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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Glenapp Circular April 2013

Saturday the 6th of April 2013
A good turnout for today's walk in Glenapp. There are twenty four of us.
We've parked up next to Dupin Farmhouse adjacent to the A77 in Glenapp.
The 'Farmer' leads today's walk. Although I know parts of the area, it's mostly a new walk for the group.
We'll be on farm track and forest road for much of the walk.
A zigzag climb in a generally easterly direction takes us up Muillbane hill.

We're soon looking back on Finnart's Bay. It's a grand day for a walk. Though it's cool, the climb sees a few top coats being divested.

There's delight on walkers faces when level ground is reached.

We disturb pairs of geese

The 'Farmer' takes us over to view the ponds where the geese flew up from.
It's a controlled wildfowl spot with a number of hides dispersed around the ponds.

We reckon these were Greylag geese on the water.

An interesting milestone at the side of the track.
Does anyone knows the significance of the dates 1987 to 1992 ?

We continue on until we reach open moorland. Here a ninety degree turn puts us in line with Carlock Hill. Carlock Hill was included in a walk we did back in March 2011

It's a long downhill stretch

Below us we see Altimeg and Carlock Cottage. Once we're down we cross the Water of Luce.

A short climb brings us up to Carlock House
This is the family seat of the Earl of Inchcape
Our walk leader who has had occasion to visit the house imparts some interesting facts.

Ignore the crossed out passage, I can't get my research right. It wasn't Carlock House that was owned by Sir Ewan, it was Ivan Mackay that bought the Brux Estate in Aberdeenshire that had belonged to the Forbes family. I need my eyes tested.

I was intrigued by a line in this Powerbase link which stated "A sporting estate once owned by an aristocrat who changed sex to marry her housekeeper "  A sensational story back in 1952 it refers to Sir Ewan Forbes of Craigievar, the previous owner of Carlock. Brought up as a girl, he re registered as a male and a month later married his/her housekeeper! A fascinating story with transsexual  and hermaphrodite references.

A reflective picture is called for.

Altikelly Glen sees us crossing the busy A77.

We now join a track leading south. A tree resembling a cactus comes into view.

A lunch spot with a view

It's an unhurried lunch break as we enjoy the views over the Carrick and Galloway Hills.

Time for group pictures

Who's that waving ? Thanks Scoop.

A view up the Water of App Glen

After reaching the end of the track we find we have to descend a quite steep bank through the trees .

It's easy for some, others have to take more care. A couple or three scratches were suffered but the descent was successful.

The 'Weaver' and Scoop take a moment's rest.

Coltsfoot (tussilago farfara) and Primrose (primula vulgaris) are in abundance.

A JCB sits ready to start some drainage work.  

Torrisdale across the Water of Luce. 

Reaching the Bridge of Mark, we again cross the A77.

We're taking a look in the grounds of the 'Glen Kirk'

Built in 1849-50 Glenapp Church has seen significant changes mostly related to the Inchcape (Mackay) family.

A track north parallel to the A77 takes us back to Dupin

A pastoral picture to finish the walk.

The Ballantrae Garden Centre Coffee Shop is our destination for after walk refreshments.
It's been a very nice dry weather walk. 

Shorty's writing this week's report and it will appear here.

Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 6 April 2013 – Glen App Circular

Twenty-five ramblers met at the entrance to Dupin Farm, just off the A77 in the upper reaches of Glen App.  Thanks to the farmer they were able to park their cars each side of the track and away from the main road.  The sun shone brilliantly from a clear blue sky and the fierce easterly wind had moderated to a gentle breeze.  Although there were still remnants of snow scattered around the hills it seemed that spring might finally be arriving.

The group set off past the farm and up the forest road which climbed the steep sides of the glen to reach the woodland.  They were relieved when the slope eventually levelled off and the road turned south-eastwards through the forest around Muillbane Hill.  A few geese took off over their heads, honking loudly and most of the walkers took a short diversion to view a duck pond which had been constructed in the forest.  A pair of Greylag Geese were practising sedate synchronised swimming on the peaty water unfazed by the appearance of the brightly clad ramblers.

