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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers Glenwhan Circular June 2012

It's Saturday the 9th of June and I'm back walking with the Ramblers.
It's my first walk with them for a while owning to a variety of circumstances.
Glenwhan gardens north of Dunragit is our start point. 
Today's walk should have been led by the 'Farmer', but he's away so 'Shorty' and the 'Station Master' have taken it on. There's twelve of us as we set off over rolling fields 

I zoom in on a derelict building.

There's a lot of gates, and the occasional swampy field entrance today. This was one of the wetter one's.
We take a look at the derelict building. This house was part of Old Hall Farmstead.
Nothing remains of Meikle Dunragit manor house which stood somewhere close.

The fireplaces are almost in working condition. They must have looked great (pardon the pun) when they were installed back in the 50/60's.

This is Drumflower quarry. Because of the archaeological historic significance of the area, the company who own it had to have an archaeological assessment carried out to expand it. There's some interesting stuff to be found on the P.D.F published. Drumflower Quarry 

We continue heading generally north along tracks and through fields.
I get the above smiling face of Shorty, our leader. I was trying to centralize two radoms down at West Freuch on top of his head. Too hazy though.

We see much more cattle than sheep today. This is beef and dairy country.The bottom picture shows the still occasionally used Castle Kennedy Airfield.

The wild orchids are blooming and lovely.

Our leader who's a bit of an authority on such things believes this is probably a deer wallow. The deer roll over and splash in these pools to remove any bugs or tics that may have attached themselves to their coats.

It's still dull and hazy, but it doesn't stop me from zooming in and enhancing the picture on my computer.
Here in the foreground is the grounds of Castle Kennedy with Stranraer and Loch Ryan beyond.

More undulating fields of cattle and calves bring us to the edge of Glenwhan Moor.

We've had lots of rain recently, and the burns are flowing well.

Reaching the New Luce road, a short walk brings us up to the route of the SUW.
A short way along we stop for a lunch break.
After taking this picture, we had a lot of fun discussing the idea of the Rambling Calendar Girls.
I like the look of April !

After following the SUW for a couple of kilometres, we turn south and take to the boggy Bareagle woods.
Once clear of the woods, we begin a gradual climb through several fields. Luce Bay comes into view at various points.

Cows and calves are wary of  us bipeds.
But aren't the youngsters gorgeous. I couldn't get a picture of the calf that was about half the size of this one.

These Shetland ponies got excited at our appearance.

Another runway comes into view, this one is at West Freuch.

Almost at the top of Challoch Hill there's a view over Luce Bay to the Mull of Galloway.
The only blue sky we see today is a glimpse on the way back to Newton Stewart.

We stop for a short break at the 'Roundel' or 'Runnel' at the top of Challoch Hill.
I think about climbing the lookout, but the whole structure is a little bit suspect. Maybe another day.

A few more fields get us on a solid track for the last stretch............

...............and we're back at Glenwhan..........
..........where the gardens are in bloom..........
..................and the tea and cakes await.
A good ten miles today. I know I've had a walk today, but it was very enjoyable despite the dullness of the day.
Shorty's walk report to follow.

As promised, the walk leaders report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 09/06/2012

It was another dull morning with low grey clouds hanging over the hills.  Twelve ramblers assembled at the Glenwhan Gardens for a walk in the surrounding countryside.  The rhododendrons and flowering trees were doing their best to brighten up the morning.

The group set off down the drive and then turned northwards up the old track which once led to the sheep rees on Glenwhan Moor.  After a short distance they turned off the track and crossed the fields towards the woods.  The grass was wet underfoot but the going was good and they reached a new plantation.  Unusually the new gate was cut off by a new fence.  However the group made their way across and followed a forest ride between the ploughing towards a gate at the lower corner.  The young trees were struggling into leaf. A hare, which was startled by the walkers, had been busy vandalising some of the larch leaving the characteristic sharp cut across the stem with the top of the sapling left lying to the side.

After crossing two gates the group zigzagged across the fields and paddled through a small burn before reaching the derelict Old hall farm.  This was once a prosperous dairy farm with a lovely view over the fields to Luce Bay. It is now a collection of old buildings which are rapidly crumbling.  The farm was built on the site of the original Glenwhan Manor House.  There is no sign of the older building now.

The ramblers then crossed the new road serving the recently expanded Drumflower quarry and followed a rough track north westwards towards the Chlenrys.  As they walked the views to the south opened up with views over Luce Bay and the southern Rhins.  Small patches of sunlight illuminated Sandhead and the “Golf Balls” at West Freugh.

The route crossed above Low Chlenry and then climbed up alongside a small burn to the site of Little Chlenry.  Little remains of this settlement other than a couple of levelled areas and a few old trees sheltering the site.  Looking down the hill there was a good view of the runway of the old Cults aerodrome.  Memories of the short-lived vehicle air service to Northern Ireland which operated from this field were discussed.  The close proximity of this field to West Freugh and the alignment of the runways must have caused air traffic control problems in busier times.

