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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Finnarts Bay to Cairnryan June 2011

It's Saturday the 11th of June 2011.Today's walk takes in much of what we've walked in the past.
November 2009
April 2009

I'm writing the press report,so as usual it'll double as a blog post.
So here we are.

Wigtownshire Ramblers Walk Report

11th June 2011

A lovely sunny morning saw twenty walkers gather at the north car park of Cairnryan to await a bus to Finnarts Bay.Two walkers already on the bus swelled the group to twenty two.

After disembarking, they now took the road leading to the disused Pinney's Fish Factory.

The fish factory was in the news back in 2001 after six workers pocketed a cool £1.1 million each in the national lottery.

After crossing the old bridge that takes the Water of App into Loch Ryan they now followed a farm track through Finnarts Farm.

Next they stopped to view a doocot once associated with Finnarts.Finnarts was a 16th-century mansion house which had an enclosed, planted park by the late 18th century. Around 1930 Finnarts was absorbed into the Glenapp Castle estate. The house was demolished soon after.
They continued on past Altygunnach Glen, recrossing the Water of App and the A77 to Glenapp Church.

Here a surprise awaited the group.Today's walk leader had arranged a visit into the church where Mr Munro Clark told the story of the Honourable Elsie Mackay, Lord Inchcape's pioneering aviatrix daughter.

They were shown old photographs, the guest book of the church's re-opening after the installation of Elsie Mackay's memorial window, and newspaper cuttings.

They also learned of the book "West over the Waves - The story of Elsie Mackay",which featured on BBC's Radio 4 in 2008.

After thanking Mr Clark the group now braved the traffic on the A77 for a short distance before turning into the track leading up towards Wee Leith Hill.

A steady climb saw the walkers gain height till they were able to look back down to Glenapp Church and the rhododendrons on the opposite hill.The rhododendrons once spelled out Elsie, and it's still possible to make out the odd letter.

The sun was still shining as they took a track through the coolness of the forest at Low Mark.

After emerging from the forest they followed the drystane dyke running along the edge of the plantation till they were above Old Park of the Gleick where lunch was taken.

The lunchtime views in the sunshine were far reaching.To the south was the Isle of Man,to the west, the Antrim coast, Donegal and the Mull of Kintyre were prominent.Ferry traffic was non stop.

After lunch they continued south crossing the Galloway burn, the small wooden bridge signifying the border between Ayrshire and Wigtownshire.

An abundance of wild flowers, too numerous to mention, were identified along the route.At one point, wild orchids flourished in numbers.

Next they reached the Taxing Stone on Little Laight Hill.
Believed to be a toll point, the standing stone also marks the burial-place of Alpin the King of Dalriada and father of Kenneth McAlpine, King of the Scots, killed in 741 in Glenapp.

Here also they looked around the remnants of the ww2 Laight Gun Battery.It's remains are fairly intact with the gun mountings still in place.

Above an aerial view from Google Earth  

Laight Taxing Stone and gun battery

They now continued downhill, passing the still prominent foundations of the army billets before stopping to look over the new Stena terminal and jetty, still under construction.

We were discussing whether this was a dredger or a scallop boat because we couldn't get as close a view until I'd enlarged it on the computer.A closer look shows it to be a Londonderry dredging tug boat.

Now the road down the Bonny Braes brought them back to Cairn Point, the cars, and the end of a lovely walk.

The next walk, on the 18th of June will be a circular B+ grade walk of 9 miles to the summit of Cairnsmore of Fleet by the Door.

Meet at the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.00am, the Riverside car park Newton Stewart at 9.30am for car sharing, or at the walk start at Cairnsmore Car Park (NX 464 632) at 10.00am.

New members are always welcome, for more information or if going to the walk start, contact the walk leader on 01671 401222


  1. A very familiar walk except for your visit to Glenapp Church I would really have enjoyed that part and would have learnt a lot.

  2. those photo's of the orchids are incredible. you've captured the gorgeous patterns on them so crisply and perfectly. amazing.

    also. elsie! were those rhododendrons planted after she died? it would have been so wonderful for her to see. a lovely way to remember her though.

