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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Monreith March 2013

Saturday the 30th of March.
Today's scheduled walk, the Haggis and Rowantree Hill circular was cancelled due to the probability of deep snow on the route. Instead, last weeks cancelled walk, the Monreith circular will replace it.
There are twenty four of us out today.
Walk start at Monreith clifftop car park

Tracks and snowy fields north east from Monreith via Stellock

Canmore says there may be chambers or galleries in the prehistoric fort that the cairn sits on.

Time to pose for the camera. 
What a lot of beautiful people.

Towards the Galloway Hills

The top picture is a stone at the base of the Triangulation Pillar.  A carved date appears to read 1874.

The snowy descent. Fabulous views over to the Mull of Galloway and up Luce Bay

Snow, muddy paths and a drystone wall slowed progress

Passing Drumfad Loch

At Barfad, evidence that the snow plough was needed

A small example of a Snow Cornice

Along the core path from the Clachan of Myrton to the ruins of Hillhead farm

Spring's arriving but winter's hanging on

Lunch at Keepers Cottage looking out on to the White Loch of Myrton

The ruins of the West Lodge

View north west to Dourie Farm and beyond to Garheugh and Auchenmalg

A group photo on Cupid Hill

A blurry picture of fleeing deer, a strange stool, a cow highway and a 'Scoop'

The monkey puzzle plantation

The same deer or another group ?

Crossing the fields south of Monreith House

South Lodge, Blairbuie Bridge and back to Monreith
A very pleasant walk today.

Shorty's report to follow.

Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 30 March 2013.  Monreith Estate

Twenty four ramblers assembled in brilliant sunshine at the cliff top car park in Monreith.  The sky was bright blue with a few white clouds.  However, a keen easterly breeze reminded them that spring had not really arrived yet.

The group set off through the village admiring the various features of the houses.  They particularly noted one where the balcony railings had been replaced with panes of glass to maintain the beautiful view from the windows.  At the south end of the village they followed the signs to the top of the Fell of Barhullion.  The track led up past Stelloch Farm, where they were greeted by the owner and his two enthusiastic dogs.  He described the snowdrifts which had filled the lane for three days and the lack of power over the previous weekend but seemed unfazed by the experience.

The track led round the house and past the ruinous steading.  Just beyond the wood the group intended to turn through the gate towards the fell but found it blocked by snow.  They clambered over it and set off up the field.  The leader described a series of cup and ring carvings on a rock in one of the fields but no amount of searching could find them in spite of their being found easily on the recce the previous week.  The group carried on up the hill, through another gate, this time free of snow, and soon reached the summit of the fell.  There were magnificent views in all directions.  The Isle of Man stood out white against the blue sky to the south, The Mull of Galloway a dark line beyond the blue water of Luce Bay to the west and the Galloway Hills a snow-clad screen to the north-east.  The whole of the Marchars lay as a patchwork of snowdrifts and dark fields below them.

The walkers then descended the north side of the fell where they found their way impeded by a series of snow drifts, some still two or three foot deep.  They found a route across them and made their way through woods and fields to the track around the north side of Drumfad Loch.  They were amazed by the number of different animal tracks which were clearly visible in the lying snow.  Deer, fox, badgers, rabbits, hares and pheasants were all identified.  The going got easier once they reached the track and they continued past the new and refurbished houses at Drumfad and on to the Clachan of Myrton.  At the Clachan they took the designated core path along the side of the old smithy and over the low hill to the ruins of Hillhead Farm.  The snow had caused considerable damage to the ivy clad trees along the path and several diversions had to be made to go round the collapsed vegetation.  Beyond the ruins the track descended back to the county road.  About a hundred metres along the road the group entered the Estate via the North Lodge gate and followed a small path through the woods down to the shore of the White Loch.  Here they found that the snow had brought down the power cables so they proceeded cautiously to the Keepers Cottage where they paused for lunch.  The sun continued to sparkle on the waters of the loch but the cool breeze limited their stay.

After lunch they followed the path round the loch shore. The snowdrops had now largely faded but the daffodils had made little progress since last week.  Spring was struggling to make its presence felt.  Along the loch shore they past a couple of fishermen who were sheltering from the stiff breeze.  They seemed to be having little success in the cold conditions.  

Once they had passed the boathouse the walkers turned away from the loch and followed the track to the ruins of West Lodge.  Once again diversions had to be made to avoid trees brought down by the snow and wind.   The track led over Cupid Hill through the oddly named Botany Bay plantation until they reached the new cow motorways.  They were told that this was part of a system imported from New Zealand where the cows are kept out of doors with the stalls exposed to the elements.  It was not recorded what they thought of the last week’s weather.  From there they followed the tracks to the swamp behind Monreith House where the Skunk Cabbage was beginning to shine yellow from the stagnant water.  They then cut across the fields to the Monkey Puzzle wood.  They noticed that several of the trees were producing cones, promising a good seed year.  They then went down past the Sour Croft to the Blairbuie bridge and took the track, now thankfully largely clear of snow, to the cars in Monreith village.  As no suitable local source of scones had been identified, one group repaired to the County Golf Club and the remaining walkers went to CInamon café for tea and cakes.

Next week’s event will be a moderate walk around the upper reaches of Glen App.  Meet at Riverside Car Park, Newton Stewart at 09:00 or the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer at 09:30 to share transport. The walk will start from Dupin Farm (NX 082 753) at 10:00.  New walkers are welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01776 700707 before joining the walk.


  1. It's always good to have alternative plans. You seem to have been enjoying some sunshine!

  2. I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident. I love Scotland and your photos are very heartwarming and bring good memories for me. Thanks, Zoe (from Massachusetts...western, not Boston)

  3. Great photos Jim very bright and cheery.
    I hope the snow is getting away as I'm heading for Gatehouse of Fleet on Friday

  4. Good to see you,re enjoying the bright weather Jim. Although cold its been a good Easter week for sunshine and blue skies. Better than rain and dreich conditions anyday.

  5. It's a strange thing at the moment Maria, but though people are freezing, outdoor workers are getting a sun tan. The rain is coming next week though.

    Thanks for visiting Zoe, I don't know Western MA, but have a sister in law in Oxford near Boston. I love Boston. I see you've commented on my fellow blogger Scoops page too. You might not see a reply from her I'm afraid, she's not keeping up ! Your blog 'rewritten' looks quite interesting, I'll be having a deeper look into your life out there in the sticks.

    Hope your visit to Gatehouse went OK Sandy.

    This coming weekend looks to be the best of the year so far Bob, chances are it'll be our summer.

  6. A whole wood of monkey puzzle trees - don't think I've ever seen more than a single one before.


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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