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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Balloch Wood, Knockeans, Larg April 2013

Saturday the 13th of April
Today's walk is one we've done previously.
I've posted  quite a lot around Creetown over the years. Here's a climb up Knockeans in 2008
There's a webpage with comprehensive coverage of Creetown Walks

Twenty four of us start out from Adamson Square. It's a dry morning with a forecast of bad weather coming in later in the day.

The grounds of Kirkmabreck Parish Church  are looking very colourful

Next stop is the Whinnie Face. It's name comes from the gorse that grew in abundance around these slopes.

Creehenge is a group of standing stones with poetry in the form of the Japanese 'Haiku' 

We now head up Balloch (Ballochanamour) Woods passing the Red (Chalybeate) Well

There's a lot of cameras out today

This was the seating for outdoor functions in the woods, but the stage/dancefloor has now been dismantled.
Perhaps it had become a health risk.

This is Creebaby, a wire man at Garrocher Ponds.
It was created in 2011 by sculptor Alex Rigg and originally had roses and clematis climbing the frame.............

................It's hard to make out but a bit of picture enhancement shows the outline.
A seated figure with arms around his/her knees

The wording on the stone reads ' Mrs A.M.N Whamond Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Wigtownshire officially opened the Creetown Community Woodland project on the 2nd of October 2004'

Back on the move passing the Garrocher Tree Farm and the onetime Creetown Water works before heading up Knockeans Hill

It's a steady climb

A few of the surrounding higher hills are cloud covered....

.......... however there are still excellent views

One of Knockeans lower summits

Onwards and upwards

Lunch is taken sheltered from the wind

After lunch the route now takes us over to Larg Hill

Our leaders were a little unsure of the route, but successfully found a marker post to get us on the right track

Another short climb...........

................and a few of us get to the top of Larg. 
The main group headed for the viewpoints overlooking the Cree estuary and Creetown  

The views were pretty spectacular though

Marked stones on the cairn atop Larg Hill

Descending Larg

The Cree looking north

Thanks to Scoop for the above pics

Great fun was had with the snow drifts

The sunshine appears

Cairnsmore of Fleet and Solway Structural

An impromptu Hokey Kokey by a couple of the ladies...............

.......................while these lovelies appeared a little camera shy

The track along the edge of Castle Cary Wood

The ewe took fright and left her lamb bleating. We think they reunited after our passing

A sign that brought smiles

The churchyard looks even more colourful on the way back.
Tea, coffee and confectionery was taken at the Gem Rock Museum's prospectors pantry.
A lovely way with wonderful company to end a marvellous walk. 

