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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Ballantrae Circular April 2010

Saturday the 10th of April 2010.
Todays walk is very nearly a repeat of one we did in September 2008 which is here.
2008 Walk

Saturday 12th of April

A bright sunny morning saw sixteen walkers gather at Ballantrae Car Park for the walk.

They began by walking south over the river Stinchar,and past the ruins of Ardstinchar Castle.

Across the bridge they turned east following the road running parallel to the river.The hill Knockdolian,a favourite climb of many of the walkers loomed large over the Stinchar.

At Laggan Holm on a freshly whitewashed cottage an intriguing old advertisement plate showed
'Wills Cigarettes' at ten for threepence.

A group of four fallow deer crossed the track in front of us,and scarpered up through a hill of sheep.I got one hazy picture which i'm not putting up.

After passing Laggan Dairy they came to the estate lodge house.Here they took the track up to Laggan House Holiday Park.Alterations were taking place the last time the group were here.Now complete,the walk through the woods and park was much nicer and less muddy on this occasion.

Emerging at Herensford at the southern entrance they now headed south on the road overlooking Glen Tig and the Water of Tig. The golden yellow of varying varieties of daffodils lined much of the roadside,and were a prominent feature throughout the walk.

They continued south before leaving the main road opposite Auchenflower.

After crossing the Laurie burn the tarmac changed to farmtrack and open fields.Many of the fields were active with the bleating sounds and endearing sight of new born lambs and their mothers.

Next they came to Crailoch where views back to the coast opened up.
A panorama of Ireland,Ailsa Craig,the Mull of Kintyre and the snow capped peaks of Arran was an impressive sight.

We watched this sheep and lamb for a while.The lamb was unsteady on it's feet,and not yet marked with a number.The mother looked like she might give birth to a twin,but if she did it was after we'd left.

After crossing the tumbling Crailoch burn,they reached the tree lined track that was the old drovers road.Reaching a crossroads,the walk leader pointed out that this was the old road from Ballantrae to New Luce.It's still in use as a cycle and walking track.
We couldn't have had a nicer day.
Is there a new dance step I wonder.Wasn't there once one called the 'Foot Stomp'
Reaching Kilphin and in sight of the rooftops of the Glenapp Castle Hotel a lunchbreak was taken.By now,the earlier chill had lifted and the sun was high.
When the sun shines there's always lots of joviality.
Thanks to Scoop for the above pictures.

After lunch they continued into Smyrton,stopping at the estate hall and cottage to read a memorial above the hall door to Jean,Countess of Inchscape and her grandson James Lyle Mackay.Colourful front gardens heralded the arrival of spring.

Thanks again to Scoop for catching me in a good light.I think !

Next they crossed the busy A77 and entered the glen and woodlands surrounding Glenapp Castle.
Glenapp Castle was built in 1870 by the celebrated architect David Bryce for James Hunter, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire. Over the years the house fell into a state of disrepair.In April 2000,and having been restored, it opened as an exclusive luxury hotel.

Through trees such as Redwood,Larch and Bamboo,they followed the Smyrton and Kilphin burns downwards crossing wooden bridges and passing tumbling waterfalls.
I seem to be taking a lot of waterfall pictures these days.
I'm not sure if these wooden bridges are designed to stand this much weight !

At the bottom of the glen and close to the Glenapp Castle North Lodge lie the remains of an old grain mill.The walk leader showed the group where water from the burn was originally diverted into a well constructed (though now covered with vegetation) reservoir.A mill stone and moss covered footings are all that remain of what was obviously once an impressive example of civil engineering.

Leaving the estate via the Colling bridge they now headed back towards Ballantrae.A historical standing stone in a garden at Garleffin and the information board of the Kennedy tomb in Ballantrae Churchyard brought a bright and sunny walk to a close.

A good number of walkers enjoyed tea,coffee and cakes at the garden centre cafe.
What great weather for such a scenic walk.
I just hope it continues till next Saturday for Larg and Craignaw.


  1. Another excellent blog James see you on saturday.

  2. Cracking weather all weekend Jim..!
    It makes a world of diference to the days out.
    Good news is that it looks likely to be more of the same next weekend as well.
    My friend needs a new hip so fancies a last day out on the Rhinns of Kells over the next few weeks.Hopefully we`ll get the same good weather..

  3. I hope it lasts till Saturday Alex.I'm leading a walk up Larg Hill.
    Brilliant pictures on your latest blog by the way.


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