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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Straiton - The Monument and Bennan Circuit

Tuesday the 21st of February.
I've taken my last penicillin tablet to finish my course of antibiotics.
I'm hopeful of completing a little walk today.
I'm away up to the conservation village of Straiton in South Ayrshire to walk with a rambling friend.
There are a number of walks on the Ayrshire Paths website in this lovely little village.
After meeting up in the car park, and getting geographically acquainted with the area layout we decided on the Monument and Bennan circuit.
(We obtained an illustrated leaflet and map of the walks from a weatherproof holder in the car park)  

We begin by walking through the village's Main Street.
To the north is the Fowler's Croft Development which won an award for architectural design in 1984 from the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland in honour of the thoughtfully designed properties which complement the existing village architecture.

It's a colourful start in the village.

Nice enough for a macro.

I feel a bit of a traitor uploading this picture of McCandlish Hall. The others in Google Images don't show up any cracks. Maybe it'll be re-plastered for the summer....

....but even on this dull day it still looks lovely and quaint.

The route takes us a little way down Newton Stewart Rd. The primary school is just a short distance out of the village. Just beyond the school we begin to climb.The monument is our first target.
My fellow blogger from Ayr did this walk last December with the Cunninghame Ramblers 

As we begin to gain height the view behind us is of the school.
I'm optimistic of better weather but it turns out my walking partner has heard a truer forecast.
We get quite a few mini showers throughout the day.

The path is easy to follow with regularly spaced way-markers. Through Barbellie woods  we reach the upper slopes of Craigengower (The hill of goats) and onto Highgate Hill. It's a short but steep climb to the monument.

It's a bit raw at the top.

The monument is a memorial to Lt. Col. James Hunter Blair mortally wounded at the Battle of Inkerman in 1854. 
The family seat of Blairquhan Castle  lies a little to the west of Straiton.

From up here we can look west to the triangular plantation on Bennan which will be our next climb.

The path now takes us in a southerly direction over undulating slopes to bring us down to the road at  Culdoch. After crossing the road we follow the Water of Girvan a short way to reach Craigfad bridge.

Over the bridge is the quite impressive house of Craigfad. It too needs a fresh coat of plaster and whitewash. We mistook a crumbling patch of plaster as a coat of arms.
Just beyond here the path/track turns back towards Straiton.

I got the above collage of pictures before the rain came on again.
The path, a little way back, is running parallel to the Water of Girvan.

Upon reaching the triangular plantation of Curroch Wood we stop for a bite to eat.   
 Because of the light rain showers, my camera was in and out of it's carrying case all day.
We took the path up Bennan Hill to the viewpoint. Here's a passage from Gordon's Blogpost " The leader explained at this point there used to be a view finder explaining all the local landmarks but health and safety have decreed the area unsafe as it can get quite wet and slippery where it once stood."
It was a bit of a drop the other side of the fence, but the path up to the top was a bit of a liability anyway.
It is a bit of a disappointment after the climb.

I took the last pictures of the day up here.
I zoomed in to take this one of Bennan Stables.
There's been a substantial conversion since W.F. Millar took this picture for Geograph in 2007.

In this last picture the Water of Girvan takes a big loop round the edge of the village.
Our path back to the car park is off this picture to the left and beyond Bennan Stables.
A fallen down tree at the bridge we crossed  is almost the width of the river. Any-more heavy downpours and I'd suggest this bridge was in danger.
Since it was my first real walk since being ill, we decided to call it a day. I couldn't have gone much further anyway.
It may have been a dull day but it didn't detract from the beauty of Straiton and it's surrounds.
This is a future Wigtownshire Ramblers walk. 


  1. So quaint and full of history, the countryside is breathtaking! Wonderful photos. Thanks for the armchair walk Jim and hope the chest infection is all but a memory.

  2. Jim, I'm jealous! We've had more than a few warm days here this year but everything there is so green & even flowers!

    Hope your feeling much better.

  3. Nice to see you are out and about again. Monument Hill is my training ground when I feek the need to get a bit fitter.Last time I was there I did it 6 times perhaps you could join me one day. Ha Ha.

  4. There's a very similar monument towered over me from the top of one of the hills round Langholm in my youth. It's generally known as the monument too - Old Major General Sir John Malcolm tends to get forgotten from its title, even though that's the reason it's there.

  5. It's been a struggle Rose, but I'm getting there.
    The only trouble with the early greenery Michael is that the flies come with it.
    You need to slow down a bit Gordon, you've got a k where you should have an l.
    Hi Sandy, South West Scotland's scattered with monuments to the 'Laird', the more remote ones all seem to be falling down though.


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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