I'm leader today.
The walk report will be after the pictures.
This is today's hill - Craignelder.
Monument at the Red Deer car park to John McDonald.
"John McDonald memorial, he was a ganging-body (itinerant worker) who died 1878 by the old Brockloch Bridge. When the bridge was replaced in the late 1970s this memorial was built to house the former bridge-side plaque."
Forest road above Craigdews
View to Craigdews. The prominent crag is part of the Wild Goat park.
Ruins of Dunkitterick Cottage, Alexander Murray's Birthplace.
The first bog
Through the forest at Sleekit Knowe and on to the rocky slopes of Craignelder
Views back down to Murray's Monument and Craigdews
Zoomed in goats
I persuaded these lovely ladies to pose...
....and the other two as well (don't get me wrong, they're lovely too)
Final scramble to Craignelder Summit
Millfore Hill Summit
Overlooking Loch Grannoch
Views to Clatteringshaws, Benniguinea and Cairnsmore of Dee
By-passing Craignarget down to Craigenskulk and Millstalk
Wigtownshire Ramblers Walk Report
Saturday the 25th of August 2012
A dreich morning saw ten intrepid walkers meet at the Red Deer Car park for the start of the walk to the summit of Craignelder.
The forest road opposite the car park was accessed for the first section of the walk. Colourful Bell heather, Ling and Willow herb (fireweed) grew profusely along the roadside. A wren, a merlin or hobby and swallows were spotted in flight. After a gradual incline, the right fork at a road junction was taken leading down to the remains of Dunkitterick Cottage, the birthplace of Alexander Murray. One of Galloway’s most famous sons, and the son of a shepherd, Alexander Murray learned to read in several languages from a very early age and went on to become a Doctor of Divinity and Chair of Oriental languages at Edinburgh University. Sadly Ill health dogged him most of his life and he died at the age of 37. Murray’s Monument was prominent for much of the walk.
After leaving the cottage, a burn and a bog had to be crossed to reach the next forest road.
The euphoria of being on solid ground was short lived however as a forest ride signified the start of what was to be quite a strenuous climb. Boggy in places the forest ride was followed up through the braes of Sleekit Knowe. One ridged, moss covered dry section was delightfully like an oil painting.
After exiting the forest and crossing an old fence, a diagonal route over the boulder strewn hillside led to the rock climbing crags of the Fleshmarket and Big Gairy. This was a slow painstaking climb via tussocks and granite terraces. Gradually the granite outnumbered the tussocks and the going got easier. Mountain goats were seen above on granite outcrops.
A lunch break was taken in a sheltered rocky depression. Midges which had been troublesome in the forest and the lower slopes were happily absent from the dinner table.
Sustained and refreshed after a leisurely break the summit of Craignelder (601) was soon reached. A break was taken to identify surrounding mountains and landmarks. The weather was improving, but distant views were still hazy. The adjoining Meikle Mulltaggart looked especially majestic across the Louran Rig and Deers Den.
Next came one of the highlights of the walk. Family groups of Ravens numbering 12 or 13 passed overhead giving a wonderful aerobatic display of turns and tumbles.
A path passing a mountain lochan now led across to the bigger cairn on the summit of Millfore Hill (602), its higher namesake now in a clear view to the north. Another break just below the summit opened up views to the east and the Lochs Grannoch, Fleet and Clatteringshaws.
The group now began the descent down the Stey Green of Kitterick avoiding Craignarget Hill. More heather and fewer tussocks made the going easy enough till reaching the boggy quad track at Craigenskulk. A forest ride now led to the forest road at Millstalk. This road now led down to the junction near the Palfern Burn to complete the circuit.
The short distance back to the cars completed what was a more strenuous, but ultimately satisfying walk than was expected.
The next walk on Saturday the 1st of September is a 6 mile cliff top walk from St Ninian's Cave to the Isle of Whithorn.
Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer 9.00am,the Riverside, Newton Stewart 9.30am or the walk start at St Ninian's Car Park (NX 431 366) at 10am. For further details or if going to the start please phone the walk leader on 01988 840268. New members are always welcome.