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Monday, 3 January 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Cairngaan January 2011

Our first walk of 2011.
Todays walk leader is the Weaver aka Spinning Jenny.
I've made reference before to her style of prose when writing walk reports for the local press.
Because her report creates more colourful images in the mind,I'll just be copying and pasting her words in this post.Perhaps I'll add the odd comment.

Ramblers’ walk January 2nd 2011

It was a promising start to the New Year when twenty two members and friends turned out on Sunday for the first of the Ramblers’ January walks, which was to cover the area just north of the Mull of Galloway. The day was cold but clear and dry, with good views all around the Mull and over to the Machars, the Isle of Man and Ireland .

The cars were left at West Cairngaan and the farm track followed to the cliff edge, passing by slowly turning wind turbines and ending in a field newly spread with dung, thus ensuring that all the senses were stimulated on this celebration of the start of another year of walking.

Here the remains of two Iron Age forts were examined, some of many which dot the rocky outcrops along this piece of coast. The deep sea beyond these precipitous cliffs with their weird and wonderful contortions of rock formations, form the graveyard for many shipwrecks, showing just how dangerous the currents are around the Mull .

The cliffs were followed for some distance, crossing barbed wire and electric fences and a swiftly running burn before reaching a farm track once more where a herd of beef cattle and a Simmental bull, over the fence, were greatly admired.

It was overcast for most of the walk,but occasionally the sun would find a small opening creating these downward beams of light.

The Pulinkum Burn

A neat and tidy silage pit.

Cardryne Farm

This building intrigued a few of us.It's of a similar design to what the Americans called Quonset huts.Perhaps our walk leader will enlighten me since there's one at Cairngaan as well ?

Above is two of the same picture of the Isle of Man.I squashed the bottom one for effect.

East Muntloch

Mull of Galloway View

Heading to Glen View

This is more like a Nissen Hut

A quiet road and another farm track took the walkers back round to gain entrance to a hidden wood in the Auchie Glen. The undergrowth was clear, fallen leaves providing a thick mulch with no signs yet of any early spring shoots.

Once out of the glen the Mull road was reached and the Barracks Bridge crossed. In days gone by this area was the temporary home of soldiers sent to end the smuggling trade which was rife all along this coast.

The Kirk Burn led to Portankill beach, passing by the remains of old Kirkmaiden church and burial ground, perhaps dedicated to St Catherine, recorded in 1386 but replaced in 1638 by the Kirkmaiden Kirk Covenant. The remains are now little more than grassy banks covering the tumbled foundations stones.

The long awaited lunch was taken by a tranquil sea washing the beach of smooth pebbles, giving a pleasant background to the welcome rest.

The next leg of the walk took the party through gorse bushes up onto the cliffs overlooking Luce Bay , again with good views across to the Isle of Whithorn and the Isle of Man.

There was a short stop to examine, from above, St Medan’s Cave, a small aperture at the base of cliffs, where Medana, the daughter of an Irish king took refuge, before again fleeing from an unwanted suitor, and floating on a rock across Luce Bay to Monreith.There's more to read on this legend here Kirkmaiden Church and here A Patron Saint

Moving on to East Tarbet the Mull road was recrossed. The rusty cylinder which was once washed from a passing container ship was noted to have deteriorated just a little more since the last visit here, resting on the rocky shore of West Tarbet .

This is the Mull Glen

Now the way back to the start led once more along the cliffs bordering the North Channel .

 Near to the shore a school of dolphins or porpoises were spotted, tumbling over in the water giving the briefest of glimpses of black dorsal fins, which in turn gave the walkers much excitement and discussion. This was a great finale to a walk which was concluded with tea and cakes back at the farm.Thanks to the walk leader for such a sumptuous spread of seasonal fare.

The ramble for Saturday 8th January is an 8mile, A- hill walk to the Rig of Jarkness, Craiglee and Loch Dee. Meet for car sharing at Breastworks, Stranraer 9am, Riverside , Newton Stewart 9.30am or Bruce’s Stone car park 10am. For further details or if going to the start please phone walk leader 01671 820527. New members are very welcome.

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