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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers Newton Stewart Circular October 2012

Saturday the 6th of October.
Today's walk is an old favourite. A walk round Newton Stewart.
It's one I created a while back and is still quite popular.
Here's a link to the last time we did it.
My pal Gordon from Ayr was also along today, and you can read his account here.
Report follows the pictures as usual.
There are 18 of us today.

Cree Bridge
 It was on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Ninian at Whithorn, in 1329, that Robert the Bruce forded the river where the present handsome Cree Bridge stands. 

Accessing the golf course at the 7th

Today's happy wanderers

The Penkiln Burn
Out of possible interest the Penkiln Burn website is the strange electronic abode of Bill Drummond, the former front-man of the K.L.F. Remember the guy who burned a million.
There's a picture of him in the burn in this Interview he did for the Guardian back in May 

Monnigaff Church

The arrow through the two ravens.
I noticed while looking through the archives, that all three clans descended from the sons of the widow from Craigencallie, McKie, McLurg and Murdoch at some point lay claim to the feat of shooting the two ravens.
This page gives a feasible story. The Ravens and Cumloden.

King George V and Queen Mary Suspension Bridge


A light shower cooled us down.

A bit of self promotion.
Thanks to both Scoop and Gordon for their contribution of photographs.

Over Old Hall Farm

The Trig Point on Doon Hill

The small hill north of Barbuchany.

Same view, but I'm in it.

Under the mobile phone mast.
Must be one of my top ten favourite spots. How many pictures have I taken from here ?

Walk finish along the Cree

Refreshments at the Belted Galloway

Wigtownshire Ramblers Report for Saturday the 6th of October 2012.
On a bright morning with a decent weather forecast, eighteen ramblers met at the Riverside car park, Newton Stewart for the walk.
The walk began by crossing the Cree at Sparling Bridge, and following the river up to Creebridge.  It's recorded that Robert the Bruce forded the Cree at this point in 1329 on a pilgrimage to St Ninians.
From here the route went through Minnigaff to Kirroughtree House. A short stop was taken for the walk leader to read out some of its history and association with Robert Burns and the Heron family.
The perimeter path of Newton Stewart Golf course led up to the tenth tee where Wild Wood was accessed. The walk continued along the sometime muddy track to Bower Wood and the Old Edinburgh Rd at Minnigaff.
The group now made their way to the Queen Mary Bridge, the site of the old Cumloden Woollen Mill. Now converted to upmarket flats, a millstone is still visible through one of the windows on the Penkiln side. On the bridge attempts were made to secure a wish by cleanly dropping pebbles into the wishing pot. A cheer would accompany a successful drop.
The next point of interest was Monnigaff Parish Church. The 900 year old Yew tree and the listed Heron memorial were among the many points of interest. Here the walk leader set the group the task of finding the headstone depicting an arrow piercing two ravens. This is related to the legend of the three brothers, McKie, Murdoch and McLurg trying to impress Robert the Bruce. One of the brothers shot two ravens with one arrow.  The search was successful.
A lunch stop was taken on the banks of the Cree by the King George V and Queen Mary suspension bridge. A light shower saw a number of umbrellas produced.
After lunch the group made their way over the bridge and up to King Street. Here they learned that when the mills were in production, King Street and Arthur Street went by the names of Cotton Mill Row and the Gorbals.
A left turn at Duncree led to the old coach road which originally went from Old Hall Farm to House O' Hill. Here panoramic views of the Galloway hills were enjoyed.
The route now took a ninety degree turn south. Following drystone walls and crossing excellent stone stiles, fields of various sheep were crossed above Old Hall farm and Douglas Ewart High School to reach Corsbie road.
After entering Blairmount Park, an unexpected diversion took the group up to the trig point on Doon Hill. Very few people knew of the existence of a trig point in Newton Stewart. After encircling Blairmount Pond, the Barnkirk road and the A75 were carefully crossed.
Open fields were now crossed to begin the ascent to the mobile phone mast above Barrhill Wood.
 Arriving at the mast a tea/coffee break was taken. The view of Newton Stewart from this point truly shows the town to be the Gateway to the Galloway Hills. The good weather allowed most of the hills of the Minnigaff range to be identified.
 The descent eastwards afforded wonderful views of the Cree Valley. After crossing the embankment of the old railway line into Newton Stewart, an old metal gate was climbed and the riverside walking and cycle path accessed. From here a lovely riverside stroll brought the group back to the start point.
Tea, coffee, scones and other culinary delights at the Belted Galloway completed a very enjoyable day.
The next walk, on Saturday the 13th of November is a 10 mile section of the Mull of Galloway Trail.  Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart, 8.15am or at the old Stena Car Park at Port Rodie for the 8.55am bus to Sandhead (bring your bus pass if you have one). The walk starts at Sandhead (NX 097 498) at 9.30am.
If going straight to the start please phone walk leader 01776 700707. New members are always welcome.


  1. Super collection of photos Jim. Thanks again for a great walk in the autumn sunshine.

  2. Interesting headstone and attached link - good tale. it's funny that the church should retain the name of Monnigaff and the village becaome Minnigaff. Alas i read on a website for the church that it's opening times are very limited - viewing job for some Monday or Friday afternoon next July.


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