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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Cally Woods to Loch Whinyeon February 2011

It's Saturday the 12th of February 2011.
Today's walk is a circular of 12 miles from Cally Woods,Gatehouse of Fleet to Loch Whinyeon.

We total 24 walkers today.
It's a misty morning as we set out from Cally woods,through Galla wood heading for the exit at Robbers Gate.
The snowdrops are just about opening.

Out through robbers gate (highway robbery hasn't ceased yet,has it ?) onto the b727 where we observe this memorial stone.How's this for co-incidence,my mother's mother's maiden name was McGill,and my father's mother's maiden name was Murray.

Crossing the road we begin a gradual climb up towards Disdow and Disdow Wood.

Now we're on forest track and from Gatehouse Hill wood we get a view down to the town.
We could only imagine the views that those walkers who did the recce were recounting to us.
Hopefully the mist will lift.

We continue on the forest road passing above Gatehouse of Fleet golf course where a foursome could be seen looking for balls.

Reaching High Barlay we leave the track and take to the rolling hills.

This is Spike who's recently been incapacitated with a pulled leg muscle.Now he's back with a vengeance.He vaulted the next gate.Not bad for a 72 year old.

Reaching the High Creoch  burn (this should read the Barley burn,my error),fun and frolics ensued.
Me and Spike crossed downstream via an overhanging branch and stayed dry.

Scoop stayed close hoping for a splash.(thanks for the pictures)

We continued along over undulating and sometime squelchy fields and moorland.

A gooey mess caused some speculation of it's origins.No concrete conclusion was reached.(he he)

With today's walk being longer than normal more breaks were to be taken.We stop on the slopes of Grey Hill for this one.

Back on the move we continue northwards.A flock of curious sheep decide we aren't the flavour of the day and retreat.

Thanks to Scoop for the above pictures.

We've reached the High Creoch burn.This is just a stepover so Scoop isn't too bothered this time.

Now we veer to the east over the heathery moors between Dalmalin and Benfadyeon Hills.

Reaching the shores of Loch Whinyeon it's a tussocky squelchy trek through to the weir where we'll have lunch.
It's recorded that the cotton mill in Gatehouse got it's water from here via an ingenious feat of engineering and a tunnel bored through the surrounding hllls westwards.

Here's a passage from 'The Birtwhistles of Craven and Galloway'.

Much of the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th century was financed by profits from the earlier Agricultural Revolution, and it is not surprising to find John Birtwhistle’s attention turning to textile manufacture. He was initially unsuccessful when he approached the Earl of Selkirk for permission to build a cotton mill in Kirkcudbright, but James Murray, the landowner at Gatehouse of Fleet, was more amenable and, in1785, an agreement was reached for John Birtwhistle to build a cotton mill in Gatehouse (NAS GD10/1266). The Gatehouse mill was not driven by the adjacent river Fleet, but by water brought four miles from Loch Whinyeon, the agreement stipulating that Murray would bear the cost of building a water conduit from Loch Whinyeon, provided that Birtwhistle refunded this expenditure if the cotton mill was not set to work by Whitsun 1787. The engineering was ingenious, a tunnel bored through the mountain to take the water from Loch Whinyeon westwards, and the spoil from the tunnel being placed at the east end of the loch to raise its level. The main features of the water extraction at Loch Whinyeon and the tunnel through the mountain may still be seen, together with the decayed and overgrown water conduit which follows the contour across the hillside from Loch Whinyeon to Gatehouse. An attraction of Gatehouse as a site for a cotton mill may have been the amount of power which could be extracted from the water brought from Loch Whinyeon. Many early water driven textile mills in the Pennines were limited by their water sources to an output of 10 horsepower while the Gatehouse waterwheels were capable of producing 55 horsepower. 

The hut wasn't big enough for 24 of us.It would have been fun trying to get us all in though.It soon turned quite cool and previously stripped of tops were again donned.

We're ready for the road again.No one's exactly sure what this cabinet's about.It was suggested it measures sunlight,I suppose that makes sense.