 After crossing the burn the track climbed more steeply towards Chlenry Hill.  Eventually the track ran out and the group crossed a boggy area to reach the woods on the hill.  Numerous orchids were pushing up their purple spires among the grass and heather on the boggy ground.  Beyond the bog the ramblers entered another young wood and followed a prominent deer track to the fields above Chlenry Farm.  The deer had been busy marking their territories by scraping the bark off the trees on each side of the track.

The ramblers then headed north along a low ridge with excellent views westwards over the lakes and woods of the Lochinch Estate.  The ridge led to the Southern Upland Way which they followed to the New Luce road as far as the Glenwhan Forest gate.  On entering the forest they abandoned the SUW and followed the forest road.  Here they met the stalker on his way home after an early morning search for deer.  At the junction the group took the northern road towards Craig Hill.  The road rapidly deteriorated with the trees growing on the verges on each side and some areas exceedingly wet.  A nuthatch was spotted working its way up a tree and a tiny wren skittered through the bushes.

A pause for lunch was taken on a pile of old logs at the roadside which provided excellent benches.  The number of large boreholes in the logs aroused much comment.  They were probably caused by emerging wood wasps.  Thankfully none were seen.  After lunch they continued to the end of the road.  From there they followed an old, moss covered dyke through the woods which took them to the end of the central forest road.  They walked along the road back to the west.  At the top of the hill they turned off the road and made their way along a narrow path through the trees.  The branches are rapidly growing across the path and it will soon be impassable.  After reaching the third road they descended to the fields and then began their climb towards the trees of the roundel above Challoch.  The first field was full of cows with attractive light brown calves.  The ramblers skirted them carefully and crossed to the next field.  After a short stiff climb they reached the roundel and paused to admire the views.  The hills to the east were obscured by cloud but southwards Luce Bay shone in the patchy sunlight and to the west Stranraer was briefly spotlighted in the sunshine.

The group then descended by the same track to avoid crossing the silage crop and then took the track back to the Glenwhan woods.  A short climb up the road led them back to the cars and welcome tea and cakes in the Glenwhan Garden tea shop.

The expedition next Saturday is a leisurely 6.5 mile walk around Drannandow north of Minnigaff. Meet at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 09:00 or the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 to share transport.  The walk will start from the RSPB Barclye car park (NX 183 965) at 10:00. If meeting at the start or for any other queries please contact the walk leader on 01988 840268.  New members are always welcome.


  1. Just wonderful Jim (clap, clap) so pleased to hear that the walk was perhaps a little easier for you this time. This is God's own country - absolutely stunning.

  2. Looks like a good walk, Jim. No tick removers for the deer but they seem to know the tricks.

    Tea and cakes, what a wonderful way to end a walk!

  3. Thanks Rose, and I agree about the country, it's why I moved here. I'm hopeful I'll get my problems sorted out soon so I can begin planning next years trip. P.s I enjoyed taking a bow to your applause.

    Hi Maria, you must get to see lots of deer on your outings. Doesn't Finland have the most species of any country in Europe ? Do you ever come across Moose, or are they localized in some remote country area.
    Tea and cakes after a walk is the nonly reason some of our walkers come along I think. It is a great way to end a walk.

  4. Loved the comment on the "great" relating to the fireplace,had to think about it though.

  5. Hi Jim, don't know about the number of species/country ratio, but we certainly have a lot of forests and sparsely inhabited areas so that it might be true. I've seen some deer on my outings, but usually the animals try to hide when there are people out and about. Once I bumped into a moose who had come to the end of its life, rotting away covered by white worms - yuck! But it was a huge animal.

    In the northern parts of the country it is common to see reindeer. They are kind of semi-domestic and not that afraid of human beings.

    What we are afraid of doing is to bump into a moose when driving. Several people every year get killed in moose accidents on roads.

  6. Thanks for that information Maria, I guess I was including the Reindeer and the Moose as species.

    Your worry about hitting a moose reminds me of my trip to remote Swan Hills in Alberta in 2003. Most of the residents had pick up trucks fitted with what's variously called a grill guard, cow catcher, cattle guard or moose bumper. A lovely meal served up by my niece wasn't the best roast beef I'd ever tasted, but a road kill moose butchered and frozen. Mmm ! I can still taste it.

  7. Cheers Gordon, it's 'grate' to hear from you. I guess all's well in Ayrshire, an' the bacon's on the grill.

  8. Your Orchid sure does have more spots .....
    Do you know what species that is ? Was it on boggy ground ,
    Fantastic scenery , almost rivals the Cotswolds .. : )

  9. how fascinating!! I have never heard of walking groups before....what a fabulous idea!! fun!! I enjoyed the tour in your pictures.
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  10. Hello Annmarie from Pennsylvania, welcome to the Glebe Blog. I once drove through your state on I80 heading for Cincinnati.
    Leafing through some of your posts I see you're a very busy lady. The joy of having so many children of course is the help you can look forward to as they mature, of course there's the worry first.
    I hope you pop in occasionally, with the amount of followers you have, I hope you have the time.

    It looks like a wet walk for the group tomorrow, the weather forecast isn't good.
    I'm following you now.

  11. The South West seems to have a great variety of walks.Myself and Alex must have completed about 2% percent of them now.Maybe 3%.
    Need to get down that way again soon.


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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