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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Barr September 2013

Born September the 28th 1943 Leanchoil Hospital, Forres, Morayshire.
September 28th 2013 out walking with the Wigtownshire Ramblers.
It's my birthday walk !

This is a walk we did just over 12 months ago.
2012 Walk

As last year the 'Teacher' is leading today's walk.
He got the group to sing happy birthday to me. Nice!
The backup deputy walk leader is the Ayrshire Blogger, Gordon

East then South -East out of Barr. For the end of September it's like a summers day.

The first stile.

Scoop is back, I'll be showing some of her pictures further on.

There's a notice to say one of the trails is closed, but we think they've just forgotten to take down the signs.

It's a steady uphill climb.

Soon we're looking back down on Barr
Ayrshire Paths - Barr is a link to the routes we are taking today.

We're a group of 26 today, that's the sunshine for you !

The Hadyard Hill Windfarm comes into view.

Fairies and Devils is the theme of today's walk. 
We're now into Fairy Knowe woods.

The trees are awash with colour, moss and lichen.

The paths are nice and clear. Take note Dumfries and Galloway

It may be autumn but it still feels like summer.

Emerging from the forest.

Now for the next few pictures I'll use the words of the report author from last year.
"Suddenly the trail opened out, with gorgeous views, myriad waterfalls and narrow wooden bridges as the track plunged and soared alongside, and across, several burns".

Back onto forest track to reach Kirstie's Memorial
Christopher McTaggart (Kirstie to his friends and family) a nineteen year old shepherd lad set out on January 11th 1913 in a raging blizzard to care for his sheep. Later that day he was found dying by his twin brother David and two friends. Their efforts to restore heat to his frozen body were in vain. He died fifteen minutes later. With such weather they were unable to carry his body back. Kirstie's faithful dog "Wag" refused to leave his master. The following day between twenty and thirty men set out for the Howe of Laggan to bring back the body of their friend. At Kirstie's funeral the Reverend John Angus charged the young men of the village to raise a memorial to the young shepherd and this they did by building a cairn a few yards from the spot where he died.

Here's where we have lunch.

After lunch we'll be heading towards the Devils Trail. I don't think that's relevant to the above picture taken by Scoop............or is it ?????????? ( If I don't occasionally trim my eyebrows they become horn shaped ) 

After quite a leisurely lunch we are back on the move.

We reach a steep slippery slope across to High Changue.
I laughed when one walker ended up on his rear end. Then it was my turn followed by the taxi driver.
Picture below by Scoop, I wouldn't dare.
Looks like he's admiring the fungi while he's down there.

Here's my pictures of them.

They're all Fly Agaric with the exception of the first which is probably a 'Greasy Tough Shank'

The spiders have also been busy.

We're told this is the last climb.................not true.

Well, this certainly appears to be downhill............

............however, we were given the choice to climb up to look for the Devil's Footprint.
Here's the legend.
The Laird of Changue - a notorious smuggler and prolific fighter - struck a deal with the Devil in which the Laird would achieve great financial prosperity in return for his soul. The Laird's smuggling enterprises flourished, he spent lavishly but always seemed to have money and success. Over time the deal with the Devil was forgotten until it was time to deliver - at which point the Laird decided he was unwilling to uphold his side of the bargain. Laying his Bible on the ground he drew a circle around himself on the hillside with his sword and with a display of impressive swordsmanship successfully defeated the Devil and drove him off. High on the hillside the devil's footprints, the circle drawn by the sword and the mark of the Bible in the grass can still be seen. 

We couldn't be sure if we saw anything conclusive I'm afraid 

Now it's all downhill back to the village.

The next five picture are from the camera of my fellow snapper Scoop.
The last picture, her 'Pièce de résistance' in my opinion wins the picture of the day.
(Though I think my shriveled fungi comes a close second)

We finished the day with wonderful refreshments in the Kings Arms
A grand day to reach three score and ten.

Here's the 'Teacher's report.
WIGTOWNSHIRE RAMBLERS –28 Sept 2013 – Barr Circular

On a gloriously sunny morning, twenty-six ramblers, including three visitors from other groups, met outside Barr village hall to commence a seven mile circular walk.

As in some other South Ayrshire villages and towns, a colourful leaflet has been produced, detailing several trails in the countryside around the village, and our walk was an amalgam of four of these trails.

