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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers Castramont Loch Whinyeon February 2012

Saturday the 25th of February.
Today's walk will be a tester for me after being incapacitated.
It's a 'B' walk north of Gatehouse of Fleet.
Today's leader is the 'Weaver', and I'll leave it to her excellent writing style for the report.
It will follow the images as per usual.
We number 18 today.  

Knocktinkle Car Park

The car park was erected in 2005
Betty Murray Usher founded the Drystane Dyking Association of Great Britain
( being a Murray descendant, I wonder how far back in time I'd need to go to find a connection ?)

Grey Hill and Benfadyeon

Views to Gatehouse and Fleet Bay, and east towards Cairnsmore of Fleet

Top of Benfadyeon

Loch Whinyeon

The old sluice gate and pipe that once pumped water through the hill to Gatehouse

Heading north

Top of Craigtype

Heather, bog and tussock towards Fell of Laghead

Fell of Laghead

Downhill to the  Laurieston Road

Following the Castramont burn.

View of Rusco Castle 



The wood as you can see, is spelt different to the hill and burn. According to the Canmore website the big country house (no pictures, sorry) goes by either Castramont, Carstramon or Castramon. Very confusing !

Some gorgeous trees in the woods

Odd looking fungi covering nettles

An array of trees. Bottom right tree seems to have returning visitors if the carvings are to be believed

The oak trees of Carstramon Wood were once managed to produce charcoal for iron, copper and brass smelting

Lagg farm at the Doon of Castramont

Back to the cars
Well, I completed the walk, but boy did I ache later

Here's the Weaver's report
Ramblers’ walk Saturday 25th February
Fair weather greeted 18 ramblers when they met at Knocktinkle car park, Gatehouse of Fleet, on Saturday. This was a welcome change from the dreary wet walking days of late, but still there was no sunshine.
The car park is a fairly new facility dedicated to the memory of Betty Murray Usher who died in 1990, and whose family were the proprietors of the lands through which the day’s walk would explore.
The immediate steep climb up Grey Hill and Benfadyeon caught out those who had not walked for some time. The way across the wet lands was not too boggy and the extensive views from the top were worth the effort. A 360 degree panorama was laid out, covering many of the hills the company had walked in the last year.  In the west, from the Mull of Galloway peeping out behind the Isle of Whithorn, to Ben John, Cairnharrow and the masts of Cambret Hill, the view continued through Cairnsmore of Fleet, before taking in bronze moorland and the forests of the Grobdale walk.  To the east, with Loch Whinyeon in the foreground, it was easy to trace an earlier outing through the Glengap forest.
The route now descended to the shores of Loch Whinyeon, and the sluice gate and remains of the tunnel which used to take water to the mills in Gatehouse, were explored. The modern outflow could be seen on the opposite shore, where the water now flows eastwards, to the works at Glengap.
Two more hills were climbed, Craigtype and the Fell of Laghead, the highest of the day at 292metres. Now the hardest work was done and the company approached the Castramont walk by crossing the Lauriston road and following a forest road for some way under the Craig of Grobdale.
Once on the rather muddy path, energy was restored by a lunch break overlooking Castramont Burn, before continuing by bridges and walk boards to Culreoch farm road. The sound of rushing water accompanied the walkers and a rather fine waterfall fell picturesquely through the trees. A new dry stane dyke, bounding the fields above, was a fitting reminder that Mrs Murray Usher founded the Dry Stane Dyking Association of Great Britain.
Once on the farm road, bordered by old sessile oaks, it was downhill to the Carstramon woods entrance, where the walkers once again endured a steadily rising path. Through fallen beech leaves and increasingly wonderful gnarled old coppiced beeches, the way meandered through the woods, which are maintained by Scottish Nature. After a brief view of Castramont House well below the path, the destination of the coppiced wood – charcoal platforms - were examined. A low wall and a cleared grassy circle are all that remains of this ancient craft.
Laghead Burn was crossed when the road was once more reached and the farm track past Lagg was taken for the homeward stretch of the walk. Here a heralder of spring was spotted; a lone, shiny, golden celandine glowed by the path.
A gentler walk, gradually uphill, past unused pheasant pens, and many fords crossing the burn, was followed, until the cars could be seen and approached across grassy fields, to end a varied and pleasant walk. The ramblers then retired to Galloway Lodge in Gatehouse to replenish their energy.
Next week, a 6 mile circular walk round Bladnoch and Wigtown, is planned. Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer, 9am, Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30am, or at Wigtown Town Hall (NX 434554) 10am. If going straight to the start, please phone walk leader, 01776 840636. All are welcome 


  1. Thanks, Jim, for your comment on my blog! I hope this will be a good year to you, too. I have been kind of hibernating for a couple of months. After a long autumn we finally got true winter to Finland. It's been dark, snowy and cold, but now the coming spring can already be felt in the air.

    You seem to have had a fine day out. That fungi really look odd!

  2. Hi Jim.
    Couldn,t find that Fungi in my Collins Fungi guide unless its a very weird feathered type of witches butter.
    Glad to see you are geting back out again and doing what you enjoy.
    All the best.
    Ps Dont know about you Jim but I,ve got to use a bloody sherlock Holmes magnifying glass just to make out some of these "prove your not a robot" words.And thats with glasses on :)

  3. your pictures always make me wanna go hiking, i'm gonna have to actually go one of these days, haven't been in so long.

  4. Thanks Maria, no one on the walk had ever seen fungi like that before.Maybe a rarity.Enjoy Spring when it comes.

    Hi Bob, it's good to get out again.
    I thought I'd done away with word verification, but I hadn't. I had to go into the old interface to turn it off. I only put it on to stop the spammers, but it's just as easy to bin negative comments. So I'm leaving it off now. I've seen me refreshing an image a dozen times before I could read it.
    Hoping you're well on the mend now.

    Go hiking Aguilar. I believe the American author Bill Bryson ( I’m a Stranger Here Myself ) is more popular in the U.K than in his own country, but have a read and he'll inspire you to get out and about.

  5. ((Grins)) me like funghi picture.

    The colours are so clean, and the shapes really fluid. Yup, that'll do for me, better'n a a Georgia O'Keeffe!


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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