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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Glenapp to Stranraer Coastal 2009

Saturday the 14th of November 2009.
Todays walk is fairly new and is the Lochryan coastal path from Glenapp to Stranraer.
We're meeting at the Stena Car Park in Stranraer.I get a lift over with a fellow rambler.
I'm kind of cheating with todays blog.As i've done previously when i've written the press report,i've just copied and pasted sections of the write up to my blog.
A wet and windy morning saw thirteen ramblers board the 9.55 to Ayr bus at Port Rodie.They disembarked at Glenapp Church,the walk start.

Opened on the 7th of August 2009 and known as the Lochryan coastal path,this eleven mile walk joins up with the Ayrshire coastal path and is an initiative of the Rotary Club of Stranraer.
The walk traverses the estates of Glenapp and Lochryan.

A steady climb saw the walkers gaining height till they were able to look back down to Glenapp Church and the rhododendrons on the opposite hill.
There are ten information boards along the route highlighting present and historic points of interest,the first one being the story of Elsie Mackay.
Elsie Mackay, was the third daughter of the 1st Earl of Inchcape, and was killed in 1928 when her plane crashed while attempting to make the first east to west crossing of the Atlantic.
The rhododendrons at one time spelled out the name 'Elsie'.Now overgrown, there's a rumour that the 4th Earl of Inchcape,Kenneth Peter Lyle Mackay may have the name back in glorious colour .

Now as the path levelled out they crossed the March Burn and headed onto Haggstone Moor.
Overlooking Finnarts Bay.

Although the weather was occasionally wet and blustery,views opened up across to the North Rhins and Northern Ireland.Torr Head and Fair Head on the Antrim Coast were picked out,as was the chimney of Kilroot power station in Belfast Lough.The outline of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre could just be made out.
This would be a trickle in the summer.
The view over to Altygunnach Glen.Note the Doo'cot.

The regular sailings of Stena and P & O ferries were a dominant feature of this walk.

Crossing the Alqhit Burn and the Old Park of the Gleick they reached the Galloway Burn.This marks the county boundary of Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.
Due to the recent rain,most of the burns were in spate and crossing them required care and attention.Many of them had stepping stones,but often the water flowed over them.Luckily most walkers had good waterproof boots.One unlucky walker managed a sit down,luckily in the shallow end.

A steady incline fetched them to the top of Little Laight Hill,where beside the well preserved WWII gun site, is a standing stone – the “Taxing Stane”, said to commemorate the murder in Glenapp in 741 AD of Alpin, King of the Scots of Dalriada.

We've been here before,back on April the 18th.
Finnarts Bay Cairnryan walk-April 2009

Here's a view of some sheep...Oh! and some lovely ladies.

Next they began to descend on the Old Coach Road passing the remnants of the military camp.
There was a substantial troop detachment here.All along this coastline are remnants of bygone days.

On reaching the woods at Lairds Hill ,lunch was taken.
Here the walk leader and deputy passed round and read out newspaper cuttings with reference to Dumfries and Galloway councils over the top concerns regarding health and safety on this route.

Lunch and laughter over the walkers headed down the Bonny Braes looking towards the Lochryan lighthouse,built in 1847 by Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Now they reach Cairnryan where the information board explained some of the naval history of the port.For a period after the war the port was used to load redundant ammunition into barges for dumping at sea. Later ship-breaking became the main industry and many well known RN ships including HMS Valiant, HMS Eagle, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Bulwark were broken up.
The ramblers stop to admire this interesting graveyard enclosure.
Two Stena ferries pass,as the P and O prepares to embark.

Passing the ferry terminal the group then rejoined the path along the shore.

The sun appears.

Reaching Leffnol Point and the ruins of railway buildings and sidings,one of the senior walkers recalled the days when the Cairnryan Military Railway was at it's peak and hundreds of carriages ran up and down the lines.
Leffnol point was also the start of a medieval earth and stone boundary wall, called the "Diel's Dyke" and ran through the Galloway Hills, to Annan.

Upon reaching the Beoch burn the walkers reached an insurmountable obstacle-the burn was too heavy in spate to be crossed.

This meant a detour back towards Leffnol to join the A77,which they then followed to Dalminnoch.Here overlooking Rock McGibbon a short break was taken before starting the last section of the walk.

The path now heads over fields towards Innermessan.I seem to get at least one rainbow a walk these days.

Below on the shoreline stand the ruins of a shipyard dating from WWI,kept in use until the 1950s.

Reaching Innermessan the group learn from the information board that it's one of the oldest recorded sites in the district.

The motte which is located on a pudding-shaped hill was built in Norman times as the base for a wooden fortification to control the local population.

Now the walkers head back to the A77 and join the footpath running alongside.This takes them to the picnic area at Low Balyett where the shore path is then rejoined.

The sun is now low in the sky,the tide is out.There's a fair variety of birds on Lochryan.Among those spotted were a heron,herring gulls,noisy oystercatchers,and a variety of swans including a black one(It's probably not a black swan,more likely just a late developer,but it'll do for the papers).
At Bishop Burn bridge the path along the sea wall takes the group back to the ferry terminal and the walk end.
The weather improved on the latter half of the walk.With long spells of sunshine,wonderful views and very informative information boards,this was a very satisfying walk.It's likely to become very popular.

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