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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Knockdolian September 2011

Saturday the 3rd of September and I'm back walking with the Ramblers.
Today's walk is to the top of one of our favourite wee hills,Knockdolian.

I'm writing the press report since I'm walk leader,so I'll post that after the pictures.
The picture of the seal and a couple of others were taken on the recce about ten days ago.
The pictures above show an abandoned light buoy,a mystic sky,Ailsa Craig and the ruins of a fishing boat.

Ballantrae Beach

Salty the seal

More pictures of the rock and coast.
Love the way the cormorant spreads it's wings

Water tank housing

Another zoomed recce picture showing Ailsa's top

Sometimes cloud brings out colour more.
Ailsa Craig with her hat on

Nearly up

Now we're at the summit

I wonder who Jimmy Rennie was and why he has a plaque up here.
(I've had an email from Jimmy Rennie's great nephew who tells me that Jimmy lived in Colmonell most of his life and when he died this plaque was in place of a traditional headstone.
He and his direct ancestors lived in south-west Scotland right back to the 18th century at least.
His sister married Alexander Deans, so it looks like he's a distant relative by marriage.
No wonder I love this hill !)

Knockdolian House.....

.......and a closer view

The happy wanderers

A look at the ancient hill fort

Standing on the precipice 

Grass of Parnassus 

Approaching Knockdolian

Knockdolian Castle and house

The Stinchar

Himalayan  Balsam,running sheep,hay bale and a flock of Starlings


Information Board

Ballantrae graveyard and the family crest and motto of  the Oliver family of close by Laggan

Wigtownshire Ramblers Walk Report
Saturday the 3rd of September 2011

A depleted group of nine walkers met at the Ballantrae shore carpark for the walk start.
Light drizzly rain gave way to it being slightly overcast with occasional blue skies.

The walk began by heading north along the coastal path and the beach.
A variety of seabirds,the remains of a fishing boat, a manmade breakwater and white waves were noted with interest.
A traffic cone atop a fence post indicated a point to leave the beach.
After crossing the busy A77, a short walk eastwards along the b734 brought them to Corseclays Farm.
Now a farm track took them onto the lower slopes of Knockdolian.

After passing an ornate brick building housing a water tank,they reached what was to be the biggest obstacle of the day,a drystane dyke with a barbed wire fence either side.Various methods and bodily contortions were used,but eventually all walkers were safely over with only the odd minor scratch.
After passing a short boggy tussocky section they reached the firmer ground of the steeper slopes.
Behind them Ailsa Craig still had her 'Bunnet' on.
Underfoot was mainly grass,but bell heather,ling and various fungi were also present on the ascent.

Eventually all walkers reached the 869ft summit of this 'Marilyn'.
With cloud level now much higher, views were extensive.To the west the Antrim coast,Mull of Kintyre and Arran were seen.To the north,the Ayrshire coast and the Isle of Bute were recognised.To the west the Galloway hills stood prominent.Closer by, the Stinchar valley stretched out to Pinwherry and parts of Glen Tig to the south were viewed.The windfarms of Arcleoch,Mark Hill and Barr all had their blades turning.

Dropping just below the summit to a sheltered rocky outcrop,lunch was taken.Facing northwards much of the coversation was about identifying landmarks of previous walks.
Directly below and owned by the family of the Duke of Wellington the mansion house of Knockdolian was in clear view.

After lunch the group descended to view the prominent mound of the ancient hill fort.A further careful descent now took them across a boundary fence to gentler slopes.Here the amateur botanists in the group identified a variety of wild flowers and plants.Harebell,Burdock,Scabious and the delightful white flowers of the Grass of Parnassus were amongst those spotted.

Reaching the burn at the Duniewick plantation another mini obstacle course involved ducking under the fence of a burn outlet and crossing over a wooden fence.
After passing another ornate water tank housing they crossed the b7044 to view the ruins of  the 16th century Knockdolian castle.From here they made their way down to the banks of the River Stinchar.

The riverside path took them south through Finnart Holm before rejoining the road below Macherquat farm.Leaping trout and the occasional salmon were seen in the river,while Ragged Robin,Lousewort,Watermint and Trefoil were amongst the still lush growth along the banks.

Next came two kilometres of road walking. The invasive Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam grew profusely along the roadside.Also plentiful was the more acceptable and important herb Comfrey.

After passing the extensive ruins of Balnowlart House they regained the riverside path which took them to the bridge at Ardstinchar.An information board gave the history of Ardstinchar Castle and the old and new bridges over the river.

A walk through the graveyard via the Kennedy mausoleum brought an excellent and dry walk to a conclusion.

The next walk, on Saturday the 10th of September be a circular ' B ' grade walk of 8 miles from Portpatrick
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 Portpatrick South Car Park (NW 999 539) at 10.00am.
New members are always welcome, for more information or if going to the walk start, contact the walk leader on 01776 870441


  1. That was a new way up an old favourite hill. I have only ever come down that way so I must try your route to give a wee bit of variation to the normal walk.

  2. How interesting and how braw those green rollin hills are.

  3. Cheers Gordon,I remember you telling me of your walk along the beach in a high wind.It certainly cuts out a lot of road walking and if the weather's good it's a great beach.

    Nice to see you bonnie lass from Killie.I was up your home town at Dean Castle a while back.Thanks for calling in.

  4. Nine!!! A depleted group!There,s only me, my bike and an OS map this end Jim.That,s a depleted group!
    Its My favourite hill down south,if I had to pick one under 1500 feet.
    Just Seen the weather forecast for the coming weeekend.Luckily,I,ve Loads of indoor painting to do:)

  5. I guess I should be thankful for the company then Bob.You're right though it is a magical hill.Happy pedalling and brushwork.


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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