Over to the east is a sight I recognise.I thought I'd blogged my visit to Barstobrick,but it looks like another memory lapse.
The structure is Neilson's Monument.It in memory of  John Beaumont Neilson,the inventor of the 'Hot Blast' method of iron-making.
Kirkcudbright's website has a comprehensive biography of the man here.
James Beaumont Neilson

Now heading generally eastwards more goo is spotted.It's hanging from trees this time.There's lots of it around.Is this some sort of Propolis that bees feed on ?

As we pass the Glengap water treatment plant we notice what looks like a large sawn log.It turned out to be a large lump of moss covered foam that had been discarded.

Ahead of us now are the steep slopes of Dow Craig Hill.We also take a quick look at some 'Rees',as in last weeks walk the Wells of the Rees....drystane walls sheep pens.

Now we reach the rather isolated village of Glengap.It seems the filter station built 1939 and refurbished 1986 is now redundant and will become six self contained flats.I ask myself, that in the present economic climate is that a wise decision ?

Now we're heading in a southerly direction and reach Glengap bridge over the Fullock burn.We take another short break here.

A little further down the road we come to Trostrie and it's Motte.It's a sculpted natural feature.Canmore-Trostrie Motte
That below looks awfully like an old nissen hut.

Not far south of Trostrie we turn along farm tracks to the west.

As we reach the house at Carse of Trostrie we converse with the very pleasant owners.It looks like they have a supply of eggs.

We continue easterly viewing Twyholm down in the valley.I wonder if Mister David Coulthard is in town?

Now heading over Irelandton Moor we reach a section that's a little bit boggy.We had a choice here,and non squelchy walkers came round the track.

Reaching Rig of Cairn we can now see over the Fleet estuary.It's a hazy but beautiful sight.

Townhead Hill brings us back onto tarmac.Myself and Scoop seem to be lagging behind by this time.I wonder why.

Not as good a panorama as I'd hoped. Beyond  the Fleet we can see over to Wigtown Bay and the Machars.I could stay here till it goes dark.

We take a last short stop at Drumwall.A fellow rambler points out some soldiers.A closer inspection shows them to be Roman Warriors (at least I think that's what they are ).

It's not long before we're back at the Robbers Gate and into Cally Woods.

It's been a long,enjoyable and not too difficult walk.Nine of us finish the evening off by dining in the historic Murray Arms. With excellent food,fare,service,great company and a grand walk, it's been a lovely day.


  1. Looks like a lovely day indeed!
    12 miles, my goodness you folks can hike a lot further than I! What was that goo? I don't think I've ever come accross anything like that! Trees dumping excess moisture? Cally Woods monsters?
    Great blog & photos Jim!

  2. I've never eaten in the Murray Arms, I believe it's very good. I've frequently been to the Ship just down the road, also good.

    I take it the cotton mill mentioned in Gatehouse is now the Mill on the Fleet gallery and cafe and wot not.

  3. Thanks Michael,I still have nothing conclusive of what the goo is.I'm sure someone out there will come up with the answer sometime.

    Built in 1788 by John Birtwhistle and now the Mill on the Fleet is correct Sandy.
    I think we'll be back at the Murray Arms,excellent fare.

  4. Looks like another great day out, Jim. I like the way to visit and pay attention to interesting places on your walks. I tend to go straight up and down hills and miss an awful lot.I'll have to start taking a leaf out of your book and paying more attention to the surroundings. All the best, Russell

  5. Great walk! I do love the views from Loch Whinyeon. Even on mist days, it is so beautiful. Ha! you were all almost close enough to drop by for a cuppa ;-)

  6. It was a good day out Russell.
    We too have walkers who just like to press on.This is one of my ways of slowing the walk down to my pace,but don't tell anyone.

    I'm going to have to call into the Redden Gallery sometime when I'm passing Ruthie.I know where you are now.

  7. You will be welcome & we shall put the kettle on! Details of opening will be posted onto the red den studio blog today ;-)


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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