Here's the report, written by Knotdolian herself.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday 13th April 2013 Balloch Wood and Larg Hill
For the first time since the Wigtownshire Ramblers group was formed, members from the Machars outnumbered those from the Rhins – a sign of the growing popularity of this group around Newton Stewart. Twenty four walkers gathered at Adamson Square in Creetown for the start of the walk on a cloudy but dry morning. They seemed to be in high spirits as a spanking pace was set through Creetown and up the hill to Balloch Wood.
 A pause was taken to read the haikus written by pupils from Creetown School on the polished granite at a Callanish Stones lookalike at the entrance to the wood. Now it became quieter as the group was forced to walk in single file along the path through the trees. Photographers lagged behind as they strove to get choice pictures of the Balloch burn and walkers were intrigued to see the Chalybeate well with its red stain caused by iron rusting in the water. They were also surprised to see that the stage had been cut down probably because it had become slippery and dangerous. The log seating was all that remained and while one member gave an impromptu tap dance show the remainder were enjoined to take a seat and applaud.
The group eventually emerged from the wood at Cardoon Ponds above the Balloch Bridge where they stopped for sweeties and to admire the metal framed sculpture of the seated man. The walkers now proceeded along the Corse of Slakes road past the Garrochar Christmas tree farm which had famously provided the tree for Number 10 last Christmas. They soon came to a sign pointing over the moor with the information that it was one mile to the top of Larg Hill and two and half back to Creetown. The walkers followed the direction of the signpost upwards through the sometimes muddy track towards the summit. The incline soon had the walkers stretched out with the fittest at the front and the determined bringing up the rear. All eventually reached the summit of Knockeans where they were rewarded with views over Wigtown Bay and Cairnsmore with its cloudy hat. Sheltered spots were now chosen for lunch, although some intrepid members preferred to stay at the summit and have a windblown lunch with a view.
Lunchboxes packed away, the walkers resumed their ramble, although with some divergence of opinion as to which route to take as the direction  posts which had guided them this far were now conspicuous by their absence. Eventually all reassembled at the bottom of Knockeans and began the climb up to the top of Larg. The views were even more spectacular from here with the Cree estuary mapped out below and a clear view over to Wigtown and beyond. A steep descent was now made through patches of snow causing some to plunge unexpectedly knee deep into the drifts. The soft snow proved irresistible to some members and snowballs began to be lobbed amongst unsuspecting ramblers.
Walkers were saddened to see the remains of one or two lambs and sheep which had undoubtedly been caught in the recent blizzard and sympathy was felt for the farmers who must still be struggling with the aftermath of the wet summer followed by a cold spring and no new growth to be seen in the fields. However, the group was heartened by the sight of small lambs gambolling about on the lower slopes and the beautiful carpet of purple crocus and yellow daffodils in the church yard which greeted them on their return to the outskirts of Creetown.
The group now made their way to the Gem Rock museum for a welcome cuppa and tempting cakes. One of the leaders took the opportunity to liaise with the owner, Tim Stevenson, who will be guiding one of the walks during the Newton Stewart Walking Festival which is now only a few weeks away.
Next week will see a change to the usual Saturday walk as members will be treated to a training course on the Saturday night at the Fire station in Stranraer starting at 7pm to be followed by a practical map reading course on Sunday, meeting at New Luce Village Hall at 10am. A good turnout is looked for as the speaker is the official Ramblers instructor and is travelling all the way from Perthshire.


  1. A well documented walk Jim. I feel as though I had went every step of the way with you.

  2. wow the walk up held many spectacular sights as well---i love the poetry part and all the markers, breathtaking!

  3. I love to read about these walks. How often do you do these? They seem great fun and spectacular from the photo perspective.

  4. How disappointing that the Creebaby looks so forgotten already. I was hoping by the time I returned that the roses would have grown a way up the frame.

  5. Thanks Sandy, it rained once we got home so we were pretty lucky with the weather.

    Hi Lynn, the Haiku was inspired by the late Japanese sculptor Hideo Furuta. It's a shame he died at the relatively young age of 57.

    We walk every Saturday with occasional away trips Zoe. A real happy bunch.

    One of our walkers was also at the opening of Creebaby Sandy. She too was quite disappointed.

  6. A lovely walk, Jim. I believe the schoolkids have had fun writing poetry.

  7. Thanks Maria, I'm sure they did.
    The haiku were written in 2008 by pupils from Creetown Primary School along with poet Lucy Burnett. She has a book of poems out called 'Leaf Graffiti'

  8. I'm always amazed at the numbers you get out on the hills down there Jim. 24 walkers! Even when I was in a similar club in Glasgow years ago with over 100 members it was usually only 10 or so on most hill trips. Often just 3 or four on a grim day. Thriving club you have down there. Must be the freindly personalities drawing people in.

  9. Honestly Jim, what a beautiful part of the world you live in.

  10. Such a lovely tour...your photos are fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing, Jim. Since I am new to your blog I wanted to come back and see more of your photos.

  11. Hi Bob, the smaller hills we'll get a good turn out. The Corbetts we'll be down to a dozen on a good day. The membership's fluctuating, but we seem to be getting a more committed type of member these days (or maybe they should be!)

    Thanks Rose, but we could do with a little bit more of your tropical weather.

    Thanks Linda, I hope Montreal's being good to you.


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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