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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Knockdolian and Barbecue June 2013

Saturday the 22nd of June.
Well, that's the longest day come and gone, soon be Christmas again.
Today's walk is a regular.
Here's the link to January's Walk which includes links to previous climbs of Knockdolian.

It's going to be a quick climb and back to the shore at Ballantrae for the barbecue.
Today's first half leader and barbecue organizer is Slewtrain also known as the Ayrshire Blogger

The forecast is for showers !
Twenty three of us start the walk, but two sensible ladies head back to the seashore soon after the start.

The weather's great as we leave Ballantrae. Marestail grows by the roadside.

It's a three mile road walk to the gate. After a short break the climb begins.

Climbers get stretched out, but the whole group makes good headway.

A break at the gate for a breather.

We're all smiles today.

Some sections are steeper than others.

Countryside views are always picturesque up here.

Two prominences at the top, which is the leader. Spot the difference.

View back to Ballantrae.

This picture reminded me of the iconic photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the U.S flag being raised on Iwo Jima.

 ...................well, maybe not.

Today we can clearly see Arran, the Mull of Kintyre, Ireland and the volcanic plug that is Ailsa Craig.
Our Sunday trip to visit the island has been cancelled due to high winds.

A nice enough picture, but a closer look shows up the camera lens damage.

Plenty pictures taken at the summit. I was again asked about the plaque to Jimmy Rennie so here's what I wrote in 2011.
 (I've had an email from Jimmy Rennie's great nephew who tells me that Jimmy lived in Colmonell most of his life and when he died this plaque was in place of a traditional headstone.
He and his direct ancestors lived in south-west Scotland right back to the 18th century at least.
His sister married Alexander Deans, so it looks like he's a distant relative by marriage.
No wonder I love this hill !)

Standing on the edge. This particular rambler is permanently on the edge............of an outbreak of laughter.

A coffee, tea and refreshment break was taken before the descent began. 
Our leader had already skipped off the top to be picked up on the road to get the barbecue on the go.
View inland of the Stinchar Valley

down we go................ your step

The advance party.

The rearguard.

Last field before the road.

A couple of the threatened showers arrived on the road back, but weren't too bad.
These guys seemed to be having fun on the river.

Back at the cars, people changed out of their walking gear and prepared for the beach and barby !
...............well, that was how it was supposed to work out.

The heavens opened and the rain came down

Our chef was impervious to the downpour..............

............he just continued to feed the hungry.
The rain did ease off after a while, we were just unlucky to finish the walk at the same time as this particular downpour. The rain didn't dispel the mood though, we had to laugh. 
Well done Gordon and Anne, we all went home nicely fed.

Now on the way back to Newton Stewart we had another call to make.
Kildonan Country House were holding a Real Ale and Music weekend, a place I'd never visited before.  
It's a quite magnificent building.

There were ten real ales on offer. We sampled a few between us.

It has a fabulous interior, but remains on Scotland's Building at Risk register.

The music on offer was being played in two rooms. Mainly by guitarists playing country and trad. 
In the room we were in were three sometimes four musicians.
The acoustic guitarist on the 'Resonator' was Nathon Jones from our neck of the woods. 
He's pretty good.
I took a little bit of video, but again I've the wrong camera with me for recording music.
Here's a short clip anyway.

Outside the rain is pelting down. We soon have to go though.
It's been a very enjoyable day despite the weather.

