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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Creetown to Newton Stewart April 2014

More pictures and humour on Gordon's Blog 

Saturday the 12th of April 2014
Today's adventure begins with a bus ride.
Eighteen of us catch the bus at Dashwood Square, Newton Stewart, to alight at Creetown where we're joined by two other walkers. (our man from Ayr joins us later to make a grand total of twenty one today)
This walk incorporates a couple of previous walks.

Walking through Barholm Mains, the Hawthorn Cherry blossom is in full bloom.

The fields are full of newborn lambs.
Near this place back in 2008 we encountered three water buffalo.

A short stretch of road walking brings us to the route of the old railway line, now a very popular walk and cycle path.

Goats at Spittal Farm

A new coat of paint for the 'Fossil Tree',  the Sustrans Millennium Milepost created by Jon Mills.

A short break at Cuil.

Wombles at Stronord.
It rained for a short while along this stretch of road, but we were nearing our lunch spot at the Kirroughtree Visitors Centre. We'd soon be in the dry.

The Easter Forest Festival was underway at Kirroughtree this weekend . Half the group dined inside, while those who had packed lunches found shelter under the awning. Catering is provided by the award winning Cream O' Galloway and my Courgette and Garlic soup was excellent.
It was also good to say hello to the Stranraer Free Press editor for the first time, and to Helen, the Cream O' Galloway's marketing manager again.

The sun has emerged as we gather to resume our walk.
Time for a group photograph.

 Our Man from Ayr poses, while Scoop chases.

The 7stanes are seven mountain biking trail centres spanning the south of Scotland. Kirroughtree is one of the most popular. 
"Standing at five-metres in diameter and with a 12 metre ramp on and off, the new bridge was designed and built by Andy Hopkins, 7stanes Technical Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Alasdair Rennie of Sustainable Scotland and other Forestry Commission Scotland staff."  
Improvement works are still ongoing. 

Hi everybody !

Bruntis Loch and beyond.
A lot of forest trail walking today.

It's clambering time.

A swampy patch requiring careful footwork.

Downhill to the remains of Larg Tower.
It was already a ruin in 1844  when only a 20ft high corner remained.
Here's what I said on our last visit.
"This castle and Kirroughtree are connected to Robert the Bruce, the ancestry of the McKie family and 'The Wife of Craigencallie' , a very interesting tale."

Can't see any old relics ?

Now we're entering Doon Wood.

Site of a hill fort and a gathering area for gypsies.

An enchanting tree lined avenue.

Somewhere between thirty and forty fallow deer in a field adjoining Wild Wood.

The short cut home.
To ensure our man from Ayr would catch his bus, three of us took the minor deviation across the golf course.
The rest of the party arrived at the riverside under ten minutes later.
To complete an enjoyable day we repaired to the Belted Galloway for excellent after walk refreshments.

Here's an excellent selection of 

Scoops Pictures 

 Grass of Parnassus ?

