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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers - Wigtown Circular March 2012

I've been over the other side of the country in the Kingdom of Fife this last week.( post to follow )

Back now for this week's walk which will be led by the 'Weaver'.
Her report to follow the photographs (thanks to Scoop for her contributions)
It's a circular around the environs of Wigtown.

The County Building Wigtown is our start point....

....and we're off

Our first point of interest is at the local church graveyard to see the graves of the Wigtown Martyrs
The church is dedicated to an obscure British saint known as St Machute

This period was known as 'The Killing Time' in Scottish History
A time of unbelievable savagery

Moving down to Wigtown Bay we're greeted by thousands of geese out on the wetlands

We leave the old railway track at the Old Station House
I don't think the thermometer works

Lot's of birds near the harbour

Now we're following the Bladnoch riverbank.  

Now there's a pretty pair of legs

Nearing Bladnoch Bridge

As the 'Weaver' says in her report, it's fortuitous that we bump into the owner
I must remember to re-upload some video I have. 

The 'Weaver' points out her handicraft

I wouldn't have objected if the walk had concluded at this point...

......but it didn't happen and we're on our way again

Lunchtime by an old broken tree 

Now we're on a field trip

A view over to the Galloway Hills

A track leads from Hollybush to Glencarse

The Wigtownshire Ramblers Drum Majorettes 

A view over Kirkland

Passing the old Ferguson tractor brings us to Lovers Walk back into Wigtown

Outside the Wigtown Motor Company
A slice of meringue pie finished the walk for me. Very tasty

Ramblers walk Saturday 3rd March 2012
The promise of wet and misty weather did not put 16 ramblers off their Saturday walk, and their constancy was rewarded with a fairly warm and sunny day.
A circular walk around Wigtown began at the County buildings and proceeded down Bank Street, out through the portals of the old east gate, to the churchyard where many viewed the pre reformation church which was used until the mid-1800s. The inscriptions on the graves of the martyrs, Margaret Lachlane and Margaret Wilson, caused great interest.  They endured a watery death at the stake in 1685, for adhering to their Covenanting faith and refusing to swear allegiance to the king.
Interest on the opposite side of the road was found in a stone carved with a cross in the garden of ‘Croft-an-Righ’. This is thought to be the site of a Dominican monastery, founded in 1247 by the mother of John Baliol, Devorgilla. The only lingering memory of this now is in the names of the surrounding area - Friarland, Monk Hill, and Friar’s well.
Passing to the end of the lane, the walkers took the path by the former harbour, where a stone memorial was erected in 1936 to mark the spot where the martyrs died. This area is no longer subject to regular tides; the river has altered its course and the harbour is now situated further south. The route for the walk went along by the old railway line and past the site of Wigtown castle where eyes were strained to see the remains, in the lumps and bumps of the marsh grass.
Leaving the old railway track by the former station house, it was interesting to see a thermometer above the door; the warm day surely was not one degree above freezing!
A newly flooded piece of wetland provided good bird watching with swans, coots, moorhens and mallards in evidence and a great flock of geese which took to the air as the walkers passed. The path skirted the reeds and arrived at the river Bladnoch , where the high level walk along the bank allowed a good view of the flotsam left by recent tides, a pair of dummy legs seeming to have got stuck in the act of climbing over a fence.
The old Bladnoch railway bridge caused an obstacle in the river walk, but all negotiated it with alacrity, and the distillery was approached with many wishful thoughts of a dram. Although the building was closed, a fortuitous meeting with the owner, well known for his Irish hospitality, provided a warming taste of twenty year old amber liquid.
The company now jollied along a narrow path between the river and the leat which provides water for the distillery. This leat allows sweet water, from above the tidal limit and therefore uncontaminated by the briny sea, to be brought about a mile and a half to the works. It was dug in 1830 by the same navvies who were also paving the streets of Wigtown.
Half way down the leat the ramblers crossed a narrow walkway and Cotland woods were entered. The promises of bluebells were much in evidence, but willow catkins were the only flowers seen here today. Not far from gate where the woods were left, some fallen trees provided a good seat for lunch, with a view back to the distillery and the surrounding countryside, pretty and green in the weak sunshine.
Onwards and upwards the refreshed company strode, with ever expanding views over the water to the hills beyond.  A few days earlier this had been the route for the Junior Cross Country Championships for Dumfries and Galloway, and the way was still just as muddy as the runners had experienced, sometimes with mire oozing right over boots.
Sheep and lambs were a distraction as fields were crossed, past Cotland Loch and over the brow of House Hill until at last the Kirkcowan road was reached, crossed, and a newly cleared lane taken, still deep with mud, skirting Kirvennie Hill and linking with Broadfield farm track over more muddy fields. By Hollybush house, Common Moss Lane was entered, a grassy track which soon brushed some of the mud from the boots.
The streets of Wigtown were found again via Lovers Walk and Kirkland road.  Wigtown Motor Company was the final place of interest to be passed, with its huge pile of spare car parts. This firm was originally begun as Wigtown Engineering Company, by Ronald McCutcheon, known locally as the ‘King of Speed’.  From 1946 onwards he won races on his motor cycle, including the Isle of Man TT races, he developed the ‘Buckler Special’ racing car, and also competed in power boat racing, winning the Daily Express Cup.
Once back at the county buildings and boots changed, a warm welcome was given to the ramblers at the Wigtown House Hotel where the company repaired for tea.
Next week’s walk is a 7 mile coastal delight from Corsewall to Lady Bay. Meet for car sharing at Riverside Newton Stewart, 9am, Breastworks, Stranraer, 9.30am or at the walk start, Corsewall lighthouse (NW 982 726) 10am. If going straight to the start please contact walk leader 01671 403351. All are welcome.



  1. Another lovely walk... you share them so well with all your images.
    I really liked seeing the party all streched out in small groups, everyone has their own pace.

  2. Thanks Jim, really enjoyed another great armchair walk, did me good! Wonderful photos, and the one looking over towards the Galloway Hills really threw me as it so looked like the countryside and the road I used to travel on the drive home to the farm in Tasmania.
    Thanks for sharing - wonderful!

  3. it looks as though you all know how to have a good time. Love shots of life through windows...

  4. There's a Covenanters grave in Kirkcudbright similar in style to the one you have here - maybe carved by the same chap.

    Somewhere in Bladnoch there's and ancient stone (it's marked on the map) that I failed to find. At least you've found the distillery :)

  5. Looks like you had a cracking sunny walk down there.Spring will be knocking at the front door any day now with a bunch of tulips.The Daffodils are already appearing.

  6. cool looking walk! nice mix of city and nature.

  7. What a nice mixture of nature and other attractions. It's lovely to see that you are often so many on these walks.

  8. Thanks for all your comments folks, they're much appreciated.

    Andrew, the group's photographers often set the pace by lagging behind.

    I look forward to Tasmania Rose.

    I love your 'window' on Montana Tammie.

    Sandy, it looks like the standing stone at Bladnoch is almost built into the dyke, I'll have a look soon.

    Looks like spring is here Bob, glad to see you're back in circulation.

    We're spoiled here in South West Scotland Aguilar.

    You're welcome to join us if you get a visit to Scotland Maria. Has you're snow gone yet ?

  9. Oh no, we still have plenty of snow here. The temperatures this week have been below freezing, but a thaw is forecasted for next week.

    And thanks for the invite! I've been to Scotland only once and I really liked the country. I hope I'll have the possibility to pay Scotland a second visit one day.


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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