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  • Chris Jones

Day 126 & 127. Sun, Mon 6th & 7th August. Ardrossan to Ayr.

Having dropped off the keys for Stewart's bike at the ferry terminal reception I headed out of the harbour and up onto the promenade. It was surreal, for months and months I've been walking on roads or remote trails trying to follow the coastline around Scotland and in the blink of an eye, I was back in civilisation. A promenade, a beach, ice cream stalls and amusement arcades, not to mention people, all over the place, loads of people... That West coast of Scotland, while beautiful is absolutely brutal to try and walk around as I knew it would be. It wasn't a surprise but I can honestly say it was tough, both physically and mentally. That said, I had survived it and it felt reassuring to be back walking by the sea, out of the traffic and the midge infested swamps. The Ayrshire coast has a coastal path and I was very much looking forward to walking it.

I bumped into a guy called Dougie while walking along the beach, he was doing his thing to maintain his mental well-being by taking photos of the sea and sky as they transformed when the sun was setting. He kindly took a few pics after we'd had a chat and sent them to me, and he also very kindly donated to the MCF. Cheers Dougie, keep smiling mate. 👍😉

I'd also had some contact from another Freemason called Stewart, he lived locally and had been following my journey since I started in January. Stewart had also been down to Scunthorpe many times as his nephew Ryan lives down there and he'd visited Ryans lodge a few times. Stewart had been out the night before partying so he joined me for a walk to clear his head, he'd also made contact with Iain at the Lodge in Kilwinning where he would meet us at 2.30pm to show us around the Lodge and museum.

Of all the Masonic Lodges I've visited, Lodge Kilwinning No. 0, The Mother Lodge of Scotland excited me the most. I'd visited once before between the Covid lockdowns but we could not get access so had to make do with looking around the Abbey ruins. With minutes dating back to 1642 and the lodge history dating back to 1140 from the time of the building of Kilwinning Abbey, the ruins of which still stand to the rear of the lodge, this lodge has an incredible history. Indeed, the Lodge was itself a Grand Lodge prior to the creation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and for many years issued Warrants to Lodges accross Scotland. When the first Lodge in Edinburgh was numbered No. 1, an agreement was eventually agreed upon that Lodge Kilwinning would be numbered Lodge 0, or Lodge nothing, The Mother Lodge of Scotland. Please don't refer to it as Lodge 0, zero, they don't like that, it's lodge nothing...

It gets even better. Iain, who is a Past Master of the lodge gave Stewart and I a guided tour and invited us to an Initiation meeting on Tuesday evening... I couldn't believe my luck, my arrival in the area couldn't have been timed better so with a meeting to look forward to in a couple of days, we had a pint in the lodge social club and I wandered off back to the coast, I would keep walking and get a bus back in a few days for the meeting.

By 9pm, I'd walked 18 miles so decided to call it a day and found a nice quiet place in the sand dunes. It has been a long time since I'd lay in my tent listening to the waves gently lapping on the shore and it was bliss.

I woke to the sound of the Oyster catchers so packed up and walked to Barrasie to find a bus stop. Lying in my tent looking a my map I noticed that I wasn't far from Kilmarnock where Stewart was still lying in hospital. He had text me to say he was bored so I figured I'd go over to make a surprise visit to see him. On my way I stopped in a W H Smith to pick him up some reading material, I picked up a rugby magazine and a motorcycle magazine but I couldn't find anything on the top shelf so I asked the lady at the counter if they had a copy of Readers Wives or Fiesta !!! To say she was disgusted would be an understatement, she politely informed me that they hadn't sold any of 'that filth' for a long time... 🫣 I felt it was pointless to try and explain that it wasn't for me but it was for my mate in hospital so I turned and left, feeling very much the perv she thought I was !!! 😳

So, instead I nipped next door into a craft shop and bought him a nice colouring book with a pack of felt tip pens. I avoided the crayons, Stewart used to be in the REME and they had a reputation for not being able to write so would eat the crayons !!!

Stewart was in good spirits considering his predicament, he was hopeful he'd be released the following day although he had already started organising the other guys on the ward into an escape committee. The knotted bed sheets stashed under his bed were a bit obvious !!!

I left my good mate promising to catch up with him in October when I return to Lincolnshire for a few days and headed back to the coast where I walked down the coast for a couple of hours and pitched up near to Trumps Golf course at Turnberry, I'd camped on his other course on the East coast so to get the full set I thought I'd do it again. I never realised this course was built on a former airfield, not RAF but a Royal Flying Corps Air field, created of course by The Royal Engineers which later became Crab Air.... 🙄 This was also the birthplace of King Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329, which inspired Trump to name the course after the first king of Scotland. Only £475 for a round, shame I didn't have the right shoes with me or a bag of sticks !!! I did use his toilet at the lighthouse though, very posh and probably the best quality toilet paper I've ever used !!!

I little more walking when I woke and Scottish Stewart had messaged to say that there was a train ticket waiting for me at the nearest train station I could find, I just needed to catch the train back to Kilwinning where he would pick me up and take me back to his house to prepare for the meeting at The Mother Lodge of Scotland, Lodge Kilwinning No. 0.

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Aug 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Brilliant as usual!! X


Unknown member
Aug 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Loved this blog....the banter....super and the pics, thanks Chris for making me laugh out loud whilst reading this !😂😎 Melvin.

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