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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Cally Woods Loch Whinyeon September 2013

It's Saturday the 21st of September.
Weather forecast for Saturday had been pretty good, but come Saturday morning it had changed.
Smirr, mist, rain and cloud would be the order of the day. It'll be dreich ! 
(Scottish Dictionary - dreich :-A combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather)
Today's walk is a variation on one from February 2011
The 'Weaver' is our leader with the 'Stationmaster as deputy. 
Apologies in advance for the lack of exciting pictures.
Twenty walkers set out from the Cally Woods car park.
It was a misty start in 2011 as well.

We leave Cally Woods at the Robbers Gate and cross the B727.
(Top picture, I again mentioned my Murray/McGill family link)

Now climbing towards Hillhead, we'd normally have a view behind us.

A moment's rest after the initial climb.

Top marks to our leaders today for bringing along fence crossing gear.

I don't know if it's already been invented but a telescopic portable stile would be handy here.

I was ready with the camera in case of mishaps !

We're the 'Elarwi' tribe.

We know we're on the right track when we see Loch Whinyeon come into view.

A short stretch along the waters edge needs careful navigation.

Now back on firm ground.

Where did you lunch today sir ? 
We lunched at the sluice I'll have you know. 

It may be miserable weather but our group enjoy the challenge. No downcast faces here.
I put the camera away for a while after lunch. Too much penetrating damp to take any chances.

Back on the move we now took forest road to the Glengap Treatment works and adjoining hamlet. Tarmac road to cross Glengap Bridge and then back into Glengap forest.
Time for our second tea-break. My question "Where's the tables and chairs" fell on deaf ears.
( looks like I've some damp on the inner lens )

I'm not sure about the identity of this mushroom. The closest I can find is a Shaggy Ink Cap.

Excitable cattle enjoyed our company for a while.

Irelandton Moor

Thinking of a short cut ?

I love the way the mistiness has almost turned this scene into a watercolour.
For the uninitiated the cattle are Belted Galloways.

View to Irelandton

Over the last hill with fungi.

Fleet Bay comes into view.

Upper Drumwalt.

Sod's Law says it'll brighten up near the walk finish. As usual Sod's Law wins

The Robbers Gate.
A nice long walk with limited views, but well worth working up the appetite for the after walk dinner at 

Ramblers’ walk September 21st 2013

On Saturday a twelve mile walk through mist and drizzle gave twenty ramblers the excuse for a good dinner at its end, provided by the Ship Inn of Gatehouse of Fleet.

Cars were parked at the Murray Centre by the Cally Palace gateway and a woodland walk alongside the rushing Bush Burn took the walkers to Robbers’ Gate. Here a series of robberies took place in 1819, the assailants eventually being apprehended and hung. From here the route followed the wall of the policies for a short space, where a small plaque recorded its building in 1823 by John McGill, and its renovation in 2010.

The forest was entered by way of Hillhead and an uphill trek, through a misty drizzle, and round Disdow Hill, eventually led to a narrow neck of trees, where it was possible to gain access to the fields above High Barlay. Here the ground was softer but the views were virtually non-existent as a ford was crossed and gated fields took the walkers to higher ground.

Now the mist turned the walk into a mystery tour with visibility cut to a hundred yards and the moorland vegetation getting longer and boggier. Heather was blooming and the tiny yellow tormentil flowers gave a spark of sunshine on the ground. The top of a hill, an outrider of Bengray gave little confirmation of the surroundings and it was not until the lower slopes and Aldgower Strand was approached that the still waters of Loch Whinyeon came into view.

The rain had by now abated and a late lunch was enjoyed by the sluice gate of the loch. The embankment here was ingeniously built from the spoil produced by the building of a tunnel on the opposite bank, which originally took water from the loch to the mills in Gatehouse. The water now flows in the opposite direction to Glengap Water Treatment works.

A forest road once more took the walkers through mature woodland to Glengap, passing almost perfect, large sheep pens on the way, a monument to the former use of this land. The tiny Glengap community is a cluster of houses around the old water works, built in 1939, restored in 1959 and 1986, and once more in the process of renovation into flats, but seemingly mothballed at the moment.

After walking the road to Glengap Bridge the party turned once more into the forest and followed the Fuffock Burn uphill to gain access to Irelandton Moor and the shell road which leads round Knockendurrick Hill and eventually back to Gatehouse. The path is made of heaped scallop shells, a deep and dry route over the wet land. Fading flowers of milfoil lined the path, herds of cattle were excited by the walkers and a lone deer entranced them by its graceful and athletic leaps across the rough ground.

After passing through a ford the track ran by land that was being improved, drained and planted with turnips and rape. Soon the council road was gained by a hedge loaded with fat ripe blackberries and a heavy crop of sloes.

It was now downhill all the way with increasing visibility giving hazy views across the estuary and even to the Isle of Man. Having passed Drumwall it was not long before the Robbers’ gate came into view again and the cars were reached. The weary walkers rounded off their day at the Ship Inn with good service, good food and good company.

Next week’s walk, on Saturday 28th September, is a C+ 7mile circular on the Barr trails, ‘Fairies and Devils’.  Meet for car sharing 9am Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9am Breastworks, Stranraer, or 10am Barr Village Hall NX 275 941. All are welcome but new walkers and all going straight to the start should phone walk leader, 01465 712180


  1. As I am reading your post and looking at your beautiful photographs, I am soon going out on a nature walk of my own. It is cloudy and chilly, but I love it. :)

  2. Looks like the weather was not so kind but some compensation in you shaggy ink cap picture, and of course the countryside has a different charm in the wet which your fair weather out and abouter (me generally) can miss.
    I eat in The Ship with great regularity (once a year on the 23rd of December at somebody elses expense) and it always pleases.

  3. Nice to see some misty pictures and wet hill walkers Jim. You should do walks like that more often. I quite like the soft watercolour effect on the landscape and the soggy vegetation. More of that please:0)

  4. what an interesting back story with that beginning sign---pics were great, even though there was much moisture---i never thought of a camera lens being damaged by fog---hope you are well :)

  5. Thanks Linda, Montreal looks fabulous, maybe I'll get there one day.

    Hi Sandy, now I've enjoyed some wonderful fare at the Ship, I know I'll be back.

    Yes Bob, I'll make sure that I'll only head out on dreich days to keep you and the other sadists happy. ha ha

    Thanks Lynn, Scotlands damp can penetrate the most minuscule of apertures. Even an underwater camera is at risk up here.


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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