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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers The Clints of Dromore March 2013

Today's walk is over the Clints of Dromore at the Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve

The walk report follows the pictures (which aren't very good this week) .

Adverse weather keeps our numbers down to ten today (which is a coincidence since the last time we walked on the Clints of Dromore we had the same number)

Seeing this marvelous Red Kite reminded me of a Raptors display I'd seen here back in 2009.
I also uploaded some shaky videos at the time and if anyone thinks their eyes can withstand it here's the links.

Big Water of Fleet and Viaduct

We didn't visit 'Heart' on today's walk. From 2010, this is just to give a location clue to anyone who goes looking
(Little Cullendoch on the O.S.)


Short steep climb a view back to the farm and visitor's centre.

The Clints on a brighter day.
There's a very good website for interested rock climbers here

Hush !

" past Ocean, over the stile, venture up where the ravens call and look down on the inbye"

Which way now ?

Although you can't see the snow it was wet and heavy

This is the only goat picture I could use. I should remember to take my pocket camera when the weather is bad.

Tunnel for vertically challenged people !

Lots of frog spawn today.

The Visitors Centre

The forecast for Saturday the 16th at the moment is sunshine and showers, so I think the walk at Dunaskin will go ahead. However, if it changes to persistent heavy rain, I've said that it's not really worth travelling that distance and I'll fall back to an alternative Newton Stewart Circular walk for the day. Unless potential walkers hear from me or the Ramblers on Thursday or Friday, assume the walk is going ahead. 

Wigtownshire Ramblers Walk Report
Saturday the 9th of March 2013

Ten walkers met at the Cairnsmore Nature Reserve Visitors Centre for the walk start. On arrival a light drizzle developed.
Before a stride could be taken the group were treated to a magnificent aerial display by a large red kite taking little notice of the interlopers below. 
Suitably attired for a possible worsening of the weather they began by following the Big Water of Fleet northwards towards the viaduct.
Here they came upon one of the five sculptures dotted around the reserve. This one was on a rock in the middle of the river hanging from a link chain and is called Scene Shifters. Created by artist Matt Baker each is accompanied by a poem written by Mary Smith. This one begins "Millions of years in the making moorland, hill and heather, mosses and bog. A continuous chain of actions, reactions –"
Along the river bank there was evidence of recent flooding. 
On reaching the viaduct, the disused railway, the 'Paddy Line' was joined for a short distance westwards. Along here another sculpture 'Ocean' was viewed. It hangs on a chain in a railway cutting. 
A short distance away a stile with a way marker declaring 'Mountain End Path' led to the moorland at the base of the crags of the Clints of Dromore. Now began the relatively short but steep climb through the heather to the first of the crags. The drizzle now turned to sleet and eventually to wet snow which continued for most of the traverse across the craggy tops. A Wheatear was spotted flitting around the heather. Here the only real views of the day saw the Water of Fleet snaking south towards Gatehouse of Fleet. Cloud and mist hung over neighbouring summits.   
Undulating rocky crags, heather and tussocks were now crossed to reach the sculpture called 'Hush'. Each sculpture has a clue to it's whereabouts and this one was " past Ocean, over the stile, venture up where the ravens call and look down on the inbye". This sculpture is a set of five boulders carved with upward facing mouths each chained to the rocky outcrop it sits on. 
Upon reaching the steep 'Deep Nick of Dromore', the walk leader, taking the weather into consideration, decided against a direct crossing. A diversion two hundred yards to the north meant a shallower crossing. Here a lone logging machine was loading felled timber, this was another section of forestry lost through the spreading Larch disease.
The snow continued falling as more craggy summits were crossed finally reaching the highest of the day, Mountain End at 294 metres. 
Slippery wet slopes and heather were now descended with care to reach the moorland below the Clints where sheep grazed. After crossing the Russon Burn the route now headed east underneath the rocky edifices. On reaching the lower end of the Deep Nick of Dromore a family of six or seven goats were spotted. With a couple of delightful kids in their midst they took to the upper slopes to avoid confrontation.
Now the snow turned back to light rain as the path led through two flake gates and the occasional boggy ground.
A small brick tunnel led under the disused railway.It was probably built for cattle or sheep since the majority of the group had to stoop low to get through. 
After passing some sheep pens at the rear of Dromore farm, a farm track now led back to the Nature Reserve Visitors Centre. The walk concluded in the Visitor Centre, where information boards told of the local flora and fauna, as well as the reserve’s history and geology.
After walk refreshments were enjoyed in the warmth of the Gem Rock cafe.

The next walk, on Saturday the 16th of March will be a 6 mile circular taking in the scenic Dunaskin Glen. Meet at the Riverside car park Newton Stewart at 9.15 am,the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.15 am for car sharing, or at the walk start at the ‘Dunaskin Visitors Centre' (NS 440 085) at 10.30am. In the event of heavy rain being forecast this walk will be replaced by an alternative Newton Stewart Circular walk.
New members are always welcome, for more information, directions or if going to the walk start, contact the walk leader on 01671 403351


  1. Hi Jim.
    Thought that was a very interesting post. Liked the sculptures and the vulture chasing people.
    Didn't realise the Clints had so many good routes. I had that earlier Lowlands outcrops book that omitted them.(2 routes- no stars) We used to visit Meikle Ross and Clifton Crag
    fairly often over the years so would have gone there for a day if we'd known there was enough routes there to make it worthwhile.

  2. what a walking experience...good for you guys! and those lovely!!!
    I would join you guys in a heartbeat!

  3. Interesting pieces of art along the route, Jim.

  4. Interesting to see you've got feral goats as well us Jim

  5. There are a few challenges from the viaduct Bob. I've often come across serious walkers and climbers over there.

    Thanks Annmarie, we'd welcome you with open arms.

    Hi Maria, yes Matt Baker the Sculptor has an ongoing blog at
    some intersting stuff on there.

    You'll know of the goat park along the Queensway no doubt Sandy, but all the other craggy areas of the forest park have an abundance of them. There was a large cull in Galloway a few years ago but I'm not sure what the policy now. I think they re-populate other mountainous areas these days.

  6. Hello Jim. March certainly brings unstable weather patterns. Our February was better than our start to March. We are chilly with snow again. (Waiting for spring) Although your day looked cold, the rolling hills & beautiful landscape is all worth the trip!

    Cheers. : )

  7. Hello Michael,we thought spring was on the horizon too, but we're back into winter up here. I don't mind the frost so much but when it's wet snow it's not so nice.


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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