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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Walkfest-The Glenkens-Polmaddy to Kenbridge

Tuesday the 10th of May and I'm away on another festival walk.
The description below is from the Walkfest website.

 The Glenkens Polmaddy to Kenbridge
 Distance: 18km
£ 10
 Ascent: 400m
Ref 5-2
Route Summary
This is another first for Walkfest, walking the length of the Glenkens. This walk, which is mostly on way-marked paths, offers a full day in the lovely district of Glenkens, renowned for its Covenanters, wildlife and one of Scotland's earliest hydroelectric schemes. The route, which starts at Polmaddy, follows the Black Water Burn to join the Southern Upland Way at Butterhole Bridge. After crossing open moorland and pasture fields providing views across to the Rhinns of Kells, we leave the Southern Upland Way at St John's Town of Dalry and climb to the viewpoint of Mulloch Hill to enjoy the vista of the Ken Valley before descending to the Kenbridge Hotel.
Map OS Explorer 318 and 320

Newton Stewart Walking Festival

After registration at the WRDC office we board the bus to take us to Polmaddy.
Also on the bus is the group who are booked to climb Corserine.
A run up the Queensway to New Galloway where we pick up our walk leader Bob Peace,ex policeman and member of the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.
Mountain Rescue
After being dropped off at Polmaddy,we begin the walk alongside the Water of Deugh through the Carse of Dundeugh.A red squirrel and a colourful caterpillar are spotted.
The path has a lot of overhanging branches,so progress is initially quite slow.
It's quite a dreich morning so I'll not get too many good pictures.
We're a group of 25.

After a glimpse of the Kendoon Power Station we turn north following the Water of Ken till we reach Glenhoul Bridge.

It's an old bridge,but has a fairly new memorial stone at one end.We couldn't quite make out the name,but the middle one was Alexander.Perhaps a covenanters memorial ?

Bob is a knowledgeable guide and imparts information about the Hydro schemes and the Covenanters.

Reaching the dam on the Water of Ken we turn east over a boggy area to reach the tarmac road at Blackwater
The prefabricated corrugated building was once the accommodation for the dam builders.It then became a youth hostel and is currently unused.

After crossing the Blackwater bridge,we continue east following the Black Water.

We pass a beautiful double drop waterfall known as Chapel Linn.

The path  continues to follow the Black Water.It's understandable that bog cotton flourishes.
After three or four kilometres of occasionally boggy moorland we reach Butterhole Bridge.

Here we join the Southern Upland Way and change direction to head south.
We have our first lunch break along here.

Once we're on the move again it's more of the same damp moorland.There's a settlement marked on the map,but our leader tells us he's never seen any signs of it.There is though close by a "Hut Platform" which stands out quite prominently.We reach the Earlstoun Burn.
Accompanying us on today's walk is the Galloway Kite Trail Community Liaison Officer,Callum MurrayHe's identifying bird calls and keeping an eye out for his Red Kites.

As the day moves along so the weather improves.
Behind us Cairnsmore of Carsphairn is now clear of cloud and easily recognisable.
Deciduous trees and cattle mean we must be closing in on civilisation.That's a Sweet Chestnut tree above in the above picture.

After rounding Ardoch Hill we stop for a second break.The women outnumber the men today.Talking to today's walkers they've come from near and far.
Amongst those I talked to were people from Melrose,Leeds,Hull,Essex and Glasgow.
A London Underground Controller is up for his fourth Walking Festival.

On the move again we've a long downhill stretch taking us into Dalry.
(To the uninitiated St John's Town of Dalry is known locally as plain Dalry,pronounced Dal Rye and not Dawlry)

It's a very historic,neat and tidy village.
Here's a link to it's Undiscovered Scotland page.
St John's Town of Dalry

Out of the village we begin to climb again.It's much brighter now.

We're climbing Mulloch Hill for it's panoramic views.It's only 170 Mtr's so it's not a hard climb.

While Bob's setting his camera up for a group photo I take this one...

The trig point has a flush bracket and lovely all round views.Bob identifies all visible hills.There's a nice view over Loch Ken.

The descent takes us down to Boatknowe where we join the riverside footpath.

A tall standing stone and a pair of Clydesdales were amongst the points of interest. 

Various plants and the continuing life in a dead tree were pointed out by Callum our wildlife man.

And finally the walk end at the Ken Bridge Hotel where welcome refreshments were taken.

The bus home was delayed due to a blister developing within the group of Corserine climbers....................................................................... 

...............but plenty of colour around the hotel to photograph.

An accurate pedometer measured the distance as 12.14 miles.
I'm coping better with these mid distance walks nowadays.
A very enjoyable walk in good company.


  1. Jim, your walks are always very interesting! I have to wonder if I could keep up with you folks on a walk! Thanks for sharing your awesome photos & your journeys through a beautiful country!

  2. I know many parts of that walk we started one day at the disused youth hostel and walked a part of the SUW.

  3. While some folk want to walk fast Michael we generally go at a reasonable pace.A few of us like to take pictures and that slows them down.No walk leader worth his or her salt will abandon a walker.

    I remember reading your blog Slew (Gordon).

    You've quickly overtaken me in covering the countryside of South West Scotland.
    See you Saturday.

  4. this looks like a wonderful route to wander, walk and explore! I love the photos of people taking a break on the grassy knoll, they look like unique flowers sprouting out of the earth.

    Your blog looks wonderful!

  5. It would be interesting talking to such a mixed group of people.Most of the hillwalking clubs in Glasgow struggle to attract new members as the younger ones seem to either not go out on the hills or arrange to meet themselves through social networking sites.
    You must be doing something right in the Southwest Jim.

  6. I see what you mean. I left a comment on this post and it is now gone. I just had to re-post my latest (yesterdays post). Your comment is the first to come in sense yesterday morning. At least our entire blogs did not disappear.

    Looks like you all had a wonderful time. I look forward to sometime walking in these wonderful places that you explore!


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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