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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Knockman Wood/Garlies Castle February 2013

Saturday the 9th of February.
Today's walk is an area we know well.
My most recent trip was in the Snow in January
Other old posts can be seen here Garlies
and here Knockman Wood

Today's leader is Shorty with NotDolian as his back up.
His report will follow later.
There are twenty one of us today. A misty but dry start got damper as the day progressed.
I'll be publishing a few pictures from Wednesday's recce to brighten up the was a much nicer day. 
The scene as I left my house for Wednesday's recce.

Shorty, shortly into the walk explains the forestry lay out of the area

Recce views, fungi and chambered cairn

A bigger picture of the cairn

Lots to read

We passed the time of day with these nice folk, also walkers, from Gatehouse of Fleet

It's the last push up to the top of Knockman Hill

Back on the recce, I was taking the view when Shorty stepped into the frame

After describing all the views (they couldn't be seen), our leader distributed the confectionery

I zoomed in on the recce to get this view of Penninghame House, I quite fancy The Ultimate Health Experience

We disturbed deer on the recce, there's three in the picture

Macro shots of Honeysuckle buds

The first burn crossing. The damp in the air is penetrating my camera........

..........I'll put it away for a while

Approaching Garlies Castle on the recce

Lunch is taken in and around the castle, it's not a four star joint nowadays is it ?.

I think the big burn is the Pulcree, a confluence of the Castle Burn and the Peat Rig Strand (and then again it might be either of the latter two)

Emerging from Garlies Wood, these were the views on Wednesday

I can just about make out the mast over at Risk today

Shorty had effected a little drainage engineering on the recce. The results were very effective, but not extensive enough............a JCB would probably be better than a size twelve boot

Last picture on this post. It's a happy smiling 'Teacher' and the Millennium Cairn.
Now we're all off to the Galloway Arms for scones and butter and jam and coffee and tea.

So long as there's nothing in this post to upset Shorty, I'm hoping he'll forward his report as usual which will appear here when he sends it.
A very enjoyable outing despite the mist.

Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 9 February 213 – Knockman Wood & Garlies Castle

Twenty-one ramblers assembled at the Forestry Commission car park at Knockman wood near Minnigaff.  The weather was overcast with low cloud but the forecast hinted at better things later in the day so they set off up the new forest road towards the summit of Knockman Hill.  As they went they were distracted by a loud whistling noise; apparently a bird call. None of the walkers could identify it.  The road climbed through the coniferous woods and soon reached the old deer park dyke which formed the boundary with the areas managed by the Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust.  Here the conifers had been cleared and a mixture of older oak woods, new broadleaved planting and open spaces provided a more open aspect.  A newly repaired path led the group steadily up the hill towards the Boreland Chambered Cairn.

The group paused briefly to examine the cairn and then continued to follow the rough track through the wood pasture zone towards the summit of the hill.  Numerous information boards outlined the environmental interest in the area.  On the way up they met a small group of walkers who were resting on their way back from the summit.  They had intended to make a more strenuous walk in the hills but had changed their plans because of the weather.  The group then climbed onwards and upwards into the mist.  When they reached the summit cairn they paused while the leader pointed out the fine views which were available.  Unfortunately none were visible in the mist.

The ramblers then left the prepared path and followed deer tracks down the hill while trying to avoid the worst of the boggy ground.  They soon reached the lower path and turned northwards to continue to descend gently.  A deer fence which enclosed a regeneration area followed the left side of the path.  At the lowest point of the fence the group again turned off the prepared path and followed the deer fence until turned back up the hill.  At this point the group could then see the effect of an earlier deer fence where the growth of trees was abruptly cut off at the old fence line.

At this point the walkers left the fence and followed the harder ground through groups of oak and alder trees down to the old deer dyke; an impressive dry stone wall nearly 2 metres high.  An old gateway gave access onto the open moor.  The route crossed a small burn and an area of mixed rocky and boggy ground to reach the old track marked on the maps.  The line of the track was just discernible over the grassy land and led to the site of an old ferm toun; a collection of long abandoned ruins where once families would have scratched a living from the unforgiving land.  Beyond the ruins the track led down to Garlies Wood which surrounds the castle.

