The mystery of the Muirkirk meerkats

Four trekkers from Walkers CC went in search of off-road opportunities around Muirkirk on Saturday, managing 18 miles in the best weather of the weekend.
Three on mountain bikes and one on a limited-gear cross bike carried out a recce mission of reclaimed Forestry Commission ground to the north of the village. This was, until a few years ago, an opencast coal site and is reached from Main Street by a steep tarred road climbing towards the former works entrance.
At the top, the Walkers group came across a convoluted network of wide paths with bits and pieces of industrial debris dotted around on either side – all clear remnants of the mining processes which went on there. The scarred landscape provided ample scope for mountain biking mileage but wouldn’t inspire lovers of the countryside.
The next phase was a series of mini-singletrack paths in the picnic area opposite the cemetery on Glasgow Road. This led the quartet down on to the main road to Glenbuck where they joined the River Ayr Way back to Muirkirk. This path is more suited to walking than cycling because of the high number of narrow wooden gates designed to prevent motorised traffic using it. The winding trail took the trekkers past Kames motorsport complex, over Tibbie’s Brig – a monument to a poetic lady friend of Robert Burns (she lived nearby) – and the cairn to John Loudoun Macadam, the Ayrshire road-builder.
The four bikers were in equally athletic company on their riverside travels, meeting many strung-out participants on the annual River Ayr Challenge run from the coast to Muirkirk.
A search on the day for the legendary Muirkirk Meercat, reputed to exist within a family cluster in the forest at Smallburn, proved fruitless but offered much lighthearted debate after some copious Wikipedia browsing the night before.

"The things you see when you're just minding your own business" Said the meerkat.
“The things you see when you’re just minding your own business”
Said the meerkat.