Fisherton Gulley and various other species.
If you are able to snap any interesting wildlife, please post them on our Facebook page or send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that Fisherton Gully steps are complete, we have started on Smugglers Brae, near Dunure. A big task for our Pathminders squad, but favourable weather has allowed us to make good progress. Here Ron Ireland, retired civil engineer, surveys the first of a proposed 29 steps.
And a satisfactory morning’s work can be seen.
Literally on the Coastal Path – filming location scenes at Dunure Harbour. So our apologies to any walkers who stumbled back into the 18th Century today on reaching Dunure. An unexpected encounter – but an interesting one. Here today and gone tomorrow – which will conveniently let us begin work on the Smugglers’ Brae steps the next day. New “Pathminders” are always welcome to join our volunteers.