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Sunday, 12 October 2008

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Fell of Barhullion

It's Saturday the 11th 0f October and it's a dry day.After all the flooding this week,we're finally getting a little respite from the rain.

Sixteen walkers and Curly meet up at the bottom car park at St Medans golf club.
I'm a member of the club,but have only played a couple of times this year.

The club overlooks Luce bay and has magnificent views to the Isle of Man and the Mull of Galloway.

We begin the walk back up the road which crosses the 6th and 7th fairways.
Watch out for those golf balls !

A steady incline gives us a lovely view over Monreith Bay.

Above the cliffs now we stop to admire the otter memorial erected in honour of local hero Gavin Maxwell author of 'Ring of Bright Water'.

There's a nice webpage with a lot of local information at

The Machars and in particular the Monreith area is well know in antiquarian circles(no pun intended)for standing stones and cup and ring marks on rocks.Here is just one example.

The clifftop takes us over to Clarksburn at the southern end of Monreith village.I wonder if there's any remnants of the old 'Smiddy' which is spoken of on the Monreith webpage.

Heading through Monreith village the 'Fell of Barhullion' is signposted.A good sign that we're not lost.Ha ha

We pass an immaculate looking wooden dwelling-reminds me of Canada and the U.S.A..
I've always wondered why wooden houses were'n't more prevalent in the UK.
I think i've heard it argued that it's because of our weather and they wouldn't last long.When I was up in Alberta,Canada i saw 150 year old wooden barns and churches with hardly a blemish on them.And they have extreme weather.

Now we pass Blairbuy Loch.On the water appears to be two adult swans and four cygnets.I'd have thought the cygnets would be losing their dingy brown colour by now-perhaps they were late in the spring.
Over the otherside of the loch are two shortish standing stones.

A long straight stretch on what was probably once a busy thoroughfare brings us to Court Hill plantation...

...where we encounter a farmer and his boys on the now familiar quad (a possible reason why herdsmen and shepherds appear to be much stockier these days)

Climbing up Court Hill now...

...we reach the derelict remains of what must have been quite a substantial farm.
It look as though it's now used by the cattle as a shelter.
This was possibly known as Fell of Barhullion Farm.

As we climb we view below us the tower house known as the "Dowies".The original home of the Maxwells.
The "Dowies" also called the 'Old place of Monreith' is now owned by the Landmark Trust,has been beautifully renovated and is available for holiday accommodation.

More pictures and layout here.

..and prices here

A short break... admire the surroundings.Here's a view looking north up Luce Bay.

Vapour trails make a good 'X marks the spot' as we reach the Fell of Barhullion.

This was the site of a middle age fort,and artefacts from here are held by the National Museums of Scotland.

I often wonder who started to build cairns on summits.

Here we'll stop for lunch and photo calls.A drop of red wine was partaken by a few ramblers-must have been good stuff.

An unadulterated picture of the cairn as we prepare to descend.

Looking back to Blairbuy Loch,the effects of the recent rain are patently obvious.

It's a pity it's hazy for zoomed in pictures,but no complaints-it's fair.
This is towards the west and south of St Medan.

We encounter another derelict cottage...

...where a dodgy 'drystane wa' has to be climbed over.

The sheep around here are quite shy,they kept a safe distance.

Asking the question whether this was flood water or a loch,the reply was it could be a flooded loch.It must have been good wine.Ha ha

We're passing the Barmeal plantation now.The return route seems much shorter than outwards was.

Coming up to the main road now.I wonder whether this is a mare and her foal.Earlier this year i saw a new born foal in this field.Horses reach maturity fairly quickly dont they ?

Now back at the golf club,the group takes a detour to look at the remains of one of Scotlands oldest churches.Kirkmaiden is the resting place of many of the McCulloch and Maxwell family members, who owned the Monreith estate.

One Maxwell,Sir Herbert born 1845 was a prolific writer and antiquarian.I come across a lot of reference to him when looking up something local.Gavin Maxwell mentioned earlier in the blog also belonged to this family.

A skull and crossbones grave,which apparently were quite common in Scotland for a variety of reasons right up until the first world war.

Leaving Kirkmaiden it's only a short walk back to the carpark.
It's always a pleasure walking with the ramblers,they're such good company.When the weather's good the pleasure's at least doubled.Today was very enjoyable.

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