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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Wigtownshire Rambler Finnarts Bay to Cairnryan January 2013

Today's walk is one we know well.
We're a group of twenty four today. We're catching a bus in Cairnryan to take us up to the walk start at the disused Pinneys fish factory on Finnarts Bay.
The 'Weaver' is today's report writer and it will follow the photographs.
It's a bright morning as we get to Cairnryan, there are ferries from both terminals on the move as we arrive.
Our group nearly fill the bus.

The snowy collage below is courtesy of our walk leaders from their recce earlier in the week.
Gorgeous scenes

Leaving Finnarts Bay

Looking up Altygunnach Glen and a lovely yew tree

Beaters and the truck they arrived in at Finnarts Farm. The shooters are on their way, they pass us in a number of up market four track vehicles.  

Approaching Glenapp

The Water of App and Coastal Path information boards

I was a little late in taking this picture, but what it was, was a group of 4 or 5 buzzards being harried by 2 crows. Here's the answer to the question. Thanks to Adam Bimpson for this information.
Crows are large enough to pose a real nuisance to most birds of prey. There are three things that really make corvids a pest to raptors:-
1. Intelligence - Their response is slightly more than flight or fight
2. Aerial performance - Their wing shape allows them to turn and stop quickly.
3. Size - Large enough to really harry the raptor.
These three combined give the crows the edge as they are better able to judge just how "far they can go" with a raptor.
Crows will frequently have a go at large raptors, buzzards, goshawks etc. Ravens are very intolerant of Golden Eagles in their territories. Crows will also gang up on raptors, the benefit of numbers.

Now following the Loch Ryan Coastal Path

Here we come across an information board telling the story of the aviatrix Elsie Mackay

The March Burn

Forest track through Low Mark Plantation

Lots of tree felling due to the larch-killing phytophthora ramorum disease.

Lunchtime overlooking Loch Ryan

Heading along the 'Old Park of the Gleick'

As the darker rain clouds loom in the west, the Stena Line terminal gives off an ethereal glow

The Galloway Burn, the border between Ayrshire and Wigtownshire

The ovine frontline ?

Lairds Hill down to Cairnryan.
The P & O European Highlander leaves the terminal as the Stena Superfast VII manoeuvres for berthing. 

Myself and a couple of other walkers take some video

The music accompanying my clip is a composition by Moby called 'Division' from the album 'Wait for me' 

As the Stena Ferry docks another information board gives details of Cairnryan's military and industrial past.

The walk finish, the car park in the foreground.

Here's the Weaver's report

Ramblers’ report, Saturday 26th January 2013.
Glen App to Cairnryan.

With the cars left at Cairnryan, 24 walkers took the bus to Finnarts Bay for a leisurely walk of 7 miles, which was to include part of the Lochryan Coastal Path. In great contrast to the previous wet and stormy day, the weather was kind, the snow left by the last week almost completely washed away by rain, and even the sunshine appearing for brief moments.

The route began by passing the former Finnart’s fish processing factory, now in a dilapidated state but remembered well by the walkers, with one of the number reminiscing about working there. From here a small hump backed bridge crossed the tumbling burn of the Water of App and an estate road led through Garry wood alongside carpets of snowdrops to Finnarts farm and the ruined remains of the mansion house. The cylindrical dovecot on the hillside above was a collecting point for beaters, soon joined for a shoot by the guns passed along the road.

The next stretch coincided with the Ayrshire Coastal path which led back across the Bridge of the Mark over the Water of App to the little gem of Glenapp kirk. Unfortunately there was not time to visit the memorial to Elsie Mackay, Lord Inchcape’s high flying daughter, who disappeared in a presumed air accident in 1928.

The path south from here becomes the Lochryan coastal path which climbs steeply up above the A77. One burn falling in small cascades with the light behind illuminating the peaty brown water was particularly beautiful. Magnificent views across Glenapp to Sandloch and Penderry hills made the hard going well worthwhile, with Lochryan itself coming into view and a brief glimpse of a ferry sailing down the loch.

Buzzards floated in the sky above whilst a forest road was followed, leaving the coastal path temporarily to avoid much of the wet boggy ground. A new double deer stalkers’ ladder with good views down the intersecting forest rides announced that it could only be climbed by authorised personnel. This area had provided a fairyland spectacle earlier in the week, when snow lay on the ground and decorated the trees to look like crinolines.

The forest had been felled further on, and it was here that a line of tree stumps made dry seats for the ramblers, who sat resembling a line of pixies having lunch. The views were now over the rolling hills above Cairnryan, which would make the returning route.

After leaving the forest road the way became boggy, the recent rain swelling the moorland drains and creating the perfect conditions for reeds and peaty quagmires. The Lochryan Coastal path was rejoined by a series of bog hopping and squelching areas alongside a dry stone dyke.

Soon the border between Ayrshire and Wigtownshire was crossed at the Galloway Burn and lucky timing showed two ferries passing in the waters below. Across the loch could be seen the woodland on Clachan Heughs, north of Kirkcolm, which had been laid out in the exact formation of Sir John Moore’s troops at the battle of Corunna in 1809 by Moore’s brother or nephew, who inherited Corsewall estate. Unfortunately the ‘Ace of Spades’ wood is straggling a bit now.

Another war gave the area more remains; when the top of the rise was reached the ruins of gun emplacements and ancillary buildings were explored by some walkers. The site was to have been an anti-aircraft battery for four 3.7 inch guns, one of four such batteries built to protect the military port in Lochryan, but it is not certain that the guns were ever removed from their covered storage place.

The Taxing Stone was the last historical interest of the walk. A six foot high standing stone which is said to mark the burial of King Appin, murdered in Glenapp in 741, was also the old boundary between the kingdoms of Galloway and Carrick.

From here it was downhill back to the picnic place in Cairnryan, enhanced by good views over the new port. An easy end to a delightful walk, on an unexpectedly bright and rainless day, brought the ramblers back to the cars and on to ‘Stir It’ in Stranraer for welcome social refreshments.

Next week’s walk, on 2nd February, will be an 8 mile saunter through Dunskey Estate woods, a C walk. Meet for car sharing 9am Riverside, Newton Stewart; 9.30am Breastworks, Stranraer; or 10am at Portpatrick South car park for the walk start. New walkers are most welcome, but must phone the walk leader first for more information. 01776 700707

1 comment:

  1. Good post Jim. That's a hell of a lot of trees felled due to disease.
    Drax power station(Biggest in UK) is meant to be switching to burning 50% timber in the near future instead of coal. Just as well they are getting most of the wood from Canada.


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