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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-The Merrick-March 2011

It's Saturday the 5th of March.
Today's walk is to the summit of South West Scotland's highest hill,the Merrick.
Stepping in to lead her fourth walk in succession is the stalwart of our group so far this year,it is of course the 'Weaver'.
As I did last week,I'll again use her report where applicable on this post.(She draws better pictures than I do)
There won't be spectacular views today since for most of the walk we were in the mist.(Only a couple of Gorillas)

Ramblers’ report Saturday March  5th 2011

Saturday produced a drizzly morning with mist hanging around the tops of the hills when fifteen ramblers gathered to climb the Merrick .

Leaving the cars by Bruce’s Stone, an inscribed boulder overlooking Loch Trool, commemorating Bruce’s victory over the English here in 1314, the company followed the tourist path up the side of the Buchan Burn.

The burn displayed its usual picturesque bubbly character, bouncing and swirling over rocks and gurgling through pools, a pretty accompaniment to the dreary weather, and rough path. Once gaining the trees the path improved and a pleasant walk to Culsharg Bothy ensued, though now the mist approached and visibility was reduced.
A stop was made at the bothy, once a shepherd’s cottage, to examine a carved boulder which was rescued from the nearby burn and incorporated into a rock pillar in 1983, after being damaged by storms some years earlier. The carving, which was made around 1870, is difficult to make out.

Logging has cleared the area above Culsharg and is still an ongoing operation, with the forestry machines in much evidence.  Here the climb up the steep path, between the remaining trees, began in earnest.

Once above the trees the mist closed in, so that although the new path was clear, a delightful change from the boggy expanse that had to be crossed only a few years ago, there were no views of the hills to be had.

As the ramblers walked blindly on it was therefore a surprise to reach the top of Benyellary seemingly quickly, perhaps because the heights yet to be climbed on this stage of the walk could not be seen, and thus not demoralising those who were finding the gradient taxing.

After lunch by the cairn it was a straightforward walk across the Neive of the Spit, with a bitter cold air penetrating the fingers, and onto the top of the hill where the air became much warmer.
Quite a few walkers were met along the way, with the top cairn shelter already occupied.

Unfortunately the spectacular views to be seen from the summit were missing, but the effort of gaining the top, 843 metres high, was declared to be worthwhile, especially by the three ramblers for whom this was the first time.
Trig Point,Flush Bracket and Lucky Money

Scoop organises the photo shoot.

Leaving the Ordinance survey triangulation point, which displayed a flush bracket to the delight of the collector, the Black Gairy on the north face of the hill was viewed. Here there was a thick cornice of snow glimmering through the mist. This is a favourite place for the ice climbers of Galloway to practice their sport.
The top of the Merrick is hundreds of acres of rough grass, and for a place of such high rainfall, it was very dry, with just one large patch of snow still lying.

The flat top and the path down to Culsharg were uneventfully followed, with the mist still enclosing the ramblers almost until the forest road was reached once more.

A welcome stop for refreshments was taken at Culsharg with some views of the lower hills, though the mist remained on the tops.  It was here that many of the walkers, such as McBain, who first described exploring these hills at the end of the nineteenth century, had comfortable lodgings with the shepherd, his wife and sister. It now seems rather a lot of people to fit into this small cottage.

Only a comparatively short walk from here remained, back down beside the Buchan Burn, to regain the cars. Despite the mist and drizzle the ramblers had once more had a enjoyable walk in congenial company.

Thanks to Scoop for the additional pictures,they're excellent.

 A nice end to the walk was this friendly Robin (It's the same one twice) tapping us up for food.
He got some too.
As the Weaver says above,it was an enjoyable walk in great company.


  1. What a great synopsis of a very enjoyable day!

  2. Its good to have the banter of a big crowd on the hills sometimes. bob.


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