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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Tarfessock Kirriereoch July 2013

Saturday the 27th July
Today's walk is to the summits of both Tarfessock and Kirriereoch.
The walk leader is the 'Milkmaid' and her report will follow the pictures.
We're a group of ten this warm summers day.
The last time we climbed Tarfessock was August 2009
We park up opposite the wind turbine next to Kirriereoch Loch before setting off North -East on a long forest walk in.

Eventually we're off the forest track and on the lower slopes of Tarfessock. I zoom in maximum to get a vague picture of a rescue helicopter. There's a nice cloud stack to the south.

Regular stops are required on the slopes............

.................sometimes there's a convenient rock

For much of the walk the terrain is one of purple heather, bog cotton and bog asphodel.

Eventually we're at 697 metres, the summit of Tarfessock.
The prominent lochs we can see from left to right are Riecawr, Macaterick and Doon towards the back.
The hill in the middle of the picture is Craiglee which I climbed ten days ago with the 'Ranger'

A closer look at Macaterick

Time for a photo session.
Spot who's the most fidgety between takes.

Do you all agree ?

Leaving Tarfessock, it's downhill to Balminnoch..........

...........and often quite steep.

There are quite a few lochans as we cross above Carmaddie Brae, the one we're looking down on here is called Lochan

Today they all look fabulous. It's a different matter when it's misty up here.

Even though it's smaller than 'Lochan', this is a small loch in it's own right. It's called Loch Brough.

With Kirriereoch looming above, lunch is taken at a convenient rocky outcrop.

A full zoom brings the Tunskeen Bothy close.
The MBA was founded as an organisation in 1965 following the restoration of the ruined farmhouse at Tunskeen to a basic bothy. The volunteers who took part formed the Association to enable them to undertake subsequent similar projects.

I set the camera up for a ten second delay. It slips just as it clicks but I get in the picture.

Now begins the haul up to Kirriereoch.

Here's another picturesque lochan.

We're climbing up the less steep slopes via the area known as Green Holes.
Behind us Tarfessock sits in front of Ayrshires highest hill, Shalloch on Minnoch.

Rounding the slopes we get our first view of Loch Enoch

Eventually we're all on the summit of Kirriereoch looking over to the Merrick

From the start of the walk, there's been a possibility of an extension to include the Merrick.

Time for group pictures..............

.................and there's me again.

Three intrepid walkers head off to take the Little Spear route up to the Merrick...................

...................while the other seven of us turn west.
Another long zoom brings up Ailsa Craig. Despite the hazy sunshine, we're getting some great distant views. 

I'm trying out some effects on my picture editing programme Picasa
This one above is HDR-ish (High Dynamic Range), a sort of super sharpener for indistinct images

The ladies stopped to let the boys catch up. As well as the Scottish Islands we can also see the Antrim Coast, Wigtown Bay and the South Rhins. 
Coming down Kirriereoch we're following the line of what was once a fence. All that's left of the fence are the posts of angle iron embedded in rock and secured by molten lead.

Another HDR-ish picture. This is much clearer than we could see it. We could just make out a pair of humps across Arran that looked like they could be even further over and possibly the Paps of Jura. 
In the picture they're just right of centre. I'm still not sure, they could possibly still be Arran hills.

Strange criss crosses on a rock.

HDR effect again

This is called the Carnirock Stone and is where we leave the fence path.
Now we get into heather and tussocks. 

After reaching the Cross Burn we follow it so far before a short spongy section takes us over to the Kirshinnoch Burn. A short forest ride brings us up to a forest road.

A well designed sheepfold marks the point where the confluence of the Cross and the Kirshinnoch burns become the Kirriemore Burn.

This will be the point where the three Merrick climbers will descend to walk back to the start.
It's all forest road back to the start point now.
While the rest of us get out of our boots and head home, the 'Milkmaid' must await the others.
What a great walk that was. A fabulous day in the hills.

Here's the Milkmaid's report.

Wigtownshire Ramblers  Report 27/07/13
On Saturday, 10 ramblers met at the Kirriereoch picnic area for a 10.5 mile walk over Tarfessock and Kirriereoch, two hills in the awful hand range of the Galloway hills. The weather was warm with a light breeze, perfect conditions for walking.
The cars were left at the point where two forest roads meet just past Kirriereoch Farm. The ramblers set off along the track which eventually crosses the Pillow Burn after which they took the next road left which runs parallel to the Cross Burn still walking through the trees.
At the road end the company turned left onto the easily discernible path up the slope of the finger of Tarfessock. This follows the fence line alongside the beginning of a stand of mature trees. The path here was steep but with a little height gained emerging views over surrounding countryside offered excuses for pausing. Once the top of the finger was reached the gradient became shallower which made for an easier walk through swathes of cotton grass and beautiful yellow bog asphodel. 
Reaching the summit of Tarfessock the party rested while admiring fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.  Looking back to the west, Ailsa Craig, Knockdolian and the Mull of Kintyre were pointed out, whilst in the east the Rhins of the Kells and the Dungeon hills looked inviting. Below us Loch Riecawr and Loch Macaterick seemed very close with Loch Doon and Enoch also visible.
The ramblers descended carefully towards the lochan strewn ridge above Carmaddie Brae with the steep sided Kirriereoch looming ahead. A sunny rocky outcrop with views east was judged to be the perfect place for lunch.
After crossing a fence and traversing a slightly boggy area Kirriereoch was reached. Avoiding the sheer shale slopes the ramblers passed the area known as the Green Holes and ascended up the steep hill by the side of a dry stone wall. On reaching the large flat summit area a welcome breeze fanned the party after their exertions. It was difficult to discern whether the highest point was marked by the cairn or the shelter found at the top. Grazing sheep have kept the grass here very short which makes for a most pleasant walking surface.
 Three ramblers elected to descend Kirriereoch and climb the Merrick by the Little Spear, returning along the finger of the Merrick and over Kirriemore Hill where the forest road back to the cars could be reached.
The rest of the ramblers descended the finger of Kirriereoch via a gentle slope following the dry stone wall and later metal fence posts until Carnirock Stone. Here the ridge turned right and became steeper but the iron fence still marked the way to the bottom of the hill. The Crossburn was followed until it met the Kirshinnock Burn which was crossed and a gap in the forest taken to reach a forest road once more.  The cars were soon a welcome sight for the weary walkers. All agreed it had been an ideal walk for such a glorious day.
 The next walk, on Saturday the 3rd of August is an 8 mile B- grade, circular walk over part of the Ayrshire Coastal path taking in Kennedy Pass and the Grey Hills. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9.00 am and Stranraer Breastworks at 9.15am or at the walk start at Woodland Farm, Girvan (NX174951) at 10.00am. New members are always welcome but must contact the walk leader on 01776 840636.



  1. I absolutely love the spectacular views!

  2. The Summer continues - it looks lovely up there in the hills. Even the last few days that the BBC have suggested are going to be not so great are more good than bad. Long may it continue.

    Good sheep fold - looks like it's set out for sheering and dipping and all that sort of thing. I've seen that sort of arrangement in fences before but never in stone. Dry stone dyking seems to be on the up in recent years.

  3. Years since I've been in that area.
    I remember I was very disappointed by the 'Fang of the Merrick' as I was expecting an impressive tall pinnacle and got a gentle bump instead.


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