Major Advance at Balkenna

Even by Jimmy Begg’s unrelenting standards, last Thursday was a lengthy shift for the bridge-builders. Due to the unexpectedly early availability of the telegraph poles for the bridge beams, work continued after a lunch break until a finish around 3.00pm! The placing of the poles allowed the decking to be placed so that we now have a crossable structure that will mean we no longer risk getting wet feet negotiating the burn. Thanks are due to Hugh Watson of HIE Fabrication Ltd for making the sturdy steel brackets for the bridge. Apart from the decking, the whole structure has been built from re-cycled material at a cost of under £500. Next week it will be finishing the approaches, both sides, and getting rid of the heavy vegetation. Then comes the topping out ceremony with some of that champagne that Jimmy won in the Rotary Golf Day raffle! Poles arrived 10.30h beams set 13.00h decking done!...

Balkenna Progress – 10 May

Further good progress was made on the bridge construction this week. Jimmy and Gus made up the template and drilled the sleepers, which pleasingly slid over the dowels without snagging. The rest of the team gathered loads of stones and filled the gap under the hut (will this one day be the ACP bothy?), and also backfilled behind the abutments. So all ready for the bridging part of it, with the telegraph poles ordered, the angle brackets ready, and the decking purchased and due to be cut to size this weekend. Continuing the recent international encounters theme, volunteers had a friendly chat with a Dutch couple who are thoroughly enjoying walking the ACP before going on to Bute. Perhaps we should all start brushing up on our foreign language...

Welcome change from humphing boulders

Seven Pathminders decided to take a day off normal duties for a highly sociable round of golf at Seafield. No scores were declared afterwards for fear of embarrassment but all agreed it was a fun day and it should be repeated occassionally. John Ferguson got lucky at the 15th hole. His ball was nearest the pin. Actually it was the only one to hit the green! John’s effort won him a bottle of (cheap) wine. ……with James Braid Lucky...

Round-Britain Walkers meet on Ayrshire Coastal Path

An unusual coincidence happened last week on the Ayrshire Coastal Path. Two couples who, independently, are walking the entire British coastline (3861 miles over 9 months!) in opposite directions, accidently bumped into each other on a section of the path between Ayr and Dunure. Martin Shipley (frequently accompanied by his wife Maureen) is walking anti-clockwise to raise funds for Thrombosis UK in memory of their daughter, Dawn. Meanwhile, Susan and Simon Murphy, a couple from Lyme Regis are walking clockwise. Imagine the surprise they all got when meeting and greeting each other. Since the path was created by Ayr Rotary Club 11 years ago, many thousands of walkers with differing abilities and ambitions have walked at least part of the path. With its two major accolades (it is one of “Scotland’s Great Trails” and part of the International Appalachian Trail) it attracts many visitors, not only from the UK but also from overseas. On the same day that the round-Britain walkers met, Ken Andreson and his partner from Connecticut were just a few miles away near Turnberry, on their own Ayrshire Coastal Path adventure. You too can enjoy the delights of this wonderful stretch of coastline – visit   https://ayrshirecoastalpath.org/ for some ideas. The Shipleys with Ron Ireland and Mike...

Balkenna Progress – 3 May

More good work on the bridge abutments today with all dowell bars set in place ready to receive the sleeper bearings. Much mixing of the fast-setting concrete exercised the enthusiastic work party. North abutment South Abutment The day was brightened by the appearance of some rare visitors : a couple of Brent geese on their way home to Greenland and two walkers – Ken Andreson and his partner, from Connecticut in the US. The latter pair were on a week’s holiday to walk the length of the ACP and were heading northwards for an overnight stay at a Turnberry B&B. No such luxury for the geese though. Jimmy and Ken have spotted the geese! Also today, our very own trailer was initiated into the weekly work party routine. A great addition to our equipment and one that makes the transporting of tools and materials much easier. Great...
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