River Ayr Way: 3 – Rain, roads and a foundling dog

7.05 miles 3h 5m ascent 139m

River Ayr Way: Catrine to Failford

This short section is a walk along riverside paths, woodland wynds, wooden walkways, fenced and mown farmland tracks, un-named and little used tarmac, quiet residential streets and unpleasantly busy B-roads; over bridges of metal, of wood and of stone; beneath viaducts for road and rail; through deciduous woods and conifer, by hedgerows of soft and sharp branches, with colours of summer and autumn; past waymarkers, ambiguous signposts and places calling out for signage.

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River Ayr Way: 2 – The Weir and The Voes

8.68 miles 4h 28m ascent 111m

River Ayr Way: Greenock Water Bridge-Catrine

This stage starts at Greenock Water Bridge. We parked on the old bridge then headed down a steep stone stairway and along Greenock Water’s grassy riverbank. Greenock Water and the River Ayr are about the same size where they meet beside a fisherman’s hide. It would be a great place to take a break but we had been walking for less than five minutes so we only paused for a moment to admire the view. The riverside path was now less used, and the grass, longer and wet from the previous day’s rain, soon soaked our boots and trousers.

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River Ayr Way: 1 – The Railway and the River

10.55 miles 5h 32 m ascent 82m

Glenbuck-Greenock Water Bridge

The River Ayr Way follows the River Ayr from its source at Glenbuck Loch to the sea at Ayr, a 44 mile route. We had talked of walking it for quite some time, but never got round to doing the actual walk. Well here we were at last, ready for our first stage. The plan was to start on Tuesday but Met Office alerts delayed us a couple of days. So instead of heat, humidity and thunderstorms we had sunshine with just the right amount of breeze.

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Frae the big brig tae the auld halt

10.12 miles 5h 2 m 178m ascent

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct-Skerrow Halt

The drive to the viaduct was a little slower than expected because we came to a “temporary obstruction, 15 minute delay” sign. I turned off the ignition, put on the brake and sorted out my rucksack. When I looked up the cars in front of me had gone. I can’t have been there too long, or the drivers behind were very patient because there was no tooting before I drove on.

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Antonov An-225 Mriya at Prestwick Airport

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Skerrow Halt (yet) Again

9.65 miles 4h 15m 161m ascent

Stroan Loch-Skerrow Halt-Little Water of Fleet-and back

It’s a year since I blogged a walk. The last few months can be put down to lockdown, and the last couple of weeks due to a swollen ankle. But I haven’t been idle. I’ve entered grandfather-hood, lost slippers to new puppy, visited Monino (one off the bucket-list) and skied in Bulgaria. I have embarked on a ship wearing a smile, and disembarked wearing a mask. My Tai Chi has been renewed, I’ve made toffee apples and designed a (simple) computer game. My “no more medical reading’ oath was been comprehensively broken with a recall from retirement, and my beard shaved off so I could use an FFP3. And last of all, as the last post shows, the ticks eventually got me.

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The Forest My Friend

overgrown path

The forest. My friend these many long days. 
Happy, I wandered her green dappled ways. 
My spirits she raised, my soul was reborn.  
With a lightness of touch her gifts did transform. 

Her offering I bore, unseen, and unknown. 
A spirochaete favour. Its cover now blown. 
(Non-luetic, I add.  Before rumours spread!). 
It’s Erythema migrans I’m sporting instead. 
Two lesions at once, less rare than I knew. 
Coursing my blood this spiral mildew?

To lift the enchantment, wash my blood clean
The four-ringéd tincture, the doxy-cycline?
Bacteriostatic, broad-spectrum, and cheap.  
Saviour of many, makes spirochaetes weep. 
But a substrate of enzymes whose power I induce
The weapon is weakened. For me it’s no use 

If four rings won’t cut it, will three rings suffice?
The evidence is sketchy, but suggested by NICE…
Beta lactam it is then, I can walk in the light. 
And Bacteriocidal, that’s good amiright?

In the darkness of night, I wake chilled to the bone
I didn’t expect it but it’s name is well known
But how to include it, in metre and verse?
Jarisch-Herxheimer, it makes poets curse. 

The lesions are larger, but paler this morn,
My chills are now gone, to treatment I’m sworn,
Am-ox-icillin, now culled of its “y”, 
And adjuvant therapies that appeal to my eye

Ardbeg, toffee apples, fresh fruit from the bowl
Vitamin D, ‘cos she said so, and avocado 
Some yoghourt to balance the microbiome. 
And coffee of course, while perusing a tome. 

The forest. My friend these many long days. 
Happy, I will wander her green dappled ways. 
My spirits are raised, my soul is reborn.  
For better or worse her gifts will transform. 


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