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Monday, 30 April 2012

The Wigtownshire Ramblers (2 Walks) Cairnsmore via the Door and Maidens to Dunure April 2012

I did the recce for this walk, but I hadn't recovered from my bad chest enough to do the walk.
I thought I'd post it anyway. I should also have done last weeks, perhaps I'll do it later.
( It's easier to add it to this post, so it'll follow the Cairnsmore walk)
All pictures by Scoop.
Report by Lofty below.

Wigtownshire Ramblers Sunday 29/04/2012

A small group of 12 ramblers, including 3 visitors from the Biggar Ramblers group, assembled at the Cairnsmore Car Park near Palnure on a bright and blustery morning with the intention of climbing the Cairnsmore of Fleet via the Door.  They set off up the track towards Cairnsmore House with the trees showing signs of spring growth and a few bluebells showing colour amongst the undergrowth.  The route followed the traditional path until they reached the track at Cairnsmore farm.  Here they turned right towards the keeper’s cottage and then took the track eastwards above the Graddoch Burn.  The track continued to climb above the burn which it then crossed by a small stone bridge and emerged into an open field. Here the track was less well defined but the group followed the edge of the wood towards a gate which gave onto open moorland.  A few lambs scampered after their mothers but otherwise the cold wind kept most wildlife hidden.

On the moor the track was once again well defined.  It had been a well made track with large boulders marking the edges and a cobbled infill but rain and farm traffic had reduced it to a stony scar across the moor.  The group continued steadily upwards and soon reached the top of Knocktim Hill.  They paused to admire the view westwards over Wigtown Bay and the Machars.  The Isle of Man and the Mull of Galloway were just visible in the haze.  The cold easterly wind was funnelled through the gap between the hills and the walkers donned their coats and gloves and pressed on.

Beyond Knocktim the track became wet and peaty for a short distance but the good stone track resumed as they approached the main hill.  The map indicated that the track finished at a branch of the Culcronchie Burn but the ramblers found that it continued over the moor towards the Door of Cairnsmore.

As the group approached the cliffs of the Door they turned from the track and started to tackle the main hill.  They picked a route between the rocks and boggy patches trying to follow the areas of well burnt heather where the going was easier.  The route was sheltered from the cold wind by the hill above them and they climbed steadily, pausing frequently to admire the view and to get their breath back.  Higher up the hill the slope eased off but the ferocious wind increased and threatened to blow them back down.

Once the plateau was reached a short struggle against the wind led them to the cairn on the south summit of the Cairnsmore.  They paused briefly to admire the view eastwards and then pressed on to find some shelter for lunch.  They found a small hollow below some rocks and gratefully sat down to enjoy their meal.

After lunch they descended to the Nick of Clashneach where they crossed the old dyke and started to follow an old fence line above the cliffs.  There were fine views of the Clints of the Spout cliffs on the east side of the Cairnsmore, once the home of eagles, and over the peat hags and forests towards Loch Grannoch.  The dry weather meant that the Spout of the Clints waterfall was no more than a damp trickle down the rocks.  The wind was particularly fierce and the group had to battle to maintain their balance.  Some of the smaller members felt in danger of being blown away.  The group climbed steadily over the summit plateau and soon reached the shelter of the old cottage near the cairn.

After a brief pause the group emerged into the wind again and, after pausing to examine the airmen’s memorial, set off down the traditional path back towards the car park.  As they descended they soon reached the welcome shelter of the trees and a steady descent took them back to the car.  The day was concluded with excellent tea and cakes at the Stables tea room in Palnure.

The next event on Saturday, 5th May will be a leisurely walk around the coasts and paths in the central Rhins.  Meet at 09:00 at the Riverside Car Park, Newton Stewart or at 09:30 at the Breastworks Car Park, Stranraer to share transport.  The walk will start at 10:00 from West High Ardwell Farm (NX 078 453).  If meeting at the start or for any other queries please contact the walk leader on 01776 860315.  New members are always most welcome.

Maidens to Dunure
All pictures by Scoop.
Report by 'The Weaver' below.
(Another great walk I missed)

Ramblers’ walk Saturday April 21st

Maidens car park was the rendezvous for the ramblers at the beginning of this week’s walk. Twenty six members turned out on a beautiful sunny day to sample a section of the Ayrshire Coast Path.

The old turnpike road ran along the beach here before entering the policies of Culzean castle; the walkers followed this trail, crossing the wide playing fields which now adorn the sea front, and then the sands, before entering the Long Avenue by way of a convenient footbridge.

The Avenue ran by a derelict estate cottage, through woods with carpets of bluebells, wild garlic and marsh marigolds before reaching the Swan Pond. A short tour of the grounds had ramblers admiring a sculpture of an otter slide, carved out of a fallen cedar tree from Brodick Castle, by Isle of Arran sculptor, Marvin Elliot.

The walkers then paused to watch herons squabbling high up in a heronry before a short detour was made to admire the Cat Gates, designed around 1800, by Edinburgh architect John Thin. Stops were made at the Camellia House and the walled garden where old apple trees were in bloom. Passing magnificent flowering magnolia trees, the castle itself was reached and a final visit was made to the restored gas works.

The estate of Culzean is of great importance to Scotland’s cultural history; it emphasises the importance of the Picturesque movement of the late eighteenth century. Great credit must go to the management policies of the Country Park, the local authorities, and the Scottish National Trust in upkeeping and renovating the extensive grounds, and maintaining Robert Adam’s design of the Kennedy castle.

Another beach beckoned and with great reluctance the ramblers continued their planned walk. The path now took the walkers through trees, past idealistic holiday cottages with a glorious seascape view and a stream running by the garden wall, back onto the shore, once again following the old turnpike road.

Cliffs of yellow sandstone and a stony foreshore made the going slow with the tide at its peak. A convenient slipway marked a sheltered resting spot for lunch, where the somnolent tune of the waves allowed a leisurely wait for the tide to recede, enough to make the rocks at Isle Port passable.

Conglomerate rocks were a feature of the shore after the adventurous dash over rocks to avoid wet feet.  The formation of an ancient slurry, enfolding stones, and giving the look of badly mixed concrete, made the common name of pudding stone quite appropriate.

The cliffs gradually became higher and the route by the sea impassable, so the path climbed steeply, zig-zagging past an ancient settlement, to reach the top of the escarpment, where there was a wide view to Arran - Goat fell standing proudly above Holy Isle, and Ireland just visible in the murky distance. A big black cloud hung out to sea but sunshine continued to accompany the walk.

A grass field smartly rolled in wide stripes was skirted and the way led inland, avoiding a steep inlet, to cross a burn by stepping stones. A ploughed field with spring barley just sprouting took the walkers to an old lookout tower, where wartime coastguards watched for submarines and other shipping heading for the Clyde.

Soon after, the path dropped down through scrubland to enter Dunure’s Kennedy Park where another old ruined Kennedy castle, renovated dovecot and disused limekilns were passed and inspected as the company hurried to the tiny harbour for refreshments, after a most interesting and sunny walk.

Next week’s walk is on SUNDAY 29th April. A walk with Biggar ramblers up the South side of Cairnsmore. Meet for car sharing at Breastworks, Stranraer, 9am, Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30am, or at the walk start, Cairnsmore car park, NX464 632, 10am. If going directly to the start of the walk please phone walk leader, 01671 401222. New members will be made very welcome.


  1. Small world saw you lot that day :)

  2. Hi Mook, I missed both of these walks due to health problems, but if you meant the Cairnsmore walk, I was watching the mountain with my neighbour through his powerful 'scope and spotted an individual as well as the group. Was that you ?

  3. No Maidens to Dunure



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