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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers Murray's Monument Circular October 2011

Saturday the 22nd of October 2011.
Todays walk is a slight variation on one we did in November 2008.
2008 Walk
The weather forecast is a poor one with rain expected in the afternoon.We'll be keeping up a reasonable pace to try and miss it.

There's 14 of us today as we climb up to our first objective, Murray's Monument

No matter how dull the weather there's always a wonderful view from here.

We continue on the through path to join the Talnotry path.
A short walk back downhill gets us to the path which will take us in a south westerly direction over the Black Craigs.

After a steady climb we reach the Talnotry Hill viewpoint.

Directly across the glen is Craignelder. I'll be proposing a walk up there next summer.

We continue along this snaking path keeping a close eye out for mountain bikers.This section is part of the 'Black Route' of the 7 Stanes Mountain Biking Trails
Today we'll give a miss to the Loch of the Lowes. 

(  I walked to the Loch of the Lowes back in March when I got some video of Golden Eye ducks.It's on this post here.Drumlawhinnie and Loch of the Lowes ) or just the video on YouTube at Jimzvidz1 )

Reaching the Old Edinburgh Road we head north east.It's still fairly overcast,but it's staying dry.

Now we reach the adit of the old Talnotry Nickel mine.I apologies for getting it wrong on the walk and saying it was a lead mine. 

Here's some technical information courtesy of Springerlink

Nickel-copper mineralization occurs near the base of a diorite intrusion close to its contact with hornfelsed Ordovician and Silurian shales and greywackes. The principal ore minerals are nickeline, gersdorffite, pyrrhotine, pentlandite and chalcopyrite with minor amounts of molybdenite, tellurobismutite, gold, sphalerite and argentopentlandite. Pyrite, marcasite, violarite and goethite also occur but are interpreted as later alteration products. Much of the pyrrhotine-rich mineralization at the base of the intrusion is in the form of blebs and interstitial aggregates with amphiboles, plagioclase feldspar, biotite, chlorite and quartz. Chalcopyrite-rich and nickeline-gersdorffite-rich mineralization occurs above this and immediately below unmineralized diorite in the form of patches, lenticular masses and stringers along joints and fractures.
Whole rock and ore analyses and electron microprobe data on the silicates, sulphides and sulpharsenides are presented.
The unmineralized diorite has low SiO2 and high MgO contents compared to typical diorites and relatively high Cr, Ni and Ti trace element values. In the mineralized diorite, platinum-group elements occur in very low concentrations in the pyrrhotineand chalcopyrite-rich assemblages but Pt, Pd and Au show significant enrichment in the nickeline-gersdorffite-rich mineralization.
A magmatic origin for the mineralization is proposed rather than formation by hydrothermal solutions or metasomatism.

With a watchful eye on the weather, we decide to have lunch in the relative shelter of the mine entrance.  

After lunch we continue along the old Edinburgh road to reach Black Loch.

As part of the 'Art in the Forest' project,this tall conical art construction was built by Colin Rose (1997) and named  the ‘Eye’. It is covered with a mosaic of small pieces of stone.

A short way along the forest track we access the path to circle the loch.There are ruins of a small stone
structure.Too small to be a sheep pen, it's use was the subject of some speculation.

Our leader,a forestry expert himself points out the girth of a felled Sitca Spruce.
It's roughly 30 years old judging by the rings.

The path takes us down by the beautiful Tonderghie Burn.
The glen further up will be explored by myself sometime in the near future.

Now we retrace our steps back to the Grey Mare's Tail burn where we take the path south.

The next group of pictures are of another part of the 'Art in the Forest' project.
This is the Quorum.
Hidden in an old sheep stell is the ‘Quorum’. This is a group of stone heads carved from local material and set into the walls of this enclosure. Created by Matt Baker and Doug Cocker a few years ago these heads were just the start of a 3-year project called ‘Art in the Galloway Forest Park’.

I managed to fit a few of the faces to those of today's walkers.Quite complimentary I thought.

Further down the path a couple of our more senior walkers recalled bathing in the pool below the upper Grey Mare's Tail waterfall.

We're almost back to the cars and it's still not raining.What a righteous bunch we must be.
It's a shame it's been so dull, a brighter day would have accentuated the wonderful colours.

A final snap on the bridge concludes another excellent walk in the best of company.


  1. I have read the part about nickel-copper twice and I am still none the wiser!!Your weather was very similar to my walk here in South Ayrshire we were extremely lucky as some parts got a very wet miserable day. Hopefully meet up with on Saturday.

  2. Well if you cant understand the Nickel-Copper details, I don't hold much hope of any of my other readers understanding it.Any geologists out there ?

  3. Hi Jim.
    Understood most of the stuff written in Queens English.I,m away back to my book on advanced rocket science now for a rest:)
    Didn,t know about the head sculptures down there.Very Cute!

  4. A beautiful waterfall. Those faces carved in stone are quite a piece of art!

  5. Hi Bob,you wouldn't thing a little bit of digging could produce such a plethora of unpronounceable minerals and a report requiring a pH dip in understanding technical content. Contextualizing the abstract content (whatever that means)would have helped.

    Hi Maria,we're not short of waterfalls in the Galloway Forest Park,and when we get prolonged rain they can be powerful and spectacular.
    Galloway Granite built the docks at Liverpool,and the late Japanese Sculptor Hideo Furuta inspired the Forestry Commision to use local products for the 'Art in the Forest' project.
    Thanks for your comments folks.


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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