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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Cream O Galloway Circular August 2013

Saturday the 10th of August
Today's walk is a variation of the walk we took in June 2011.
A few of today's highlights have also been covered by Sandy, the blogger the blogger from Kirkcudbright. 
Sandy's Post is well worth a visit.
There are nineteen of us today and Shorty is our leader.
Shorty, myself, Scoop and the Ranger reccied the walk on Monday so a few of today's pictures will be from the recce.
Thanks to Scoop for her pictures included in this post.
It's a bit overcast but warm and dry as we set out South East from the Cream O Galloway.   

After a short stretch of road walking we take a track south which leads us to Plunton Castle.
Plunton belonged to the McGhie family in the early 16th century, but passed to the Lennoxes, who built the present building, around the middle of that century.

View from the east.

A good look around finds the the remains of the spiral staircase.
There's not much written about Plunton, but this is from Kirkcudbright.Co
" Like all the erections of a feudal age, it has its dungeon; and although history is silent on the matter, a poem by D. MCLellan, in the Traditional Tales of Galloway, founded on legend, describes it as the scene of bloody deeds. The Tale of Plunton Castle, by the late Captain James Dennistoun, Creetown, author of Legends of Galloway, and editor of the ancient Gallovidian ballad of the Battle of Craignilder, sent to Sir Walter Scott by Joseph Train, was woven by the "great magician*' into verse, and formed the foundation of the dramatic story, The Doom of Devergoil, which appeared in 1830".

As we continue on there are a few sheep, but this is generally cattle country and we pass by many herds.

It's rolling countryside, ideal for milk herds.

The track continues on to reach Bridgend of Kildarroch. 
We pass the time of day with the owner who is alerted to our passing by the excellent hearing of his dog.

Now our track takes a south west route towards Rattra.
The deer were a bit to quick for me to change my camera settings.

After Rattra farm and a difficult gate we continue on the same line to Roberton.

I took pictures on the recce of the Teasel at Roberton

Most of the flower has gone off the Teasel, but wasps are still finding nourishment from them.

I'm pretty happy with the macro on my Nicon

Reaching the minor coast road we turn west.

A bee is walking along the road. I thought it was a minor road, not a B road !
(I hope the boffins soon solve the declining bee problem, we need them)

Now we reach the Corseyard Farm and Model Dairy which is up for sale.

It's also known as Castle Haven and The Coo Palace.

It's on the Buildings at Risk register.

It's slowly falling down. Back in May 1998 it was supposedly being turned into a film and TV Studio but Historic Scotland called it in unhappy with the proposed development.

There's been all sorts of speculation these last few years about it's future.
I know the odd millionaire has come across my blog before so get your wallet out.
It's yours for less than half a million from C.K.D Galbraith
This is a very unique building and if it's allowed to go to waste it'll be a national disgrace.

This trough itself is probably unique too.

Through the round window !

We're back on the road and as we pass the entrance to Kinganton three mighty bulls in an adjacent field totally ignore us.

Now we come off the road and take a track down to the shore opposite Barlocco Island. 

It's lunch time.

This picture was taken on the recce when we had lunch a little further down the shore at Castle Haven Bay.

There's ample seating around.

Thanks too, to a young lady I'll call Roy for getting me in the picture.

Now then what's going on here ?

It's about jellyfish. There are lots lying flat on the beach, but with the incoming tide they are filling out like the one above. Does that mean they'll still be alive after being washed up on the beach ?

Just like in 2011, the artists have been busy.

This is the post 1915 Knockbrex Bathing House

After lunch we continue on the core path where we get a nice view of Knockbrex House where you can rent out the West Wing 

Continuing along we can see Ardwall Island to the north.

Knockbrex Harbour. The headstone reads 'Jeemes July 1893 and Squire Twist August 1893'
as 'Faithful Doggies'.

On the walk recce we came round the road where we viewed Knockbrex House from the east and passed Knockbrex Castle

Now we take to a track running north.

The track goes through to Boreland of Girthon.
Time for a group photograph.

After emerging onto tarmac from the farm a short road walk brings us to a gate opposite this inscribed drystone wall.

Now we reach what we're calling the 'Jungle'. 
The chances are that the last people to walk through here were ourselves back in 2011.
We better come back next year and not leave it so long ! 

Once we're clear of the jungle there's a few handy dock leaves for the nettle stings and we're back on the move.

The last stile before the short uphill to the car park.

The walk is concluded with the excellent selection of ice cream on offer.
A very nice walk with a tasty conclusion.

Shorty's report .
Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 10 August 2013 – Cream of Galloway Circular

The Ramblers assembled at Rainton Farm, perhaps better known as Cream of Galloway, where they parked by kind permission of the owners.  The weather forecast had suggested that there would be scattered showers but the clouds seemed to be lifting and patches of blue sky could be seen in the distance.  The nineteen walkers then set of out of the farm and went southwards down the minor road towards Lennox Plunton farm.  They were enchanted by the profusion of wild flowers growing in the hedgerows and wetter patches in the surrounding fields.

