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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers - Craignelder - August 2012

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

Mossy Bank 

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

The butterflies were out by the time we got back to the car park.

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.


  1. Delightful walk - I've never had butterflies like that visit my Buddleia bushes!
    And before I forget again, love the little side-show in the side bar.
    I enjoy all of your photos Jim, but today's favourite is the 4th one down - 'View to Craigdews'. It reminded me of a delightful oil painting.

  2. A weel documented walk.

    You've got some great placenames over there.

  3. those butterfly shots are beeeeeautiful!

  4. I was trying to follow your route on the map when I realised I was on the wrong Craignelder and Millfore Hills. How confusing to have two hills named the same in such close proximity.

  5. Jim, that is an awesome view from the top of the hill, what a lovely hike that would be! Thanks for you recent visit..

  6. Interesting about Alexander Murray.
    Sitting here in a very wet and quite chilly Kirkcudbright, It's good to see the butterflies on the flowers only two days ago.

  7. what fun you guys must have!! looks and sounds fun for sure!!

  8. Thanks Rose, that view looks even better on a sunny day. Glad you like the slide show, I keep meaning to update my layout with less clutter, but never seem to get round to it.

    Sandy and Sandy, You two must know each other ? I don't know about Langholm, but like you Sandy Kirkcudbright it never stopped tippling down here in Newton Stewart yesterday.

    Cheers Aguilar, loved your post on the Polar Bears, it's action time.

    You know how it is with the Galloway Hills Gordon.

    Could just as well be Alberta Michael, thanks.

    Nice to meet you Come At Me Bro.

    Sandy, Alexander Murray may well be a distant relative of mine. If I ever get round to following up my ancestry, I might find a connection.

    It's sometimes called pain Annmarie, but the fun comes with the relief of reaching a summit.

  9. Looks a grand day out Jim.Its been very hit and miss with the weather all summer but you seem to have been lucky both with the conditions and the numbers turning out.Don,t think the Glasgow clubs could match that level of consistency.Like the butterflies.
    The Ravens were probably Just pleased they didn,t have to walk over Galloway,I always find it verdant down there in high summer :)

  10. We've well and truly caught it with thunder showers in Langholm today.

  11. Sandy, I was in St Serf's in Edinburgh for my aunt's funeral service when 'Auld Reekie' was hit with the thunder and lightning. We all thought she'd ordered it for the day. Just the sort of thing she'd do.

  12. I lived in Langholm for 9 years as a boy (which at the time was most of my life that I could remember)and thoroughly enjoy the other Sandy's blog from the Muckle Toon. Though we know some people in common, I don't think I've ever met the man in person.


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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