  3. It's a fascinating story Gordon,you already know quite a bit about it.
    I might part with the £6.50p to get a copy of this book.

    Thanks Sez,I love our wild orchids here.
    The rhododendrons were planted after she'd gone missing as a memorial.

  4. I have never seen those orchids, they are lovely as can be. Something delicate lacy and sweet about them. I just love wild orchids.

  5. Tammie,I think they're Heath Spotted Orchids -Dactylorhiza maculata.

    They were once only found on Scotland's Western Isles,but have obviously made it to the mainland on the wind.Quite prolific in Nordic countries

  6. Jim, I see new members are welcome, well I surely would love to join you folks on your journeys if you were not so far away!!! It's so beautiful in your part of the world..

  7. A wonderful looking walk altogether! I am going to have to get myself out of the studio and get back into walking more, your posts always leave me inspired & wanting to get my walking boots on right away ;-) I should love to see the standing stone that marks the burial-place of Alpin the King of Dalriada!

  8. Michael,we'd love to have you.
    Your comment however led me to this page on the net.
    There's plenty for women and dogs but I like the look of the Calgary Nature Lovers Hiking Meetup.
    Maybe if I get back to Calgary I'll join them for a hike.

    Ruthie,I had a nice look around the Red Den Studio yesterday and took an instant liking to your 'Sea Perch'.It now sits with my other favourite pieces in my front window.Jean was ever so friendly and welcoming.

  9. Jim, sorry i missed you! next time. Great to hear that "sea perch" has gone to a good home, thank you, glad to hear Mom made you welcome too ;-)

  10. Interesting post as always Jim.Have you ever done the walk from Finnarts Bay round finnart,s hill and turf hill?Not a bad scenic walk and you get a surprise dwelling at the end of the track in a little bay:0)Nuff said.

  11. Hi Bob,I've been round some of that stretch past the rope bridge and along to the crags.
    The ramblers have been twice down to the Inchcape Summer House at Portandea by a different route.I've been the once
    It keeps getting vandalised and the Glenapp estate have considered demolishing it.It would be a shame to see it pulled down.

  12. The light has changed... there is a different hue to the space and all you attire has summered-up too. One day...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I'm in total agreement Scarletti.I love the way you express it though.

  15. Glenapp church looks fine - greenery round the door and such a lovey window. Was it open or did you have to make arrangements to see it.

    Taxing stone is very interesting. I always find myself very dubious about sepposed marking places for the graves of people from so far in the past though.

  16. Wow, fascinating! The beauty of nature!!

  17. Heath Spotted Orchids -Dactylorhiza maculata: thanks, I will have to look them up.

  18. Tammie,I'm really a fraud when it comes to identifying wild flowers.
    I walk with some very knowledgeable folk and it's those guys that tell me what they are,or I'll look in my reference book.If I see something often enough it'll finally register in my brain.
    As for the technical names that's where the internet has the edge.I copy and paste.

  19. Very interesting blog I found it while researching a family tree link to Alexander Murry/monument Straiton.

    Mainly because in a book from 1932 it had a pic looking towards Glenapp church, it appeared to have a building that is no longer there. At first I thought it could have been Finnart House which to my knowledge was dismantled stone by stone and shipped to Canada/US? and in a google search your blog showed up. It wasn't Finnart wrong end of the glen I think so I wonder what it was... anyway nice blog oh the flowers a native wild orchids.

  20. Cheers Mook, been looking over your blog and I guess we might have crossed paths at some time or another since we've often been the same places.
    You're obviously quite a professional photographer.You've some brilliant captures on there.
    Bookmarked your page so I'll keep an eye open.

  21. google brought me here again :) I was looking for the leight alpin stone that marked the place of his burial that I read about in a 1932 edition "Galloway the spell of it's hills and glens" between you and minnigaff boy (been a contact of Mark for a year or two) I can almost find out everything i'm looking for cheers

  22. Glad to be of assistance Mook.
    Looking through your post I guess you're up and down the west coast a lot.A fellow rambler started blogging last year, and he's from Ayr.He walks a lot more with the Ayr rambling groups these days.You're likely to bump into him sometime.This is his blog.Keep your eye out for him.
    Gordon's Blog


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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