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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Bargrennan March 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Bargrennan Circular March the 1st 2014
I'm still suffering a little from my sinuses running like some of the waterfalls we'll see today, but it's a moderate walk so I should be OK.
28 of us gathered at Bargrennan Hall for the walk start. We'd have had 29 if the Ayrshire Blogger had got it right, but he had a good day anyway.
Today's leader is the 'Weaver' and her report will follow the pictures.
Apparently today's walk is plan 'C' due to insurmountable weather and geological factors. 
Our walk starts by following a section of the Southern Upland Way.

The path alongside the river Cree is sometimes muddy.

Along the Braes of Barmore.
Trees are being felled on a massive scale due to the larch disease. At the rate they're coming down we'll soon have no forest park !

Reaching the road at Clachaneasy we take a short break. It's a beautiful morning.

A little further down the Cree we turn east.

Much of Brigton Woods has been felled.

We're soon crossing the Wood of Cree road and turning North East.
Twenty eight walkers is the most we've had for some while, and folk are catching up with each other.
As well as keeping us fit, rambling also keeps us in touch, we're a very sociable group.
Anyone reading this who's perhaps thought 'maybe I should get walking', why not come along and try us out, you never know, you might just like us.

Now we reach the banks of the beautiful Water of Minnoch.

The light today with occasional cloud is very conducive to getting decent pictures.

A short detour up the river brings us down to the Old Bridge of Minnoch, also called the Roman Bridge.
I've gone into theories before about the name Roman Bridge, it's an old pack horse bridge built in the 17th or 18th century. More likely Romany than Roman.

Not everyone ventured on the bridge, perhaps 28 might have put a strain on the keystone.
We disturbed a Kingfisher on our arrival, it's bright colours last seen heading north up the river. 

Overlooking McKie's Wiel we stopped for lunch.
Thanks to Scoop for two thirds of the above collage.

We're in the natural oak woodland of Holm Wood. 
The sunshine through the trees makes for pleasant walking.
We cross the bridge near High Minniwick to walk north on the eastern bank of the river.

Two of the group make use of a handy bench. The area on the opposite side of the river at this point goes by the beautiful name of 'Auld Wife's Stank'

Our route now takes us along the Water of Trool to cross the footbridge just before Black Loup on the river. This is where we leave the SUW. 
However, seven of the group when offered a walk extension up to Caldons were happy to accept the extra. 

We soon rejoin the Water of Minnoch and continue towards Stroan Bridge. 
One of the most popular areas of the Galloway Forest Park is Glentrool with Glentrool Visitor's Centre located at Stroan Bridge. 
The waterfalls here are particularly attractive.

Another collage with three quarters from Scoops camera.

I get a few of the walkers on the bridge.............

...............a little bit warmer than in 2010 !

Now our route takes us close to Glentrool village before taking the forest road south west.

Looking at the clouds gathering we might just be timing the walk right.

A nice background of the Galloway Hills as the group catches up.

The tree felling is uncovering previously unseen ruins.
This may have just been a barn, I can't find it on the OS or old maps. Someone will know ? 
Back at the cars we got rid of boots etc, to head to the House O' Hill  for some excellent after walk fare.
Our seven adventurers were right behind having came back by road from Glentrool village.
A very enjoyable day in the forest and along the rivers.

Here's the 'Weaver's walk report.

Saturday 1st March Ramblers’ walk

The first bright Saturday for some while brought out a magnificent twenty eight walkers for the Ramble on Saturday. It was advertised as an easy walk past waterfalls, lochs and along rivers but the recent rain had swelled the small burns into raging torrents and the route was a little too difficult to make walking pleasant.

An alternative circular route was used, taking the walkers from Bargrennan, along the Southern Upland Way to Stroan Bridge, and back along forest paths and roads. It set off on the path above the Cree where forestry operations had been taking place opening up the ground above. The Cree was a noisy companion, with water rushing by, crashing over rapids and boulders. A lone machine was heard working in the woodland, sadly still felling the diseased larch trees.

After crossing the minor road at Clachaneasy the muddy path soon brought the ramblers to the River Minnoch near to Borgan Bridge. The birds sang as a precursor of spring and frogspawn was seen in the ditches along the road. The Community woodland Trust’s woods had avoided the blanket felling that was going on all around, and it was a pleasant walk through the deciduous trees where bright green spring growth was beginning to show alongside the path.

A short detour took the party to the Old Bridge of Minnoch or the ‘Roman Bridge’ as it is sometimes called. It was a change to see the picturesque bridge from this side of the river, and most walkers took the opportunity to clamber up the steep gradient and view the Minnoch from the top. A kingfisher flashed by, too fast for the keen photographers to get a picture.

The ponds of the nature reserve did not show their usual compliment of frogs as the walkers passed and as the sunshine continued to penetrate the trees, a sunny glade nearby was chosen as a lunch spot. It was not far from here that the Minnoch was crossed at Holme Bridge, and the way continued along newly planted trees, passing the junction of the Minnoch and the Water of Trool to Stroan Bridge.

Just before the Water of Trool footbridge, a party of seven walkers left the rest to extend their walk along to Caldons, and back by the newly made high path to Stroan Bridge. Meanwhile the others lingered awhile at the Visitor Centre where the Minnoch gave a wonderful display of acrobatics amongst the rocky outcrops and pools beside the picnic site.

A woodland path beside the road provided a quiet, though sometimes boggy, walk back to Glen Trool village, where a forest road turned off, taking the main group back to Bargrennan whilst avoiding vehicles using the public road. Along here there were few trees left and the views over the surrounding countryside were beautiful. A pastoral scene to the west towards Knowe Village showed where the advertised walk should have taken place, to the east were the remaining forests around Larg Fell and Holm Ferrach, whilst to the North West were the high hills with softly muted colouring which enhances the Galloway heights at this time of year.

It was a delight to finish the walk without any rain, and the company adjourned to House O’ the Hill for welcome refreshments, where they were joined by the seven energetic walkers who had made the detour. Rain started soon afterwards!

Next week’s walk is a C+ walk of 11 miles. It will be from the Transformer at Auchenclosh back to Cairnryan. Meet at Riverside Newton Stewart, 9am, Breastworks, Stranraer 9.30am or Cairnryan for the 9.45 bus to the walk start at Auchencrosh Cross Roads ( NX 095 790 ) 10am. Don’t forget bus passes. Please phone the walk leader on 01581 200256 for more information or if going directly to the walk start. New walkers are always welcome.


  1. Sorry I missed the walk , as usual excellent pictures . Hope to see you soon.

    1. Cheers Gordon glad you had a good day despite missing the walk. Watch out for 'Hoof Hearted' running at Epsom soon !

  2. another wonderful walk
    a mix of clouds and blue skies
    friends walking and talking is the best

  3. Some nice river scenery there Jim. That's a good number of members on the old bridge. I often wonder with these things just how much of a direct load they can take.

    1. Hi Bob, me and another walker had noticed some damage to the keystone. I'd wager 28 of us might have tipped it. Down here I think we have four of the most scenic water courses in Scotland. My blogs are full of the Cree, the Water of Minnoch and the Paslnure and Penkiln burns.

  4. Thanks Tammie, and thanks for your snow and ice, I think we may have missed a winter this year.


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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