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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Leswalt Circular 23rd February 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers 23rd February 2013
Leswalt/Lochnaw Circular
Today's walk was due to be a coastal to Dally Bay, but was changed due to an excess of mud and impassable obstructions.
We've walked this way a number of times before. Here's a few links to previous walks.

The walk report will follow the pictures
After parking up our first stop is the Aldouran Wetland Garden
Looking at the early colour here it's obvious the gulf stream is warming up this part of Galloway

The bird hide has lots of information in it

I had this rare stick insect pointed out to me so I had to take a photograph. Someone tried to say it was just the branches. pah !

Heading up Aldouran Glen

We saw swathes of snowdrops today

This post intrigued me.
Apparently it's only one of five in the whole of the u.k.
I'm still not sure what it's about. It's probably the shopping website sponsoring small sections of woodland

Field-mouse view

Lochnaw Loch formerly known as White Loch. Quite a lot of swans and geese on the loch.
What I can't get my head around is surely it began life as Loch Naw ?

 Approaching the castle

 Our leader imparts some of the history of the castle

 A closer look at Lochnaw Castle

Belted Galloways

 The Elarwi tribe, lost in the rhododendrons

The Plaque reads  "Built by John 26th Lord Kinsale August 1820"

Here's a bit of information from a fellow walker
"According to page 28 of Glimpses around Old Loch Ryan the tower’s named after Kinsale in south-west Ireland, home of Martha de Courcy, Lord Kinsale’s daughter, who eloped with and married Andrew Agnew, heir to the seventh baronet of Lochnaw. Four months after the wedding he died before his father aged 26. Tradition has it that the tower was built so a homesick Martha could view her homeland. This is unlikely as the tower has no interior and access to the top was by an exterior ladder.
Probably the tower was a signal station, from which white sheets were displayed to tell Agnew relatives in Larne about the birth of a child at Lochnaw.
Andrew and Martha’s son, who spent his early years at Kinsale, succeeded to the estate and had thirteen children. (So some poor sod would have been busy climbing the ladder to wave a white sheet.)"

  More snowdrops as we head south

 Lochnaw Home Farm

These kids seemed to be enjoying themselves

 During World War 2 Lochnaw was an RAF Camp with a 700 bed hospital.
1500 men were based here. The buildings above are remnants from that time

 The loch side


Canada Geese and the castle

 We've two K9's today, Tilly and Charlie.
Bottom right above is Kaa from the Jungle Book, I've no idea why he's here

 The walled garden

 Heading back

The great danes


Going back to the gulf stream, all over the Rhinns, north and south are trees and plants of a tropical nature.
And of course there is the Logan Botanical Gardens
They do occasionally get snow but not too often and it usually doesn't lie.

Heading back into Leswalt

The Agnew Mausoleum in Leswalt

In the car park at Soleburn Garden Centre.

A dry slighly overcast morning saw twenty two walkers meet at Leswalt for today's outing.
Leaving the village, the walk began by crossing the boardwalks of the Aldouran Wetland garden.Signs of spring were evident in the budding crocuses and daffodils.
A short break was taken at the bird hide to read the information boards detailing the local wildlife in the area.
Now the path led into the scenic Aldouran Glen where swathes of snowdrops blanketed the forest floor and waterfalls tumbled.
An intriguing wooden post with a small plaque declaring it to be " Post Number Three" was later discovered to be only one of five in the UK marking little bits of woodland sponsored through the Woodland Trust.
At the top of the glen a short road walk brought the group to High Mark and the entrance to the Lochnaw estate.
Snowdrops again lined the track as the group passed through White Ward wood. Soon the track ran alongside Lochnaw Loch and the island where the original Lochnaw Castle was situated was pointed out. Numerous swans, cygnets and geese were seen on the loch. A small herd of belted galloways in an adjoining field kept pace with the ramblers until a fence halted their progress.
On reaching the magnificent Lochnaw Castle, the walk leader imparted much of it's history, and how the present owners rescued it from dereliction.
A winding climbing muddy track now led up through Craighead wood to reach Kinsale Tower. The final ascent to the tower needed careful navigation through the maze of rhododendron bushes surrounding the hilltop. An inscription high up the tower reads "Built by John 26th Lord Kinsale August 1820". His daughter Martha de Courcy married Andrew Agnew, son of the 6th Bart., in 1792. Four months after the wedding Andrew died aged 26. Tradition has it that the tower was built so a homesick Martha could view her Irish homeland.
After a short break at the tower the group now retraced their steps downhill to access an estate track to the south. This was followed until the track leading to Lochnaw Home Farm was reached. Here the riding stables were busy with half a dozen youngsters having pony riding lessons.
Now a track led to the renovated stable block passing the ruins of what was the laundry room when Lochnaw was a world war two hospital.
A short walk along the western edge of Lochnaw Loch brought the group to an embankment overlooking the loch and castle . With a wonderful view lunch was taken. Two swans and a Canada goose kept the walkers company.
After lunch a short walk led to the walled garden containing one of the finest collection of fruit trees in the UK. The gardens weren't accessed but viewed through the gates.
Now beginning the return leg of the walk the castle was again passed. Particular attention was paid to the magnificent pair of stone great danes known as the KInsale Hounds. The outward route was now retraced to the top of Aldouran glen where a track led through to Glenhead. With views over Loch Ryan and occasional sunshine the road now led back to Leswalt. Passing Leswalt Old Parish Kirk Graveyard, some of the walkers paid a visit to read inscriptions on the walls of the Agnew of Lochnaw Mausoleum.
An interesting dry and not too taxing walk was topped with a visit to the Soleburn Garden Centre cafe for refreshments.

Next week’s walk is a moderate six and a half mile walk to the Silver Rigg Mine. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9.30 am, the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.00 am or the walk start at High Camer Wood Picnic Site NX 365 732. New walkers are most welcome. For more information or directions please contact the walk leader on 01776 840226


  1. A very interesting post Jim accompanied with some excellent photos showing Spring is near.

  2. I loved the stick insect Jim. The photos of the early flowers show us that Spring is on it's way. See you soon.

  3. love that stick with the face on it!
    love the spring flowers
    i believe they are far away from us yet, we had more snow today.... though the sun popped out for a lovely sunset.

    sweet to see another walk and all the treasures it holds.

  4. Good to see the snowdrops and Daffs out again Jim. Soon be T shirt and bikini time on the Scottish mountains once more. And that's just me. Bring it on.

  5. Hi Sandy, I hope your weather at your end of the shire's been as good as ours, cold but beautiful blue skies.

    Thanks Gordon, good to see you out and about. I need to text you my new mobile number, the old one's about to be retired.

    Hello Tammie, it's amazing how nature paints pictures isn't it. Looking at a tree in the woods at the top of my garden I can see a unicorn.

    A bikini Bob ? I've thought I'd like to grow a pair of manboobs just for the company ! As Cornershop sang "Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow"

  6. Castles and early spring flowers.....oh lucky you! I look forward to seeing the pictures of your adventuresome walks!

  7. The spring flowers make me want to skip March - it's still very snowy here, although we've had a thaw for a few days now and some of the snow has already melted away. But the temperature will plummet during the weekend, they say...


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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