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Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Bruces Stone Loch Enoch

It's Saturday the 28th of March,and i'm heading for Bruce's Stone at Glentrool.
As i leave Newton Stewart i recognise fellow ramblers in the car in front,so i follow at a safe distance.
I haven't intended to walk with the ramblers today.I've come along to say hello,and possibly meet up with them as they return from whats been billed as a long strenuous day in the hills.
Arriving at Bruce's Stone,there are lots of folk around.It seems there's quite a large group of folk who've come over from Ireland.They've stayed overnight in the Bruce Hotel in Newton Stewart,and have arrived here in taxi's to climb the Merrick.

The ramblers group totals eleven,twelve if i join them.It seems the Merrick's being left out of todays walk,which persuades me to give it a try.
A group of twelve of us now head down the track... the Buchan Bridge...

...where just beyond we begin climbing Buchan Hill.

After climbing for about ten minutes,it dawns on me that there's no way i can keep up with the group,and tell them to head on without me.I'll just take it easy,and if i get up to the Buchan Ridge that'll be enough exercise for me.I sit on a rock looking back towards Loch Trool... i watch them gaining height.
I'm joined momentarily by another rambler who doesn't think he can make it.But he soon rejoins the group when i tell him i'm carrying on climbing up to the ridge.
As i take it easy up to the top of Buchan,i'm surprised to see the group still here.Apparently the climb's taken a lot out of more than me.
That was the hardest bit i'm told.!Somehow i'm persuaded to rejoin the group.

Now along the top of the Buchan,with wonderful views,i feel a renewed spring in my step.That well quoted expression 'A second wind' comes to mind.Here we're looking over to the Round Loch and Long Lochs of Glenhead,Loch Valley and Loch Narroch with the Rig of the Jarkness splitting them.Loch Neldricken's to the far left.

To the north is this panorama of Benyellery and the Merrick.

The Buchan Ridge undulates between the Buchan Hills two summits...

...while the Merrick makes a wonderful backdrop for a group picture.It's quite cold today,which probably explains the odd snow flurries we get throughout todays walk.

As we continue on,surrounding hills are pointed out and recognised.I'm now well on the way to recognising quite a few myself nowadays.

We take an early lunch along here.
At this point there should be a picture of Loch Valley,Loch Narroch and beyond to Clatteringshaws loch,but guess what-my main camera's playing up again.It looked like the picture was being taken,but by it's absence i fear not.

Continuing on in a North Easterly direction the Buchan Ridge gives way to the Rig of Loch Enoch.

Every ridge gives a different view.

If large boulders could talk,i wonder what wonders these two might have witnessed.

We're much closer to Loch Neldricken now.A count of viewed lochs up to now totalled eight.Sorry i haven't the pictures to prove it.

Loch Arron is the next stretch of water to come into view.It's quite a small loch,and we're not best placed to get a good look at it.

We're getting close to our objective as we pass this rocky outcrop.It's known as the 'Grey Man'

There's not as much snow here as above on the Merrick,but a careful step is still required.Note the old dry stone dyke running along here.

And we finally feast our eyes on the wondrous Loch Enoch.There's no loch or lake bigger in Britain at this height.

It's photocall time and I get in the picture thanks to the other cameraman.And thanks for sending me it...

...meanwhile i take another.

I need to come back here on a long scottish summer day.

There's a book i've just found written by S.R.Crockett and published in 1904 called 'Raiderland' subtitled 'All about Grey Galloway'.
I seem to recall a fellow rambler telling me of it.
It's available to read on the internet at Electric Scotland,and in chapter 3 there's a heading 'Utmost Enoch' where his account is far more detailed,comprehensive and descriptive than i could ever hope to be.

This is just one short passage.

Strangest sight in all this Galloway of strange sights is Loch Enoch–so truly another world that we cannot wonder if the trouts of this uncanny water high among the hills decline to wear tails in the ordinary fashion of common and undistinguished trouts in lowland lakes, but carry them docked and rounded after a mode of their own.

The book can be found here

But we can't stay any longer,it's cold and people have homes to get to.
This the first part of our return route is both rocky and swampy.

Another closer view of the Grey Man.Can you make him out ?

There are a lot of people about.We think this is the Irish group here on the Merricks lower slopes.

All these burns we cross on this next session,all run into the Buchan burn.The going's quite squelchy and sticky.I ended up on my backside a couple of times,and i wasn't the only one.

Here's a strange looking outcrop of rock,set against the long flowing slopes of Benyellery.

Now we reach the forest edge which will take us through to the Buchan Loop.Here we take a short welcome break.It's suggested i go stand up on Benyellery ridge for a nice profile picture.Maybe another day Eh!

Oh no ! Not the damn camera again.
Another damp stretch having to avoid muddy pools and springy tree branches.Through the occasional clearings in the forest we get views back over to Buchan Hill... looks quite impressive.So that's the Buchan Ridge from below.

And now we're out of the forest and the going is much easier.Here we're approaching the Culsharg Bothy...

...where we take another welcome break.

Here at the bothy is a carved stone rescued from the burn and built into a commemorative cairn.It has an informative plaque alongside.

This is the beginning of the main walkers route up to the Merrick.I've seen this view a number of times on the internet.It's good to take one myself.

The tumbling Buchan burn...
...keeps us company on our last stretch back to Bruces Stone.
I'm fairly exhausted,but a good nights sleep will sort that out.
My back operation appears to have been very successful.I just need to get my fitness levels up a bit.
This was a brilliant walk.


  1. Well done Jim, I wasn't sure that you'd be doing this walk, pleased you did, I love to check the blog. There are always such wonderful pictures. We were going to come along but we'd tried the standard route earlier in the week and got as far as half way up Benyellary, it was much too windy. We did Loch Trool instead on Saturday morning. Unfortunately we're home now but back there at the end of May. Keep them blogs coming.
    Jayne xx

  2. Thanks Jayne,if i'd stuck to my original plan,i might have bumped into you good folk.As it turned out,i'm sorry i missed you,but glad i did the walk.I'll be up Loch Enoch again before the summers out.It's a fabulous place.


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