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Monday, 4 January 2010

A Frosty Sunday Walk

It's Sunday the 3rd of January 2009.A good nights sleep,and i'm up early.I decide to accompany a small group of walkers including ramblers, that often walk on a Sunday.I've always turned down the invites i've had for these walks, having heard how strenuous and unpredictable they can be.
It's a beautiful frosty morning as the sun comes up,with the moon still high in the sky.

Waiting in the Riverside Car Park for the others i take a few pictures of the Cree.The volume of water is well down,and if the present freeze continues i've a vision of walking across.

With the A714 still having a lot of ice,it's a very steady drive that gets us to Stroan Bridge at Glentrool where we'll start walking.
We number seven,and are soon on the way.We retrace the trail we took last Saturday.There's a lot more icicles around the Spout Head Waterfall this week.

With clear views across to Larg,Lamachan and Curleywee,we descend to follow the main tarmac road to Bruces Stone.There's very little tarmac showing,it's more like an ice sheet,but we eventually reach Bruces Stone.

As this friendly Robin keeps us company,our walk leader outlines the next section of the walk.
We'll walk up the Buchan Burn to gain some height before crossing over onto the Buchan Ridge.
The burn is a patchwork of ice and snow as we head upwards.
A particularly scenic spot is chosen for the lunch stop.
A desecending skier says he's had an enjoyable day.
Back on the move,and the burn takes on an arctic look in places.
Now we approach the bothy at Culsharg,with Benyellery behind.
Our walk leader surveys the land across to the back of the Buchan Ridge,and decides it's probably too rough a terrain.We'll head up Benyellery,and leave it to each individual how far he climbs,since we'll descend on the same path.We're about seven miles out from our start point now.
Passing Culsharg we emerge through the trees on the lower slopes of Benyellery.There's a few ski trails visible.
The snow's very deep in parts,and somehow we've lost the trail.It's only about fifty yards to our left and is regained by a trudge through deep and uneven snow.Unflattering pictures of ladies waist deep and falling over will remain off this blog as long as they don't cross me.Hehe!
I think i can say without contradiction that i'm the heaviest member of this group,and I'm finding it a struggle on this incline and the deep footholes.I've a strong feeling that i'll fail to reach the summit.
Reaching the drystane dyke that leads to the summit,i stop for a drink.I've decided i'm going no further,and inform the rest i'll begin heading down after a break.
I know i could have carried on,but would i have got back to Stroan Bridge.I know my limitations,and after admiring the views over to Ailsa Craig,Arran and beyond,and watching the rest continuing the slow climb to the summit i started heading down.
The sun's low in the sky as i descend.Passing Culsharg,i thought about stopping in the bothy till they arrived back here.On second thoughts i continued on in the belief they wouldn't be far behind.It's almost dusk as i reach the Buchan burn,so i'm taking it really carefully on the slippery slopes.
The sun's well down as i reach Bruces Stone and Loch Trool.
Now comes the long slippery road back to Stroan Bridge.As night falls the stars come out in their multitudes.I keep glancing upwards and watching for any activity.Being such a clear night,any aircraft are instantly noticable.
Finally back at Stroan Bridge,i await the return of the others.I see three shooting stars in the twenty minutes it takes(It's easy to see how we achieved Dark Sky Status).
The first person i see,is a young man from Gatehouse who'd spent the night atop the hills(I was in HM Forces,40+ years ago when i last did that).He tells me the others aren't far behind,they'd asked him to look out for me.
The rest of the group are pleased to see i'm back.
It's another hard frost tonight,and once the vehicle windscreens are de-iced we say our goodbyes and head home.The car i'm in registers a temperature outside of -8 degrees.
Today was probably a bit more than this body can handle.The walk out was ok.It was the long walk home that was the OD.
A stone less in weight is what i'm striving for,but it's taking a long time.
Today though,scenic wise, was absolutely brilliant.


  1. Looks amazing, Jim, but be careful! I read today there was a serious accident on the A75 near Glenluce.

    I do enjoy your blog; my father was born in Portpatrick and my family are all from round there.

    With best wishes from Edinburgh.

  2. That is a belter of a moon shot!I,ve tried to take pictures of the moon at dusk before now but I bow down in front of that one.What a Gem. bob.

  3. Thanks Mark,great to hear from you.
    As well as a prolific blogger,I see you're a prolific photo taker as well,so I've added you as contact on Flickr.I'll have to get over to see my 92 year old aunt in the Braeburn Home for the Elderly soon.

  4. Thanks for the compliment Bob,One of these days i'll get up early enough to catch a sunrise at the Isle of Whithorn.

  5. Ah yes, Jim, but I had to stop using flickr a while back. I use Facebook for it now.

  6. And i mainly use Picasaweb albums now Mark.I came off Facebook a while back.My life's quite an open book,but Facebook went beyond that with me.

  7. I agree with blueskyscotland, absolutely amazing moon pic. I can't believe you walked all that way in all that snow! x


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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