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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Wigtownshire Ramblers Auchenmalg November 2013

Saturday the 16th of November
There are twenty five of us gathered for today's walk. 
Shorty is our leader and Scoop his backup. 
Thanks again to Scoop for the use of her pictures to supplement this blog post.
(for most of the day it was cloudy and dull so if some of the pictures look out of kilter (not the right word I know, but it's years since I used it) it's because I've overdone the enhancement) 
I'll publish Shorty's report after the pictures. 
We start at the Cock Inn at Auchenmalg. It's claim to fame is that it's the second oldest pub in Scotland.The oldest is the Sheep Heid Inn, in Duddingston Village, Edinburgh, An angler tries his luck at the shoreline.

The ruins in the foreground are those of a mansion, possibly the ancient residence of the Adairs of Genoch.

I also went along on the recce for this walk, and a few pictures are from then.

We're soon back on the level, we've no great height to climb today.

There's a possible extension to this walk the next time, the dizzy heights of  Knock Fell ! straight ahead.

The local farmer turned out to be very sociable. On his suggestion we make an interesting detour.

Culroy is his farm.

It's cool enough today.

Here's one from Scoop.

This is where the farmer has sent us. It's an unobtrusive hut down a seclude glen with a hydro powered generator inside. To me this is a better way to go than windfarms, we get enough rain here in Scotland.

Green Highland Renewables is just one company coming to realize the potential. It kinda makes me laugh that once again we're behind the rest of the world. I saw lots of these in New Zealand ten years ago.

A nearby pool with a strange abstract surface.

A meshed weir further up the burn.

What's going on here then ?

Good acoustic qualities for the violin !

Thanks Scoop

Reaching the 'Lost Road' and turning back onto Grey Hill. This is sheep and cattle country.

The ruins of Barhaskin. The outbuildings are still in use, the upstairs fireplaces have a 50's look about them.

Just below Bruntland we stop for lunch.

There's fleeting glimpses of the sun as we make the move to continue the walk.


...................from underneath

The back wings of this dragonfly look a bit ragged.

Taking a breather, this is where we had lunch on recce day.

Now onto a solid stony forest road.

Closing in on Luce Bay, I zoom in on to what appears to be a dredger.

Scoop catches me walking on water........ 

........while she wades through flanked by 'Two Sticks John' and 'Shorty'

Closer to the shore is shallower and most walkers cross there.

Glimpses of blue skies

It's tough walking on the shoreline stones but eventually there's a grassy path.

Bottom right of the above collage is an MOD warning about the West Freuch Sea Danger Area. 
When Joint Warrior  was held earlier this year I missed coming along to take pictures. It must have been quite a sight to see such a variety of helicopters along here. If they come back to the area, which has been hinted at, I'll be along.

Nearing the finish

Excellent after walk refreshments in the Cock Inn

A very nice walk with very nice people.

Here's Shorty's report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday 16/11/2013 – Cock Inn and the Lost Road Circular

Twenty four Ramblers assembling at the Cock Inn almost filled the car park, where we parked by kind permission of the owners.  It was a dull grey morning as we set off but at least it wasn’t raining.  The initial route took us across the main road and up the farm track toward Auchenmalg Farm.  The sharp rise took many of us by surprise and conversation dropped off markedly as we struggled for breath.  Soon the road levelled off and we were rewarded with views over the hamlet of Auchenmalg.  On the opposite hill stood the white house known as The Barracks.  Originally the building was occupied by the Waterwatch, the precursors of the Coast Guard but more interested in controlling smuggling than rescuing the unwary on the seashore.  Nearer at hand were the ruins of the Auchenmalg Mansion, once home of the Adairs of Genoch but now dismissed in the records as “of no great antiquity”.

We followed the track towards Auchenmalg Farm where we took a small diversion around the farm buildings and then resumed our way northwards along the line of an old track.  We were surprised to find we were following a dyke of unusual width. It was three times wider than a normal dyke but of the usual height.  There was no obvious advantage to having a wall of this size so it was surmised that this was a tidy method of disposing of stones cleared from the surrounding fields.

After crossing a couple of fields the track dipped down towards Culquhasen farm.  Rather than descend the hill only to climb back up we cut across the field where a gate opened onto a recently constructed track which skirted the fields up towards Culroy Farm.  As we walked along the farmer overtook us on his quad bike and suggested we made a short diversion to see his recently constructed mini hydro scheme.  Accompanied by the farmer and his friendly sheepdog we descended the fields to the Gillespie Burn where it tumbles over a small waterfall.  Hidden away in a narrow glen the power plant sat in a small shed on the edge of the burn where it hummed quietly as it generated a steady supply of electricity to an underground cable to the farm and the National Grid.  Above the falls a small weir had been constructed with water fed down a buried 45mm pipe to the turbine.  All in all it was felt to be a much less intrusive solution than the numerous small wind turbines which have sprouted all over the county and, with our rainfall, is unlikely to suffer the intermittent supply.

On leaving the glen we climbed through the bracken to the old Whitefield to Challochglass Road which we followed eastwards towards the forest.  Once this had been the main route from Wigtown to Glenluce but large sections have now disappeared back into the moorland.  Once we had reached the forest we turned onto a track which led up Grey Hill towards Barhaskine Farm.  A short pause was taken at the top of the hill to admire the extensive views in all directions.  To the east the Galloway Hills were shrouded in cloud while to the south Luce Bay sparkled in watery sunlight with the Rhins and the Mull a blue line on the horizon.  To the north Knock Fell filled the middle distance and to the north west the new turbines around Glenluce turned lazily in the breeze.

We then followed the track through the old steading at Barhaskine and past the ruined farmhouse which had once been a substantial dwelling but now stood roofless and open to the elements.  The grassy track continued downhill round a series of rocky ridges.  One of these provided a comfortable perch for lunch with lovely views down the shallow valley to the sea.  The sun made a watery appearance and all enjoyed the break.

The track became more muddy as we descended into the valley.  The effect enhanced by numerous cows which found us an interesting diversion from their usual bucolic life.  The track wound downwards between rocks and whins and past another ruined farmstead.  A much older one this time built with dry stane walls cut into a sheltered hillside.  Further down, after crossing a pleasant field we reached a new forest road which was drier but the loose surface of sharp stones made for difficult walking.  A short walk over the level fields took us to the main road which we crossed to reach the beach.  Turning to the north west we followed the coast, descending on to the beach to cross the Gillespie Burn where an opportunity was taken to clean our boots.

Walking further along the sand and shingle took us to the Craig Lodge where we found a narrow path on the bank which gave easier going.  We soon reached the Cock Inn again where we retired to enjoy excellent tea and scones.

Next week’s event will be a moderate 8 mile walk in the lower Stinchar valley starting from the shore car park in Ballantrae (NX 082 825) at 10:00. If going direct to the start please contact the walk leader to ensure there are no changes.  Meet at the Riverside Car park in Newton Stewart at 09:00 or the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer at 09:30 to share transport.  New members are always welcome but please contact the walk leader for further details on 01292 441268.


  1. I am so glad you share your walks here, what a great series of photos. I take my walks alone, but it must be fun taking them with a group of people like this!

  2. Tasmania embraced hydro power with gusto, there being over 25-30 plants across little old Tas.
    Lovely images in the post Jim, love the farm visits.

  3. There was an item on local based individual hydro generators recently on Countryfile. No scope for large investors to make a profit there though which is probably why we have wind farms instead.
    Amazed there are still a few dragonflies around.


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