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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Three Hills Walk July 2011

Saturday the 30th of July 2011.
Today's walk is over three hills which we've done previously.
July 2010
With a group of ramblers still away in the Alps numbers are short on the ground.There are thirteen walkers today.(We've heard on the grapevine that it's been raining in the Alps.Read nothing into this,it's just a statement for the record.)
There'll be few words from me concerning this walk.The 'Weaver' is today's walk leader and I'll be copying her report for this post.

Setting off from Kirkdale Bridge (locally pronounced as Kirdle)

Barholm Castle getting a fresh coat of paint

Heading North towards Barholm Hill (top left is a TV star's holiday home)

Ascending Barholm Hill

Views to the Murray,Arwall and Barlocco Isles

Is this a Meadow Pipit ?

The up and down slopes of Barholm hill

Memorial to Philip between Barholm and Ben John
(does anyone know the story behind the memorial ?)

Ascending Ben John

Ben John Summit

Marked stone on cairn

Views from Ben John

Descending Ben John

Mill Knock Ridge

Coming down Mill Knock the bracken thickened as the slope got steeper


Triangular Stone Circle


Cardoness Beach

Mickey and Faith
Mickey and Faith from Bishop Auckland.
Faith spotted the little chapel while searching the internet and decided this was where she wanted to be married.
Her and Mickey duly tied the knot right at this spot back in March.Isn't that a brilliant way to begin married life.
All the best for the future you lovely people.Keep coming back.

Chapel at Cardoness

Dalavan Bay

Exiting beach at Newton Caravan Park

Across the A75 to Laggan

Interesting sign at Court Knowe

Kirkclaugh Equestrian Centre

I took quite a pictures of wildlife and other stuff,so decided to do a musical composition.The music on the following video clip is Winifred Atwell's 'Poor People of Paris'

Ice House and Kirkdale House

For a more observational and detailed account of the walk continue reading.
This is our illustrious walk leader's report.

Ramblers’walk, Saturday 30th July 2011

Thirteen ramblers met on Saturday at the Kirkdale Bridge car park and despite the inauspicious number managed to have a most delightful day’s walk.

A steep road led up past Barholm castle and along towards Claughreid. Frequent stops to point out places of interest were most welcome. The sixteenth century L shaped castle features in Scott’s Guy Mannering, and was once a hiding place for John Knox; the Neolithic chambered cairns at Cairnholy could be seen across Kirkdale glen, and in the distance the whitewashed holiday home of Martin Shaw, nowadays Inspector George Gently, was made out.

Soon the exercise began in earnest as the walkers took to the open hill and made their way, with ever increasing views over the Solway, to the top of Barholm Hill. Some discussion of exactly where the summit was took place before a descent through rough ground to a shooters track where a memorial to Philip was inspected. There is no information available about Philip; indeed it is only conjecture that he was a man.

The track was soon abandoned for a climb once again to a second summit, Ben John, at 337metres the highest point of the day. This time a large cairn marked the spot, with numerous inscriptions scratched on its stones by previous walkers. The sun was hot, the views magnificent and the walkers were ready for a rest, so lunch was eaten whilst the various surrounding countryside features were identified. The sunshine had brought out boats and water-skiers from across the Fleet estuary at Sandgreen and a full tide made their excursions quite extensive, an entertaining view from this perch so high above.

Lunch over and one more peak to go, it was down again through heather and bracken to reach a well built dyke which eventually took the company to the top of Mill Knock. As the hill was climbed a profusion of summer flowers congregated in any grassy space, with sneezewort, thyme, ladies bedstraw and the first open flowers of Grass of Parnassus making a colourful display, contrasting with the bright green of the bracken and the purples of ling and bell heather.

Once over the dyke, which runs across Mill Knock, the going became much rougher for the downward trek. Bracken covers the ground, with hollows and boggy patches making the walking quite adventurous. When at last level ground was reached there was a ford to cross; the many ways the walkers tried to cross whilst keeping their boots dry was quite entertaining.

