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Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Wigtownshire Ramblers Silver Rig March 2013

Saturday the 2nd of March.
Today's walk is a circular taking in the Silver Rig Mine.
Here's the link to my last visit here.
Today's leader is the 'Weaver' and her report will appear below.
There are twenty nine walkers today.
After parking up at High Camer we head south through Low Camer Wood.................

................where there are lots of new information boards

From Cordorcan heading east a track leads to the Silver Rig Mine

We've a few guests among the walkers today.

For the technically minded there's a P.D.F from the PDMHS concerning the Silver Rig, Pibble and Woodhead Mines

Down to the 'Wheel Pit'

Looking around the Water Wheel Housing

The Silver Rig Loch (Source of the water to drive the wheel)


.....................and burns

Lunchtime on the Pulniskie Burn

Fabulous waterfalls

I must try and get back here in the summer

After lunch and back on the move, the increase in forestry activity is evident.
All due to Phytophthora Ramorum apparently

A group picture under Black Doon

The Water of Minnoch

The Old Bridge of Minnoch also known as the Roman Bridge. Here's what Canmore say's about it.
"A 17th or 18th century pack horse bridge locally alleged to be Roman".
I'm of the opinion of others who believe the name came from the gypsies (Romanies)

Following the Water of Minnoch south

Fishing pegs.
I do believe Robert the Bruce came this way for the Battle of Glentrool
Look here

Minnoch Bridge near Borgan

Forest track then path to Camer woods

Camer ruins and two petrified heads atop a drystane wall

Walk finish.
It's off to Cinnamon for scones now.
Apart from the odd moment of 'Mizzle', the weather stayed fine.
A very enjoyable walk.

The 'Weaver's' report will appear here when I have it.

.............and here it is.........
Ramblers report Silver Rig mine March 2nd 2013

The beautiful weather in the week must have encouraged an exceptional number of ramblers to turn out for the Saturday walk when 29 walkers assembled at High Camer Picnic Site. As the ground here was quite soft, it was with grateful thanks that the offer of hard standing in a neighbour’s garden was taken up by many drivers.
Four guest walkers/potential members were welcomed to the group.

The walk headed off south down the road, for a path leading through Low Camer woods. The restoration of these ancient oak woodlands is managed by the Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust, a local charity which is a partnership of expert representatives from official interested bodies. Set up in 1998 with a vision of managing the habitats of woodlands bordering the Cree ‘from source to sea’, in this wood it has provided interpretation boards which tell of the flowers, insects, and birds to be seen. Bird boxes and squirrel feeders were much in evidence, but the undergrowth had not yet started to show through the dead grasses. The splendour of the winter woodlands depended on views of the River Cree seen through a screen of gnarled and muted colours provided by the sleeping trees.

Next an indistinct track was followed leading to the Silver Rig Lead Mine. A report by CFA Archeology LTD in 2002 contained a plan and interpretation of the mine which was thought to relate to three distinct phases. With this plan it was easy to see the open cast features from the eighteenth century; the following underground mining of the nineteenth century and the later technical innovations which included the remains of a waterwheel pit and its attendant lade system. The group spent some time exploring the remains before moving on over tussocky ground to Silver Rig Loch, a man made, earth banked reservoir, which supplied water for the mine wheel.

The loch was much silted with a boggy surface and only patches of open water, but the original outflow with remains of a wooden sluice system was found before the party moved on around the banks and once more into tussocky ground interspersed with woodland. After some rough walking, trying to keep to open grassland, a dyke was reached which now could be followed to a forest road.

It is sad to see how many larch trees are being felled because of phytophthora ramorum, the fungus like disease which is now spreading rapidly, causing resin bleed and eventually a dying off of branches and then whole trees.  A slight compensation means that the lie of the countryside is much easier to see; crags and hills have been revealed where previous views were negated by overshadowing trees.  The green forest road had been ploughed up by heavy vehicles transporting timber, but the open path made rapid walking to a lunch spot by the Pulniskie burn.

Former use of these upland pastures were demonstrated by ruined sheep pens set in particularly beautiful surroundings, with a series of waterfalls making delightful company for the ramblers at rest. Deep pools, water gliding over large flat rocks, tumbling along series of jagged outcrops and cascading down from higher falls delighted the photographers and made the lunch stop a rather protracted one.

Back on the forest road the walk then led westwards to the river Minnoch and the Roman Bridge, a photogenic pack horse bridge which once took long forgotten tracks across the river. Here the damage caused by the flooded river during the winter was plain to see. The path alongside the bridge is undercut, river pebbles are strewn for long distances beside the banks and debris is scattered far and wide. This storm damage continued to be remarked upon as the company walked the east bank of the Minnoch back to Borgan Bridge and the road.

The last section of the walk took once more to the Cree Valley Woodlands, High Camer Woods. An exploratory stop was made at the old farm steading of Camer, hidden amongst hazel saplings, dead bracken and brambles. From here it was a small step to the cars, but first an enormous badger set with numerous sandy openings was sought out, though no badgers were in evidence in the daylight and with noisy company nearby.

Although the walk was only six miles long, it was tiring terrain and the ramblers were glad to retire to ‘Cinnamon’ in Newton Stewart, for a warm welcome and delicious refreshments.

Next week’s walk is an 8½ mile ‘B’ walk in the upper Fleet Valley. Meet for car sharing at Breastworks, Stranraer, 9am. Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30am, or SNH Dromore Car Park, NX 555 638, for walk start at 10am. New walkers must phone walk leader for further information 01776 870441. All are welcome.


  1. We here need to take lesson on how to make and present information boards - those are a work of art. As I was following the post the waterfalls were an unexpected surprise. You must go again in summer, don't forget your togs.
    Do you have a link Jim regarding the building of bridges similar to Old Bridge? It's really remarkable.
    I see you had a canine friend along.
    Great photos, wonderful walk!

  2. Jim, incredible scenery the whole way. An awesome place to welcome the beginning of March. Have a great week!
    : )

  3. wow this is gorgeous and scones sounds lovely :)

  4. Hello Rose, yes the boards are great aren't they. This area I live in has only two real industries, farming and tourism. Out and about at the moment the tourist folk are really busy in the gardens, woods, and visitor's centers sprucing stuff up for the season. With reference to the pack horse bridge, there are lots of pictures around, but very little information on ours. Wikipedia have an extensive list of English pack horse bridges where a few have the technical information alongside. I'm sure somewhere in the archives of our local library the answer to our 'Old bridge of Minnoch' lies.

    ˁ˚ᴥ˚ˀ We had Tilly along with us, I forgot to give her a mention.

    Thanks Michael, good to see spring is in the air with you too.

    The scones were delicious Lynn, here's one for you..........(⌒⌒)....and a coffee c[_]

  5. Looks a varied walk. I've been in that area a few years ago but we were summit bound as usual so didn't see much as it was misty.


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