I'll place the walk report here when I get it. A joint effort between Slew and Shorty

Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 22 June 2013 – Knockdolian

On a cool, cloudy morning 23 ramblers left the cars at Ballantrae shore car park and set off through the village.  They took the small country road below the ruins of Ardstinchar Castle which leads up the Stinchar valley.  The sun shone on the fresh green leaves and the myriad of wild flowers which flourished on the verges.  A steady walk along the road soon got them to the base of Knockdolian Hill.  They turned off the road up a steep bank and through a gate into the first field.  The serious part of the day now began with the group spreading out as they climbed the field. Many stops were taken as it was really quite steep in places which allowed everyone to appreciate some of the wonderful views you get from this hill.   Soon they were at the top with the wind making it quite cool giving welcome relief to some of the group. The views eastwards up Stinchar valley were magnificent in the sunshine.  Northwards the Ailsa Craig stood out in the blue sea.  Beyond the Craig the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre loomed as a blue outline in the grey haze. Further round the coast of Ireland was just visible.  Three ferries were plying their way through the choppy water.  As they watched, a trio of ravens performed an aerobatic display below them.

After a pause for coffee and a snack the group picked their way carefully back down to the steep path to the road.  The ramblers then set off back along the road towards Ballantrae.  As they approached the river they saw a group of kayakers trying to make their way down the river.  Unfortunately the water level was low and they had difficulty crossing the various gravel banks much to their own and the watchers’ amusement.

As they walked on the clouds swept in from the sea and a sharp shower sent the walkers scurrying for their waterproofs.  The shower soon passed and further on the road was dry with no sign of the rain.

They soon returned to Ballantrae and made their way to the seafront where the leader and his wife had organised a barbecue.  A lovely aroma greeted the group and it was not long before everyone was tucking into the burgers and a range of salads which all had been prepared for the walkers. Unfortunately at this point more dark clouds rushed in and a large shower descended on the group causing the charcoal to hiss alarmingly.  This did not deter the group who enjoyed the sausage and chicken; some returning to their cars for shelter.  Luckily the rain did not last too long and the group enjoyed the food while watching diving gannets put on a marvellous display as the birds fished for their lunch. Another excellent day had been enjoyed by the group in spite of the worst efforts of the weather and thanks were given to the leader and his wife for their sterling efforts in difficult circumstances. 

The next event on Saturday is a leisurely walk through the moors and woods from Cairnryan via Lake Superior and back to the coast.  Meet at 09:00 at the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart or at 09:30 at the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer to share transport.  The walk will start outside the Merchant House in Cairnryan (NX 067 684). New members are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01776 870441 for further information.


  1. Lovely views, looks like a great time. Beautiful photos.

  2. Hi Jim!
    Some of the buildings, definitely the rain and most of the vistas and countryside really reminded of Tasmania in this walk! Amazing!

  3. Great part of the country that. The Stinchar valley is a real gem.
    Never seen a guitar played in that fashion. Shame about the rain during the BBQ but looks like the real ale made up for it.

  4. wow this was great---sorry about all the rain--but yep that was one chef, seems like---i have to share this later with my future son-in-law--he will love that guitar and music!!

  5. Awesome looking landscapes. I love a good BBQ ! Rain, yes I think I'm getting used to that!! We're still under a state of emergency, in fact moments ago we just had an incredible hail storm.. If you need more rain I can send it your way. : )

  6. Jings that flag could do with replacing - how about taking the chefs apron up to use as a flag :)

    Rain - what of it when you've found the beer and music (good result I'd say)

  7. Hi Linda, it was a great time despite the rain.

    When am I going to get to Tasmania Rose, I'm booked up for Nashville this year now. Maybe I'll get down under in 2014.
    Hi Bob, apparently Frankie Laine used to play a Resonator. The most well known player these days is an American called Jerry Douglas, you might have seen him on Transatlantic sessions at some time. I guess we should have stayed longer at the ale and got dropped off at our homes, the cars would have still been there Sunday morning.

    Aye Lynn, that chef Gordon is something else, could you read what it said on his apron ?

    Keep your rain Michael, we're getting enough of it today.

    Aye, that would be a great welcome up the top of Knockdolian, can a hill be busy ?
    I'm all for it being on prescription Sandy (I get mine free)I think I'll try out my doctor for tickets to the next Wickerman.

  8. Your picture of the Moon is glorious!


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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