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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers Grey Hill Kennedy's Pass November 2011

It's Saturday the 19th of November and today's walk is in South Ayrshire.We've been around these hills a few times,here's a couple of links to previous walks.
May 2011
May 2010

Other views of today's walk will be available on Slewtrain's blog on this link.
Gordon's Account

Today we've parked up at the Woodlands Farm complex.

The cormorants are hoping for the sun as we are,but there's not much hope.

Just south of Girvan this is a thriving business with a hotel,restaurant,farm shop,equine activities and a trout pond to attract visitors.

We're a group of 21 walkers as we set off uphill.

It's a stiff start to a walk.The word is that today there will be mud!.

Our first point of interest is the ever deteriorating Craufurd's Monument.
The following passage is totally inaccurate.I'm getting my history mixed up.
( An interesting account of the escapades of Robert Craufurd also known as Black Bob can be found here.Napoleon Guide Craufurd )
The monument is to a Major Archibald Clifford Blackwell Craufurd once owner of Ardmillan Castle.
(Corrected by me at 7pm Sunday)
Whatever your views on history and war,it's a shame to see structures like this falling down.

I don't usually do close up's but it's looking a bit misty and I've got to take pictures.
Above are a few of the characters I'm walking with today.

After walking through the gap between Mains and Byne hills we begin to ascend Cairn Hill.

We're a group of differing fitness today.I was at the back,but I've found some extra....must be the drugs taking effect. ha ha.That's Byne Hill behind the laggers.

Gaining height we do get a bit of a view.I've enhanced the above collage to make it clearer than it really was.

Atop Cairn Hill and a moment for the steadier walkers to catch up.

A steady climb now gets us up Fell Hill before reaching the highest point of the day............

............the summit of Grey Hill.

Again I've enhanced the picture .Here's the crazy gang.

There was no flush bracket on this trig point.

Now we descend, stopping for a lunch break in a sheltered spot before continuing on towards Pinbane Hill.

Here's a likely trio.Is it Curly,Larry and Moe.........Huey Duey and Louie or.......... Tom ,Dick and Harry ?
Hang on,it's the Father,Son and the Holy Ghost!.

The fog clears a bit lower down.
Slew again tries to fly.

There's a number of Waxcap Mushrooms on these hills.
According to Galloway Wildfoods these are edible.

We're looking down towards Lendalfoot here.

Now we reach the top of Pinbane Hill.

The Pinbane burn cuts a lovely scenic glen to the south.

We've almost got blue skies.
Knockdolian,a favourite little hill of ours silhouettes against the clouds.

Ailsa Craig comes into view.

We're too far away to see them but there's quite a number of seals on the rocks today.

Now we reach the old coach road that'll take us back to Woodlands.

A radio mast silhouettes against the sky.

We head past Kilranny Cottage as sheep graze above Kennedy's Pass. This Old Coach road is part of the Ayrshire Coastal Path these days and the sign above indicates this.

We're just mudlarks for the day,these poor creatures are in it every day.Who'd be a cow ?

A pretty waterfall greets us as we pass Ardwell farm.We've a lot of mud to contend with now.

The track seems to vanish as we cross another muddy field.
We eventually reach more solid footing at the Ardmillan Castle Holiday Park.

Arriving back at Woodlands Farm a good many of us enjoyed refreshments in the cafe.
Considering the conditions this was still an enjoyable walk.
When I receive the report from the 'Weaver', I'll copy and paste it here.

Ramblers’ walk November 18th 2011

Woodlands hotel provided the ramblers with a convenient start for this Saturday’s walk. The new gardens and pond were admired before the steep slog began, up a twisting path to the monument in a gap along the Girvan ridge. The going was slow, muddy and very warm.

Although the monument stands proud of the hillside from below, it is in a sorry state. The iron railings that once surrounded it have mostly been removed and the stone facings and inscriptions are dilapidated and in danger of total collapse. It commemorated the once owner of Ardmillan castle below, Major Archibald Clifford Blackwell Craufurd

The next objective was Cairn Hill (248m), reached by walking through the boggy pass and climbing gently beside a tumbled wall. The views from here towards Girvan showed Byne hill and its pillar which had been given a miss today, the reservoir by Pinminnoch, and the surrounding fields, but mist was rolling in across the further hills and sea.

There was now a quad bike track to follow to the next summit, Fell Hill (266m), where there were no longer any views at all. The great expanse of moor and bog to the east of the ridge, which is Greyhills nature reserve, managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, was hidden by the mist which became thicker as the party descended a small defile and then ascended quickly to the highest point of the day, Grey Hill (297).

This area is famous for a special geological outcrop of the metamorphic serpentinite rock, formed by the extrusion of magma combined with minerals to form a lustrous, soft, dark green rock which is easily carved, thus giving it the alternative name of soapstone.

The wind had become bitingly cold so lunch was delayed until the shelter of a west facing hollow was found, when the mist lifted slightly and a good view was obtained of Ailsa Craig, rising majestically from the still hazy sea.

The last ascent, up Pinbain Hill, had good views of the near surroundings – the Lendalfoot hills and glen - and the sun at last came through as the old coach road below was reached. There were still a few waxcaps to be seen on the hill, small, bright red and orange fungi which grow on poor, unfertilised, and well cropped land. They are a special attraction of these hills in autumn.

The path now took the route of the Ayrshire Coast path, above Kennedy’s pass, as far as Ardwell farm. This old coach road was built about 1780 and on this stretch is still well surfaced. An old shepherd’s cottage at Kilranny, now used as a gathering pen for sheep and cattle, and two radio repeater masts were passed, as this delightful high level track was walked, in relative warmth as the sun shone and the wind abated. A tall waterfall was dutifully photographed by the enthusiasts before the party descended to lower, rougher ground and the company of two bulls and a crowd of cows and calves.

The ground became very muddy as the farm road was followed, churned up by the accompanying cattle which were at last left behind at a gate, giving entrance to a boggy field above Ardmillan caravan site. There was no sign of the demolished castle, the home of Major Craufurd, whose monument had been the landmark at the start of the walk. After wetly negotiating a route behind Crow wood, and passing down a quarry road, it was a very relieved twenty one ramblers who at last escaped the mud and arrived back at Woodlands for welcome refreshments.

Next week’s walk will be a ten mile trek from Glenamour, around Bargaly Glen and back through Kirroughtree forest. Meet at Breastworks, Stranraer, 9am, Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30am or Glenamour car park (NX441 671) 10am. If going straight to Glenamour please phone walk leader, 01776 840226. All are welcome.


  1. What gorgeous views.

    Well done on the photo-taking!

    It does look damn cold, though.

  2. 'shrooms! Much more fairy tale than those down here!

  3. sometimes when i see your group walking and enjoying well I wish i could be there.

    i love that little red mushroom!

  4. We keep making excursions into your old county Gillian.Maybe the Gallovidians have their eyes in KIlmarnock.
    You seem to have a variety of 'shrooms down your end Scarletti, the waxcap is pretty though.
    You'd never keep up Tammie,there'd be too much for you to photograph.If i was a secret billionaire I'd fly you over for a visit....sadly I'm not


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