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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Knockdolian July 2010

Note:-Most of the text accompanying the pictures is the report I've written for the press.
This being a popular walk with the ramblers explains why we regularly revisit.
November 2008 walk
November 2009 walk

Saturday 24th of July 2010.

With many ramblers still on holiday,a reasonable turn out of 16 walkers met at Ballantrae shore carpark for the start of the walk to Knockdolian Summit.The day was slightly overcast with occasional glimses of the sun.

I took this picture on an earlier recce.

They began by heading south through the village and passing the ruins of Ardstinchar Castle.
Now they took to the riverside path of the Stinchar between the old and new road bridges and the renovated 18th century cottage.

Slew's getting to know this area like the back of his hand.As well as walking with us today,he walks this area regularly with the Ayr groups.

Since I'm leading the walk my opportunities for taking pictures are limited,so I take what I can when I can.

A variety of birds and wild flowers were noted on this one kilometre stretch of riverside path.A large grey heron was one of three spotted on the walk.

The end of this riverside walk took them back on to the road running north east for the next two kilometres.
Anyone know what this is ?

Update(I've just been informed by the groups resident zoologist/botanist/ornithologist/malacologist/naturalist and all round knowledgeableist that it's a bell flower.How right she is.It's a Nettle Leaved Bell Flower,though they're not usually white.On reflection it's obvious I suppose !)

Passing the ruins of the substantial mansion at Balnowlart the group were later to learn it had been built in 1905, decaying very quickly after having been abandoned.

I'm a little jealous of the person who's uploaded the pictures on this link
This, I'd loved to have done.

Reaching the plantation below Macherquat they again took to a riverside path.This path having been less frequented meant the undergrowth was thicker,so progress was slowed slightly.
Patches of wild flowers added lots of colour.
Now they reached Finnarts Holm via a short but muddy section of path and a wooden stile.

Looks like a Cleg to me
I flattened one after it'd been chewing away at my arm.

A short but stiff climb and scramble through the woods fetched them back to the road close to Finnarts cottage.

Now they began the climb to the summit.The first part took them around the edge of a recently planted field of forage turnips.Now they reached a gate leading onto the heather and moor of the higher slopes.

Progress up the steeper sections was varied but the summit was eventually reached by all walkers.
The group now had a lunch break just below the trig point in the shelter of some rocks.

A first Knockdolian climb for this rambler.

Appetites having been slaked and thirsts having been quenched a member of the group (Slewtrain) with much local knowledge now pointed out landmarks and views.

Although hazy,Ireland,The Mull of Kintyre,the Ayrshire coastline and the Galloway hills were all easily identified.

The descent began by retracing the path to the gate on the northern saddle.

From here they overlooked Colmonell,the Iron Age Duniewick Fort,and the Knockdolian Estate.
Continuing the descent they now reached a mini obstacle course.This meant going under a fence through a shallow river bed followed by a climb over a wooden fence.An audience of sheep seemed intrigued by the goings on.

Now the walkers reached the road just above the ruins of the 16th century tower house Knockdolian Castle.A little further north stood Knockdolian House, a large mansion built in 1842 for the MacConnels,and now the property of the Duchess of Wellington.

Now the group took the track through the woods behind the ruined castle steadily making their way back to the riverside.

As soon as Curly saw an easy path to the river,she was soon cooling herself.
I've a feeling a few of todays bipeds would have liked to join her.

A short break by some fishermens huts allowed some of the walkers to observe a mighty leap by what was probably a sea trout in excess of 16 inches in length.
This was a stroll for some of our more serious ramblers.A few of them are heading off this week on a trekking trip to North East India.Have a great trip folks.

Now the group retraced their outward route back to Ballantrae, arriving back in a timely fashion before the rain arrived.

This nice house looks empty.I've said I'll buy it and turn it into a hostel exclusively for ramblers.I need to get some money first...better check that lottery ticket !

The village is colourful today.Ballantrae,like a few other local villages are holding their summer fete.

Tea and cakes were enjoyed at the garden centre.
Knockdolian is always a satisfying walk.Not over strenuous,wonderful views and always great company.

1 comment:

  1. Some excellent pictures there Jim :)

    Knockdolian must be one of Scotlands unsung gems...


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