Standing stones, a triangular stone circle, fenced thickets and Galloway cattle with calves and bull in attendance, made this parkland a welcome change from the rough hills, and the road to Skyreburn was soon reached for a short walk to the Teapot roadside café where the second part of this long walk commenced.

The tide had retreated enough for the ramblers to make their way along a well trodden path through the reeds to suddenly be confronted with a wide sandy beach with water dancing and sparkling as a background. Now some walkers took their boots off for a cooling paddle along the waterline. In contrast to the quiet and lonely hills, the beaches and coves now passed were well frequented by caravanners from the site above. The good weather had brought out the sunbathers and bucket and spade brigade.

The second stop of the day was by Cardoness chapel, a picturesque, tiny building set amongst sessile oaks, above a rock skirted sandy cove. Here, a pearly king and his wife were met with. Married in the spring in this lovely place they had just returned to find their wedding venue even more delightful in the summer. The chapel was built in 1768 by the laird of Cardoness for his wife, and is open for all as a place of quiet prayer and contemplation. An open air service is to be held here on the 7thAugust at 3pm .

The walk continued along the coast, across sandy beaches and over rocky outcrops until the camping site below Newton hill was reached. Here a farm track was followed to cross the busy A75, and the homeward stretch of road took the walkers past Laggan, where a pretty roadside garden has been made, bordering a burn. An hour’s walk along a quiet road, all the while enjoying extensive views over the Solway, reunited the ramblers with their transport below Barholm castle.

It was a weary sunburnt group of walkers who eventually reached the cars, but after leaving the rucksacks they still had enough energy left to visit the beautifully constructed ice house belonging to Kirkdale house, just across the A75 from the car park, and view the front of the 1787 Adam style house, from the field below. It had been a most enjoyable day.

The next walk, on Saturday the 6th of August will be a circular ' B ' grade 'Country and hill walk in Carrick' of 13 Miles from Ballantrae to Beneraird.
Meet at the Riverside car park Newton Stewart at 9.00 am,the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.30 am for car sharing, or at the walk start at Ballantrae Cemetery Car Park (NX 087 814) at 10.00am.
New members are always welcome, for more information or if going to the walk start, contact the walk leader on 01776 700707


  1. I visited the standing stones at Lagganmullan a few months ago looking for cup and ring markings on the OS map. Strange I thought that there should be unmarked standing stone and a circle(ish). A bit of a delve reveals that a farmer in much more recent history (I'm not sure when - I couldn't find out more) is responsible for puttung them up. The markings in the next field though are very real and ancient I'm sure.

  2. Wonderful photos as usual. I notice the farmer managed a Saturday walk perhaps in preparation for next week. Enjoy your holiday and I will keep you updated on the groups progress in your absence.

  3. Another nice area Jim.Tv star,s cottage.I dont want to know the actual name as I think they are entitled to some privacy But would first letter be a J by any chance?Just a wild guess.

  4. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, in fact, that's awesome! :)

  5. It was pouring rain the day I went to look for the cup and ring marked stone Sandy.That was a while ago.
    Rock Artwolf has published a few pictures.Apparently the farmer has stood this stone up as well.He seems to be creating a parkland.

    Yes Gordon,the farmer was out.I'll miss his walk,I'll be in the emerald isle.

    That's the fella Bob,but who am I to 'Judge'

    Thanks for the comment Smiley

  6. I always enjoy reading about the walks. Regarding the memorial to "Phillip", I think this may refer to Phillip Williams (44), a Kilmarnock solicitor who was the pilot of a Cessna 152 which crashed in low cloud and rain at 4.34pm on 21 Dec 1997 on a trip from Carlisle to Prestwick. The Glasgow Evening Times reported that the accident happened "four miles west of Gatehouse-of-Fleet on Barholm Hill", and although I can't prove the memorial is dedicated to him, it looks likely.
    Keep up the good work with the blog!

  7. Thank you for that Jennifer, that is a mystery cleared up.
    Thanks too for the compliment, I hope I do keep the posts interesting.


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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