The ramblers returned to the road and followed it through the forest and out onto the open moorland below Drumdowns.  The track then turned downhill above the Altimeg Burn and the walkers soon found themselves back on the valley floor.  On reaching the Water of App they found that the footbridge marked on the maps was in a ruinous state.  Some paddled over the shallow ford but others found a new footbridge a little further down the river. 

Beyond the river they passed the pheasant rearing pens, empty at this time of year.  A little further on a pet Magpie was fluttering up and down a pen, its feathers shining blue, black and white in the bright sunshine.  The route then started to climb the northern side of the glen.  As they rounded the bend they had a view of Carlock House, the Scottish home of the Earl of Inchcape.  The house is sheltered by magnificent conifer woods but maintains fine views down the valley and across the hills to the south.

The ramblers followed the road up to the A77 which they crossed carefully and took a further forest road which climbed through the forest on the slopes of Carlock Hill.  They walked along the road and came in view of a large dead tree which reminded them of the cacti in the Wild West.  This area was chosen as a lunch stop with its numerous tree stumps providing ideal seats.

After lunch they carried on along the track which followed the contour high above the main road.  The track became more and more overgrown and the ramblers had to weave among the fallen and regrown trees.  Eventually they reached a point where they had to descend to the river.  The route chosen was steeply down through some scrubby woodland and bracken.  This was taken slowly and with a variety of techniques; some proceeding boldly straight down, others sitting down and sliding on the steepest sections.  They were all delighted to find small primroses flowering shyly amongst the dead bracken.  Eventually they all reached another forest track which led them southwest above the river amongst regrowth of larch and sharp whins.

The route passed the cars, inaccessible on the other side of the river and continued down to the Bridge of Mark near Glenapp Church.  They crossed the bridge and the main road and entered the churchyard where they viewed the impressive memorials to James McKay, 1st Earl of Inchcape and his family.  Beyond the graveyard they followed a farm track, which ran parallel to the main road, back to the cars.

After thanking the leader for creating a most interesting walk most of the ramblers proceeded to the Craigiemains garden centre at Ballantrae for tea and scones which they enjoyed sitting on the terrace in the sunshine.

Next week’s walk, on Saturday 13th, will be a moderate five mile walk around the hills above Creetown.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader before joining.  Meet at 09:00 at the Breastworks Car Park, Stranraer or at 09:30 at the Riverside Car Park, Newton Stewart to share transport.  The walk will start from Adamson Square, Creetown at 10:00 (Grid Ref: NX 475 589).  If going direct to the start or for any other queries please contact the walk leader on 01988 840268.


  1. Beautiful sceneries, Jim. I loved especially the second picture from the top.

    That cactus look-alike looks really weird in these surroundings.

    Hah, so you met Thomas the Tank Engine (or is it one of his friends?) :)

  2. Jim thanks for your recent visit, yes we are certainly experiencing dreich! Everyone is feeling pretty gloomy already! I see you folks are having what looks to be plenty of sunshine on your nice hikes, that's awesome. We hope to soon be enjoying the same. Have a great week! : )

  3. love all these pics---esp. the geese and flowers---the lunch did have a spectacular view too!

  4. Those were great photos. What's with that tree? What kind is it?

  5. Looks a cracking day you had Jim. Really lifts the spirits when you get wall to wall sunshine on a walk.
    Not seen a Primrose yet up here. That's early. Daffodils are only just coming out in Glasgow.
    I've noticed a lot of your walks seem to start or end through the grounds of large houses.
    I always think that improves any outing myself.

  6. Hi Maria, I agree about that view, one of my favourite. I did see the real Thomas on a runaround back about 2000.

    I see you're not finished with winter yet Michael, more snow coming this weekend. You'll have a better summer than we will however.

    Thanks Lynn, my sandwiches were tasty too. Cheese,ham and pickle.

    Not sure about the tree Zoe but it's dead. Could have been a diseased Ash or a Pine of some sort. I should have asked our resident tree man.

    I was down the shore yesterday Bob, and although it still looks winter up the Galloway Hills the coast is pure spring.As far as big houses go, I think it may be delusions of grandeur on the part of certain walk leaders. No names, no pack drill!

  7. Beautiful series of photos!

  8. Hello Linda from Montreal, always happy to see folks from Gods own country. I see you're a daily blogger. I've bookmarked you so I'll probably be calling in occasionally.


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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