The visitors were made welcome, the Depute Leader was gratuitously insulted, and “Happy Birthday” was sung to one of our stalwarts, Jim, who had reached an important (and advanced) age milestone that very day. We crossed the Changue burn by the bridge in the centre of the village and headed up through the fields towards the forest. Looking back, there were spectacular views of the countryside, with Barr village nestling comfortably in the glen.

There was a sign suggesting that part of the trail was closed, but fortunately our fears were unfounded. However, the forest path had been transformed into a wide track. One of our group suggested that it was in better condition than many of South Ayrshire's A-roads! We followed the track for about a mile before we made a sharp turn onto the Fairy Knowe trail. The grassy path through the forest proved enchanting, with hundreds of red, yellow, white and brown toadstools, together with lichen, displaying every shade of green and silver imaginable, hanging from the branches of the trees.

Suddenly the trail opened out into the warm sunshine, with gorgeous views, myriad waterfalls and narrow wooden bridges as the track plunged and soared alongside, and across, several burns.
After a steep descent down about a hundred narrow wooden framed steps, a wider forest track was encountered leading up to our lunch spot at Kirstie's cairn.  The cairn was erected to commemorate a young 19 year old postman, Christopher McTaggart, who had died in the vicinity in January 1913. A large area of grass around the cairn had been neatly trimmed, and although there was only one picnic bench, it was an ideal spot for lunch, below the slopes of Haggis Hill.

After lunch we headed up the Devil's trail, a reasonably steep grassy track again lined with mushrooms and toadstools, mainly pink and red. A sharp turn to the left took us down along a steep and slippery path into another enchanting glen at the bottom of which we crossed a wee wooden bridge over the Changue burn. Some of the Fly Algaric toadstools there had reached an impressive size. A short sharp uphill path took us back onto a forest track.

A hill on the right is reputed to feature the Devil's footprints, the marks of a Bible and a sword-drawn circle. These marks were made during an altercation between the Devil and the Laird of Changue. One of the perils of living in the countryside, I suppose. There was no sign of any cattle in the field, so most of us spent the next quarter hour wandering happily around the hillside looking for the signs on the grass. Nothing conclusive was observed unfortunately.

We headed down the trail back to the village, enjoying the spectacular views across the glen to forest and hills beyond.

Back at Barr, most of the group enjoyed the hospitality of the local hostelry, the King's Arms, before heading home. It was wonderful to find that the hotel had recently reopened after a period of closure.

It is safe to say that weather conditions were perfect, and  they enhanced our experience of one of our favourite walks

Next Saturday's walk is a long (11 miles) walk along the southern shore of the Machars. Meeting times are 9.30am at Breastworks, Stranraer and Riverside, Newton Stewart, and 10am at St Medans beach car park, map ref. NX 365 395
Further information from the Walk Leader at 01671 403351


  1. Such a beautifully put together post Jim! Fabulous outing, great weather for it!
    Your fungi pics come in second to Scoop's group photo and yep there you are demanding to be noticed at the back there! Well you are the birthday boy after all :)

    HAPPY belated 70th Jim!! I hope you enjoyed suitable celebration for such a special occasion?
    Enjoy your week Jim!

  2. PS: BTW, of course stay tuned for the Cane Toad pics - the buggers are starting to emerge!

  3. Hello Jim, I absolutely love the spectacular views on your walks. Happy belated 70th to you, my good friend.

  4. Happy Birthday Jim. Looks a good walk to celebrate. I've had that Barr walks leaflet in my house for years and never been back there yet. Maybe someday I'll get down there to see the Devils hoofprint.

  5. Shirley -from Blyth1 October 2013 at 08:07

    Enjoying all your posts,Jim. Haven't been over your way much this summer so it's great to see your excellent photos. Belated Happy Birthday!

  6. wow some super pics in this blog---love the mushrooms---looks like an exhausting climb, though--and such a sad story about the shepherd boy

  7. A fantastic post Jim and super pics and a belated happy birthday.

  8. Thanks for all your lovely comments and birthday wishes my blogging friends, they are always appreciated even though I'm often lax in my replies.
    It's been a miserable week here in South West Scotland but the forecast is good for my coastal walk on Saturday. The south west coast of the Machars is my favourite coastline as many of you will be aware.


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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