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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Loch Doon and Forest Drive

Monday the 20th of June

I took myself out for a run north today.After a drive through Straiton and Dalmellington, I dropped down to the northern end of the Galloway Forest Park and Loch Doon.

A bunny rabbit was the first thing to catch my eye.I've seen lots of rabbits this week,are they becoming immune to myxo ?
Now I see a big house.I'll have to find out what I'm looking at here.

This is it a bit closer.I did find out a bit more,first from Brian Meechan who runs the Roundhouse (next picture),then from the internet.
Craigengillan house was built by the McAdam family and stayed in the family until 1999.
 John Loudon MacAdam invented 'Tarmac' aka 'Asphalt' road surfacing in 1756.
At the turn of this century the estate was bought by Mark Gibson,a wealthy chartered surveyor.There's a video clip from the BBC here.Craigengillan on Landward

After driving over the dam, I see renovation work going on at the Roundhouse.I had a long conversation with the proprietor Brian Meechan who kindly gave me an excellent Doon Valley brochure pack produced by East Ayrshire council.It's a bit far from Stranraer,but If we can make it to Stinchar Bridge,then there's walks here for the Wigtownshire Ramblers.

Ness Glen looks a particularly interesting walk.I'll have a look next time.The start of it though,will let me take a look at the dam.

Built back in 1935 it's in very good condition.There's a very interesting fact sheet from here at Scottish Power

Now I'm moving south from the Roundhouse and I get wonderful views of the loch.

The Doon was the inspiration for Robert Burns 'Ye Banks and Braes'.
"Ye banks and braes o' bonny Doon, 
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair? 
How can ye chant, ye little birds, 
And I sae weary fu' o' care? 
Thou'lt break my heart, thou warbling bird, 
That wantons thro' the flowering thorn: 
Thou minds me o' departed joys, 
Departed, never to return.

Aft hae I rov'd by bonnie Doon, 
To see the rose and woodbine twine; 
And ilka bird sang o' its love, 
And fondly sae did I o' mine. 
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, 
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree; 
And my fause lover stole my rose, 
But, ah! he left the thorn wi' me."

A local poet and blacksmith Robert Hettrick was inspired by Burns when in 1823 he wrote the poem entitled "The Craigs of Ness".

"Doon, issuing from her slumbering bed of rest,
Is downwards through the rocky tunnel prest,
Then dash'd against yon shelvy, pointed rock,
Which, unmolested, stands the furious shock,
And turns the torrent to the other side,
Which, in its turn, resists the furious tide;
Here dashing on the precipices steep:
There boiling in the dreadful caverns deep;
Now madly raging o'er the ragged linn,
Mocking the voice of thunder with its din,
Bathing the margins with the foamy spray;
And thus the tortured waters pass away,
Leaving the caverns, linns and rocks behind,
For banks and channels of a gentler kind,
Where woods and lawns alternate please the eye
Where music swells in ilka leafy grove,
In all the charms of harmony and love
And fair Barbeth stands clad in summer green,
Adds lustre to the wild romantic scene."

I believe both poems refer to the river on leaving the loch,making a trip down Ness Glen a 'must do' soon

It's the largest fresh water loch in the south of Scotland and a tarmac road runs along it's western edge.It's fairly quiet today.

Next comes Loch Doon Castle.It must have been quite a task to move it stone by stone from the island it was on originally.They left quite a bit on the island.I had a good look round.

After passing the tearoom at Craigmalloch,I'm leaving the loch,I'm heading west.I take to the forest road alongside Carrick Lane flowing into Loch Doon.

I've photographed some colourful wild flowers today.

My next stop is by the dam on Loch Riecawr,there are signs that there might have been a garden here once.

Anyone know what this beauty is ?

Another stop further along Loch Riecawr gets me this panorama.

I've noticed one or two of these cabins in this end of the forest park,I can only assume they're for hire from the forestry commission.They're in good condition from the outside.

Upon reaching the southern corner of Loch Braddan I'm at the end of the forest drive.
I exit onto the Straiton road at the Stinchar Bridge.
It's been a good day.


  1. Jim, looks like the perfect day out! I love the castle & the green rolling hills & creeks! Awesome blog!

  2. You were trespassing in my neck of the woods. When you want to do Ness Glen give me a call please it is well worth a visit .I blogged this area back in February under "Glenmount at Loch Doon"

  3. It's no wonder Robert Burns waxed lyrically about it Michael,it is poetic countryside.

    Gordon,it was your blog and recent ramble that got me over there.Doing a Google image search for Ness Glen brings up some brilliant pictures.It reminds me a bit of Cladagh Glen in Fermanagh and that's fantastic.

  4. gorgeous post...
    landscapes, wild flowers, gorgeous buildings! thank you for all of it.

  5. Cheers for that Jim.We are always looking for new areas to visit as well.Think the beauty might be related to the Aquilla family if its around 2 feet tall.Used to have something like that in my garden years ago though a different colour.

  6. Proper name Aquilegia from the latin for eagle.See what you think yourself though Jim, there is a likeness..I,ve just looked it up.Wow!Even dummies like me can appear smart thanks to the internet:)

  7. Just beautiful.. Gorgeous as always.

    Thank you so very very much !!!!!



  8. Thanks to the bonniest lassies from Montana and Alberta for visiting and saying wonderful things.
    My poor geography has never equated Alberta,Canada and Montana USA on the same map,but I've just discovered you are neighbours.
    The folks in Swan Hills and Calgary keep asking when I'm coming again to visit.When I do I'll have to take a trip over the state line.

    Cheers Bob,I think you're right about the flower also known as Columbine or Granny's Bonnet.
    Ness Glen is apparently suitable for white water kayaking.Ideal for you and Alex !


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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