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Report on Auchenbourach
3 January 2010   (4563 views)

Auchenbourach in the Kilbirnie Hills

Attendees: Irene, Gail, Malcolm, Gavin, Dorothy, Denise and Joanne.

We met at Irene?s house at 10am and were booted up for ten past and ready to start. We walked along the main road for a bit, passing Redheugh House and then up to the first turning on the left. We turned onto this road and as it was an untreated farm road, the ice and snow was really compacted so Irene thought she would try out her crampons. Although it was cold and there was a great deal of snow around, the sun was out and the sky was really clear. We walked up past the farm and through the gate onto the open hillside. We were lucky as the farmer had been out on his quad bike and made tracks for us to follow, which was just as well as the snow was getting deeper.

We next came to Glengarnock Castle and decided to make a slight detour to have a wee look round. We took some photos here before making our way back to the track. Although the snow was very deep here, again we were lucky as someone had been there before us and had broken the trail. Even so, it was hard going as the snow was always well over our ankles and for a lot of the time it was up to our knees and sometimes it was even deeper. Occasionally a scream would escape as someone sunk into a deep hole. There was much laughter as we trudged on in this winter wonderland and there was even a bit of bumsliding when we were faced with the few wee dips we came to. Just as the summit cairn came into view in the distance, there was a short steep bit to negotiate, so Malcolm and Gavin got their ice axes out and set about breaking the new snow, up to the crest so that we could walk along the spine to the top. That was really fun to watch as they kept sliding back and at times they were buried up to their thighs. We all stood and watched and waited until they had cleared a way for us. It certainly made it easier for us. Once on the crest it wasn?t far to the summit but due to the really thick snow here, it was quite a struggle, but eventually we got to the summit.

There is a cairn at the top which is surrounded by a metal railing. This monument, which is 1000 feet above sea level has a plaque with a Latin inscription which translates to ?Loved by All? it commemorates the life of William Arthur Cochrane-Patrick, born 12 June 1860, died 29 January 1881 aged just twenty. He was the son of the family who owned the land in the vicinity of Auchenbourach Hill. He died from tetanus whilst studying at Cambridge.

The views were terrific and it was certainly worth the climb. As well as having a great view over Glasgow, we could see Ailsa Craig and even Goatfell popped its head out. We had a well earned lunch in bright sunshine before taking the usual summit photos. We then set about re-tracing our steps back down. It was a good bit easier going down but occasionally we had wee ascents which kept us warm. When we came to the farm again we decided to walk along the side of the River Garnock rather than along the main road. This was really nice but instead of the lovely powdery snow of the hills, the ground was frozen solid and in some places it was very icy and slippery.

We eventually got back to Irene?s for coffee and biscuits and a wee blether before we went our separate ways.

Dorothy McGhee

From Black Barn Farm near castle
Glengarnock Castle
Gail struggling over a wall
Malcolm makes it look easy
Gavin and Malcolm up to their knees in it
Trudging through the snow
Dorothy, Gail and Irene
Memorial at Auchenbourach
Summit photo
Looking towards Kilbirnie
River Garnock

Photos: Irene Cahill

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