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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers Loch Trool 25th November 2012

Saturday the 25th of November
Today's walk is a Loch Trool circular. This was originally meant to be a ten mile figure of  eight, but has been shortened to around six miles because of the Water of Trool flooding earlier in the week.
Today's leader will be the 'Milkmaid' after volunteering to step in as a back up to Scoop who will now be the deputy leader. The 'Milkmaid's walk report will follow the pictures.
We're a group of seventeen today. It's the 'International Wigtownshire Ramblers' today as we have as guest walkers one young lady from France and another from New Zealand.

The walk begins from Caldons Car Park and we're taking the newly laid paths eastwards on the southern shore of Loch Trool. The first thing that grabs my attention is this strange looking fungus coming up through the pine needles. It's not in my book, but I've identified it on the net as Clavarioid or Coral fungus. Lovely ! 

The path initially takes us away from the Water of Trool, but eventually returns to the lochside where i take some zooms of Glentrool Lodge on the northern shore.

It's an undulating path. Once the new stones have bedded in the walking will be more comfortable.

Another zoom gets 'The Buchan' and one of the many waterfalls on the Buchan burn.

My Canon Powershot SX40HS doesn't need an extra lens when I can zoom in this far. These ducks were barely visible to the naked eye.

Still zooming I photograph Bruce's Stone, Benyellery and some more of Glentrool Lodge.

We stop at a nice viewpoint for the distribution of the sweeties.

We are on part of the Southern Upland Way hence the solid footbridges at Glenhead.

A short detour brings us to the ruins Glenhead Farm in remarkably good condition. The Forestry Commission want to demolish it. I personally think it would make a good bothy for walkers of the S.U.W but I suppose in these times of austerity there's no money for such a project.

Our next short stop on the return route is at the wonderfully tumbling Gairland Burn. It's always breathtaking.

The bridge over the Buchan burn comes next.

On one side of the bridge is this verse by Sir Walter Scott.

Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!

And on the other side it states.

This road from the Esconchan Gate to Buchan and this Bridge was designed and executed by Randolph 1X Earl of Galloway AD 1861

A short climb brings us to our lunch spot at Bruce's Stone erected to commemorate Bruce's victory at the 'Battle of Glentrool' 

Here's our international visitors giving Scotland a friendly wave.

Another view of Buchan Lodge from Bruce's Stone

Back on the move it's a downhill road walk.

We'd normally take a forest track to get back to Caldons, but forestry operations mean we have to keep to the road.
Back at Caldons car park we divest ourselves of our rucksacks and cross over to the southern bank of the Water of Trool to begin walking east.

This info board can be read by right clicking and selecting 'Open in new tab', then clicking on the picture in that new tab.

I've blogged this Martyr's Tomb before but more information can be found on the British Listed Buildings site.

My ice sculpture pictures albeit small are beginning to take shape. 

After walking around half a mile and reaching the point where the Water of Trool had flooded we find that the water had now receded. However because the walk had already been changed we would conclude the walk by retracing our steps to the car park.

Spotting this dead tree on the way back I took a closer look. Scoop soon followed.

The dead tree must be a Birch since these are Hoof Fungus and Birch Polypore which only grow on Birch trees.

 My fellow snapper also took some wonderful pictures, and many of these will be available in the new year on when I get the site sorted out. (Regarding there's a problem at the moment if the browser is I.E, but no problem on other browsers)

Thanks for the pictures Scoop.

On our return to Newton Stewart our scheduled after walk tea and scones was due to be taken in the Belted Galloway. Because of the flooding earlier in the week it was still closed, however the proprietor was kind enough to arrange the Old Toll House in his other establishment The Galloway Arms Hotel for our use. 
A lovely end to a very enjoyable day's walking.

Here's the 'Milkmaid''s report. She's related to 'Wheels' you know !

Wigtownshire Ramblers report 24/11/12

On Saturday, 17 ramblers, including two visitors, one from New Zealand and one from Normandy, met at Caldons car park, Glen Trool, for a circular walk around Loch Trool. This was shorter than originally intended. Part of the walk was abandoned due to flooding of the Water of Trool. 
Setting off through the old campsite the air was fresh and crisp, the trees and undergrowth coated with frost. A red squirrel was spotted in the branches overhead. 
When the new footpath along the south side of Loch Trool was reached, it was found to be a big improvement over the old one. In spite of the recent bad weather, the going was dry and clean, a welcome respite from the mud the group has become accustomed to. The walkers enjoyed the views along this part of the walk. With very little wind, the still waters of Loch Trool reflected the trees perfectly. The Fell of Eschoncan, Benyellary and Buchan Hill were clothed in the burnt orange colours of dead bracken leaves and grasses. 
On reaching the end of Loch Trool a visit was paid to Glenhead farmhouse where walkers found the doors and windows blocked up with breeze blocks. This classic Galloway farmhouse is facing demolition if no other use can be found for it soon.
Pausing to admire the Gairland burn in spate, and the waterfall at Buchan Bridge the group arrive at Bruce’s Stone for lunch. This monument was erected in 1929 to commemorate Robert the Bruce’s first victory over an English army in the Scottish wars of independence. 
The path along the north side of Loch Trool was closed due to logging. Larch trees in this area have been infected by the fungus-like pathogen Phytophthora ramorum which can kill a tree in one growing season.  Once the disease has been detected felling is essential to control the outbreak and stop it spreading to our native trees.
Walkers made their way down the road to reach Caldons car park, where rucksacks were stored in cars. A visit was then made to the nearby Martyrs Tomb which marks the place where six covenanters were killed while at prayer in 1685. From here the group continued to the Water of Trool, pausing to admire bracket fungi on the trunk of a dead tree, before returning to their cars.
 Tea, scones and a roaring fire were enjoyed at The Galloway Arms Hotel in Newton Stewart. 
The next walk on Saturday 1st December is a 9 1/2 mile walk from New Luce to Castle Kennedy. The walk starts at 10 am at New Luce village hall (NX175 645). Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart, and the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.30am. If going straight to the start of the walk please phone the walk leader on 01776 700707. New members are always welcome.


  1. Many people I know say November is not a month for walks but I kind of like this time of the year. And it seems you, too, have had a good day out! Very nice pictures.

  2. I love so many things about this walk Jim, it has to be one of my favorite places. I agree the lodge would make a fab both. Happy to see your tiny frost sculpture photos I tried to get some last winter and failed. Love the coral fungi too, nature is so amazing in all its detail. Hope your keeping warm & dry! ;)

  3. Was down that way myself recently Jim.Great area.Never seen the burns so full of water before but it looks a good day weather wise too.

  4. Sensational walk with visitors from afar joining in! It looked very cold! Tea and scones was just the thing after this adventure. Your ice sculptures are indeed amazing!

  5. Interesting fungus. Never seen coral fungus before and hoof fungus was used by the ancients for carrying fire embers about.
    Ice! haven't seen any of that yet in Kirkcudbright.

  6. Thanks for your welcome comments good people, I'll catch up with you all soon.

  7. you are just so lucky! I would LOVE to be a part of your group!! Bet those international visitors will be back!
    I always enjoy your photos.

  8. have to say the new path around the loch rather spoils it for me liked it the way it was


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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