On reaching the castle the ramblers spread out among various perches to take their lunches.  As they ate the rain began to drizzle from the leaden skies but the trees and ruins provided adequate shelter.  After lunch the group headed down through the woods to the Peat Rigg Strand.  This is a substantial burn.  Fortunately it was not running too fiercely and the group crossed largely dry shod.  The route then led up through an attractive stand of oak trees to another gate in the deer dyke.  They then emerged into open, if somewhat soggy, grazing land and they followed the wheel tracks of a farm vehicle down to the track in the valley.  The track took them past the Glenmalloch Schoolhouse.  The group wondered how a teacher had managed twenty-five girls in such a small room.

Beyond the schoolhouse the track ran along the wall of the Cumloden policy woods with its large trees and dense rhododendron.  Near the end of the policies the group crossed the moorland to reach the old track which leads back to the Pheasant Liggat in Knockman Wood.  A small diversion took them to the top of Torbain, a low grassy hill with a Millennium cairn on its summit.  The group crossed the hill and regained the track which they followed back to the cars.  The somewhat damp ramblers then returned to the Galloway Arms in Newton Stewart for tea and scones and a warm fire.  They were pleased to meet another rambler who is recovering from a broken leg but had made the effort to join them.

Next week’s event is a moderate 8.5 mile walk along the coast from the Isle of Whithorn to Garlieston.  Meet at 09:00 at the Breastworks Car Park, Stranraer or 09:30 at the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart to share transport.  The group will start with a bus from Garlieston at 10:30 to the start of the walk.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01988 840268 to discuss the details.


  1. I don't know how but I missed an important mention in posting. We were joined in the Galloway Arms by a certain Ayrshire Blogger who'd caught the bus down on his still mending broken leg, won some money on a wager and got a lift back home from the 'Ranger'. He's a one that Slew is!

  2. Sounds like a great fun outing Jim. Wonderful scenery, great pics and the scenes really cooled me down. We're still in heatwave mode here with airconditioners doing overtime to give relief.
    Pleased you ended the day with tea a scones!

  3. Great to see you all yesterday and to read your kind comments. Arrived back in Ayr safely after a pleasant drive with the "Ranger" I will never say anything against lady drivers again!

  4. Jim, great shots of your walk, I think the misty photos are actually pretty awesome. We can't always have blue sky.
    As usual I'm just trying to keep up with blogger land. Hope all is well.

    Cheers. : )

  5. Love the honeysuckle bud photos Jim. A complete World inside a dew drop.
    A P House health experience sounds as if it would purge you of
    gold coins with the queens head on them as well. Lovely house and grounds though.

  6. Hi Rose, we could do with your heatwave, it's bloody cold today.
    I hope you DIY tools are doing the job.

    Great to see you too Gordon, it takes a lot more than a double fracture to keep a good man down. Happy Healing to Gordon's Blog

    Thanks Annmarie, have a great day today on Abe Lincoln's birthday.

    Hi Michael,thanks for visiting. At this time of year we get a lot of unseasonable weather. Back when I was a kid we got real winters. All I can say to whoever it concerns is PLEASE STOP CUTTING DOWN THE RAIN FORESTS, you're ruining the planet.

    I need to experiment more with my macro shots Bob, it took about ten takes before I got what I wanted.
    As for Penninghame House, their clientele are a league or two above me in the wealth stakes. You just need to see some of the names on the testimonials. Maybe I can make some money by hanging around the entrance gates and photographing whoever's high up the celebrity list and selling them to glossy magazines.

  7. ooh, love that second macro of the honeysuckle

    wonderful to see all your photos
    another fabulous walk!

  8. Thanks for visiting Tammie, have a nice day.


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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