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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Mulldonoch April 2013

N.B. Our training weekend has made the news on the Ramblers main website.

Saturday the 27th of April
I'm today's walk leader so the report will follow the pictures.
This is my third trip up here this week. On Monday, five of us walked up the Caldons Burn and across Cambrick Hill till we were just above the Nick of the Lochans. The strong wind,rain and mist (we couldn't see much more than fifty yards in front of us) made us retrace our steps and go back the way we came.
On Wednesday I thought I'd take a look at a more direct route I'd learned of when bumping in to a walker a couple of years ago. This recce was successful so I decided we'd go this way on the walk..
Thanks to Scoop for her contribution of photographs to this post (she's also given up blogging for the time being, but perhaps she'll get her diary published at year end)
The last time I climbed Mulldonoch was in 2008. September 2008 Walk 

It's a grand morning. Just off the Loch Trool paths we spot a small herd of goats...............

..........complete with a couple of kids

Glentrool Lodge looks inviting

We begin the climb up to White Bennan
My deputy today is the Milkmaid who's usually like a gazelle on hill walks. Today she get's to look at the views more often

Hey ! I'm in the picture

The higher we get, the more expansive the view

The initial climb up to White Bennan must be almost a one in two incline in places

The view over Loch Dee


A tub of fruit to give the leader sustenance for the descent

An out of sequence collage

A Mulldonach lochan

The steep descent to the Nick of the Lochans

Frog spawn

The forest edge looking back to Mulldonoch. (note the Weaver shaking snow from her right hand, she'd been up to mischief)

There are still large swathes of snow up them thar hills

A forest ride to the Caldons burn........

............and the crossing

It's difficult to capture the depths of the gorges on the Caldons, but the top right picture shows a little bit of perspective

Almost down

The flora and fauna appears on the last stretch of the walk 

Here's my report for the papers.

Ramblers Report
Saturday the 27th of April
Nineteen ramblers assembled at Caldons Car Park on a bright fresh morning for the walk start.
The weather forecast promised a clear day with the odd cloud.
Crossing the Water of Trool the first part of the walk took the group east along the southern shores of Loch Trool. The recently renovated trail made for easy walking.
Approaching a clearing in the woods the group paused to watch a delightful family group of wild goats complete with two adorable kids. Tall and straight larch trees still unaffected by the disease P. ramorum and looking like columns of ships masts bordered the trails. Apart from the noise from a pair of geese on the opposite bank, Loch Trool looked a picture of tranquillity.
On reaching the Steps of Trool a pause was taken before the serious business of climbing began. Almost opposite Bruce’s Stone, and somewhere near this point was where the Battle of Trool 1307 took place and where Bruce’s 300 men overcame Sir Aymer de Valence 1500 strong army.
A slow steep potentially hazardous but steady ascent now began. After surmounting remnants of forestry operations and strewn boulders the going underfoot became easier. Emerging from the trees, the rocky crags of White Bennan were reached.
As height was gained views became more expansive, soon all the slopes and peaks of Buchan Hill, Benyellery and the Merrick could be viewed. Ravens, Larks and other small birds made the occasional appearance.
The climb was now one of heather, tussocks and rocky outcrops. Occasional animal tracks assisted walkers.
Reaching Gawintoms far reaching views were now enjoyed. Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre could be picked out. Closer to hand were Neldricken and the Glenhead Lochs. To the east stood the Rhinns of Kells where snow still covered slopes sheltered from the sun.
Eventually the group reached the summit of Mulldonoch, the pinnacle of today’s walk. Lunch was taken overlooking beautiful Loch Dee. To the south east a group of walkers could be seen high up on the slopes of Lamachan.. To the south west the Mountains of Mourne could be identified. To the west, helicopters involved in the last day of the Joint Warrior exercise could be seen hovering and manoeuvring.
A cooling wind and more cloud brought a leisurely lunch to an end. The group now took to the steep grassy slope down the Nick of the Lochans. A few walkers found the easiest way to descend was in a seated position causing the occasional whoops of joy or maybe pain.
A boggy quad track was now followed west. Occasional patches of frog spawn were spied.
Reaching the forest edge a drift of snow was crossed. For some walkers this was the ideal excuse for some fun and frivolous behaviour. Thankfully no injuries were sustained.
A reasonably solid track was now joined to take the group over to the Caldons Burn which was crossed to access the path opposite. Great care was needed on this descent due to the path being muddy in places with steep sided gorges.
The group now followed the glistening burn and cascading waterfalls down to the forest road below Sheil Holm. At this point it’s been custom to cross the burn and follow the right hand path back to Caldons, but at the suggestion of a knowledgeable walker who remembers the main path being on the left, this was taken. Apart from a few missing duck-boards, it seems it’s still in use and this brought the group to the forest road west of Caldons.
On the short walk back to the cars a lizard was spotted darting about the grass. Celandine, wood anemone and daffodils were abundant and if there was any doubt that spring had arrived the appearance of dandelions dispelled that thought.
It was a weary but happy group that made its way to the House O’ Hill for after walk refreshments.
Next week’s walk, on Saturday the 4th of May will be a moderate plus six mile coastal walk in the South Rhins. New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader before joining. Meet at 09:30am at the Breastworks Car Park, Stranraer or at 09:00am at the Riverside Car Park, Newton Stewart to share transport. The walk will start from Logan Gardens Car Park at 10:00am (Grid Ref: NX 097 425). If going direct to the start or any other queries please contact the walk leader on 01776 840636.  


  1. breathtakingly gorgeous scenes and i like how most of the people were smiling, with you in the pic :)

  2. Looks a grand day out Jim. I noticed all the snow over the Southern Uplands on Saturday when I was looking across at the Hart Fell area. Plastered in a fresh blanket of white. Winter is certainly hanging onto Scotland this year.

  3. What a sensational walk Jim with the most splendid of views! I had to look through everything twice as I'm sure one misses much with just one look through.
    I've been missing in action a bit in blogland - doing some grandparent duties and by the end of the day I'm too exhausted to visit blogs!
    I'm glad I finally caught up with yours!

  4. Beautiful landscapes!

    I believe the training weekend was not only fun but also educational.

  5. wow..this is crazy you get to see all of this stuff!!!! what adventures!

  6. Hello folks, thanks for all your lovely comments.
    I will get round to you all eventually. May each year is a busy month.
    What with the convention of that most secret of societies The Sons of the Desert followed by the The Newton Stewart Walking Festival and a group walking trip I've organized to The Mountains of Mourne , it's a busy time.
    I must start taking it easy soon.


  7. Hey Jim, I'm glad that you get to be in some photos too!
    I see your land looks much like ours, tinder dry! We went from winter right into summer, spring was misplaced this year. With all your walks you are either getting in real good shape or getting really tired! : )

  8. Ah Jim, I came by to leave a msg and see what was up! But you've explained yourself so all is well. Sounds like you are frantic with activity. Have a well earned rest when it is all over.
    Take care now!


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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