On reaching Lennox Plunton they left the road and followed an old track towards the wooded glen of the Plunton Burn.  As they emerged from the woods they saw the ruins of Plunton Castle, a 15th century tower house which sits on a low knowe above the burn.  The house is smaller than many local tower houses but has suffered less decay than many others with the walls standing to full height and the first floor still in place.  Unfortunately the spiral staircase which had climbed the L shaped extension had largely disappeared.  The other three corners had corbelled angle turrets, two of which are substantially intact. Unusually the lowest floor consisted of two vaulted chambers which supported the first floor.  The setting, amid grazing land with shallow valleys and small copses with distant views of the sea gives the castle a domestic feel. It would be nice to see it restored like the similar castle at Rusko.

On leaving the castle they followed the track to Bridgend of Kildarroch where they were greeted by the owner and a vociferous dog.  The map indicated a track heading southwest towards the shore but there was no sign of it on the ground, a common fault with Ordnance Survey maps in this area.  Luckily the householder had indicated a suitable route and the group followed the hedgeline until they reached a gate into the adjacent field where signs of the track were apparent.  Along the way two roebucks stared at the apparition of the assorted colours of the ramblers clothes.  After a short pause their fear got the better of them and they bounded away.

The track led to Rattra Farm which they skirted and carried on towards Roberton.  Beside the track at Roberton they found a large patch of teasel, some of which retained their purple flowers which were a great attraction to hover flies.  Beyond Roberton the track improved and soon led down to the coast road.

The sun had now put in an appearance and the sea sparkled below the fields.  The road was followed to Corseyard where the impressive buildings, known locally as the Coo Palace, dominated the landscape.  The Palace was built between 1911 and 1913 as the home for 12 pampered cows.  The latest technologies were employed and fine decorative stonework and iron goods were used.  Unfortunately, although an A listed building group, the structures are being allowed to decay and are currently for sale with an asking price approaching half a million pounds.  Some lucky lottery winner with a spare couple of million could develop an unusual and desirable establishment.

Further along the road the steading at Barlocco has been developed as a holiday centre which looks most attractive.  A little past Barlocco the ramblers left the road and took a grassy path towards the shore.  They rounded Bar Hill and arrived at the ruined swimming hut near the Point of the Bar.  Here they stopped for lunch at the old landing stage above the lovely sandy beach with fine views over the sea.  The hills across Fleet Bay were capped with purple heather which stood out in the sunshine.

The sand was strewn with small translucent jellyfish.  The small red internal structures could be seen inside the jelly.  As the tide rose the jellyfish seemed to absorb water and pumped themselves up.  They soon started to float in the water.

The group left the beach and made their way between high hedges towards Knockbrex Bay with its harbour and stone navigation pillars.  A well built causeway took them between the sea and a marshy pond in front of Knockbrex House.  The route took them across the field to the road.  After a short walk back along the road they found another stone track which ran northwards behind Castle Hill and on to Boreland of Girthon.  With the farmer’s prior permission, they went through the farm yard and out to another road.

The ramblers walked up the road as far as Kendown Wood where they turned and headed back up the fields towards Rainton Farm.  They soon reached the jungle, an old but little used path though the Glen Wood.  It appeared that the path had not been much used since our last visit two years ago and the nettles and thorns had practically closed the track.  The bridge over the Boreland Burn had suffered flood damage and a large hole had appeared in the middle of the path.  A short struggle, easier for those in the rear of the group, took them to the marked paths over the fields of Rainton Farm.  The fields had large patches of clover which seemed to have an unusual proportion of the four-leafed variety.  The group then climbed the braes towards the wind turbine which turned lazily in the breeze and back to the car park.  An excellent assortment of flavours of ice cream proved irresistible and various samples were enjoyed while sitting in the sunshine.

Next week there will be a low level walk with a farm tour starting from the hall in Stoneykirk (NX 087 531).  Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9:15 or the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9:45 to share transport.  The walk will start at 10:00.  New walkers are always welcome but please contat the walk leader on 01776 540226 for further details.


  1. Once when I passed Culzean Castle shore in the company of a ranger she informed me that the jellyfish die once they come ashore.It is nature's way of controlling their numbers.Now I am sure you and all your blog followers are wiser for that wee bit of information.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this amazing tour! Thank you so much for sharing it here.

  3. An interesting post as ever Jim. Love the bee photos.

  4. I think they more or less know what's up with the bees now Jim. It's just they don't like the solutions as they will cost money and lost food production. Ban certain pesticides, put a richer mix of crops and flowers back into the countryside instead of blanket monoculture landscapes. Get back wildflower meadows on all the verges, parks and open spaces and get rid of the mite we introduced in the first place.
    Mind you there is always going to be a high price to pay for such quick and easy travel between countries nowadays. Something else small, nasty and almost invisible arrives from somewhere every month.

  5. Thanks for the enlightenment Gordon, we are much wiser now.

    You'd love the ice cream Linda.

    Thanks Sandy, I was quite chuffed with all the wasp (or hoverflies) and bee pictures especially the first one.

    I'm at one with your sentiments Bob, the world is far too global, one of the reasons we have large industrial wastelands in places like South Ayrshire.


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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