Here's A O'K's delightful report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers April 12th 2014   Creetown to Newton Stewart
“By bus to Creetown”, was the instruction to Ramblers this week and consequently eighteen members boarded the bus in Newton Stewart. Alighting near Adamson Square where our walk was to begin two more walkers joined the group. We set off in good spirits over the Money Pool Burn and along tracks to Barholm Mains Farm where we watched frisky lambs and protective mothers grazing in the fields. Crossing the Creetown Road the group climbed the short path up to the disused railway track. The track has been tarmacked and is now part of the national Cycle Route 7 as we discovered from a newly painted fossil tree sign, created by Jon Mills, along the way.  
Spring was in the air with a profusion of wild flowers blooming in the verges – primroses, celandines, stitchwort and speedwell to name a few. A family of cyclists waved cheerfully as they passed by. At the Cairnsmore Viaduct the Ramblers turned right heading up the valley towards the new centre at Kirroughtree where our lunch break was to be taken. Along the road we were met by our Ayrshire walker who had come to join us. Now we were twenty one. The centre was very busy as spring celebrations were taking place. Some walkers elected to picnic on the benches outside while others went in to sample the food provided by Cream of Galloway who now run the café. All enjoyed a visit to the new restrooms which were voted a huge improvement over the old ones.  The group were delighted to meet Alan Hall, editor of the Wigtown Free Press, who faithfully publicises our weekly articles. Also on site was Lucy Hadley forest ranger and Helen Fenby from Cream of Galloway, both of whom have encouraged and assisted Ramblers in past walks
After a most enjoyable break the walk resumed along the blue trail which took us under the new and impressive wheel bridge “Standing at five-metres in diameter and with a 12 metre ramp on and off, the new bridge was designed and built by Andy Hopkins, 7stanes Technical Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Alasdair Rennie of Sustainable Scotland and other Forestry Commission Scotland staff."  A pause was taken for photographs before walking on to the Bruntis Loch where some walkers took a short detour to view the polished pink quartz gemstone, a feature of the Kirroughtree 7 Staines route.
A short walk later and the group abandoned the blue trail crossing the dyke and fields of Larg Farm. Here we viewed Larg Tower now a heap of stones but once the seat of the McKie family who were granted the lands about by Robert the Bruce. Crossing the Queensway the group entered the Doon Wood via a new forest road created to remove the disease ridden larch trees. After a steep climb up Parliament Knowe the group paused for sweeties and a short lecture on how it got its name by becoming a meeting place where lead miners could discuss their grievances against their employers. Later it was used by tinklers as a summer camp for many years.
The walk now took us up a beautiful tree lined path and into Bower Wood. A sharp wind had arisen and we were glad of the shelter of the trees. As we topped a rise in the path we looked straight down into a field, the hollow centre of which was filled with a herd of about thirty fallow deer, some brown, but mostly white, who were sheltering from the wind. They gazed at us in some alarm but we moved on down the path which eventually lead us through Minnigaff, along riverside road and back to our cars. The now customary refreshments were taken in the Belted Galloway café where Gordon was awaiting us with freshly baked scones and a cheery service.
Next week there is an eleven mile walk around the coast and countryside near Portpatrick. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9am or the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.30am for car sharing. The walk starts at Portpatrick South car park at 10am. Thinking of going straight to the start or of joining our group?  Please phone the walk leader on 01581 200256 first.


  1. Dashwood Square looks so beautiful! You found so many lovely things on this walk!

    1. Hi Linda, yes it was a very scenic walk. One of our favourites.

  2. I've been missing in action a bit lately Jim, but have just thoroughly enjoyed catching up on and delighting in the images from your recent posts.
    Oh! isn't lambing season just wonderful! I love it when they're just old enough to form their kindy groups and all the playful antics they get up to!

  3. Great selection of photos there Jim. I like the big (granite?) ball in the square.
    I tried a day out at the Peebles (Glen Tress) 7 Stanes mountain bike forest trails once. Nearly broke my leg after a mere half hour. Strictly for the young athletic types.They were selling Kevlar body armour chest supports in the bike shop and one young guy was driven off in an ambulance after crashing into a tree. Scary stuff some of these "black run" bike trails through the woods.

    1. I've watched a few competitions at Kirroughtree Bob, and if you look closely enough you'll find blood stains. Search Youtube for McMoab and although a few of the clips seem tame, those taken by the cyclist's are cracking.

      Regarding the granite ball, this link tells the story Adamson Square.
      Sadly the sculptor, Hideo Furuta passed away at the age of 57 in 2007. He's left a great legacy in Creetown.

  4. Great to see you surfacing Rose, I'll pop over to your pages later.
    I don't know if you ever saw my video clip of lambs playing to the music of Vivaldi, perhaps it's blocked in Australia. If not I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Here's the link..
    Lambs at Play

  5. It wasn't blocked Jim and I managed to enjoy it (in interrupted bits!) Its my connectivity that is incredibly unstable when it comes to clips. Its so frustrating.
    I laugh with delight when they gambol! Perfect accompaniment - vivaldi!
    Thank you for your visit, kind words and Easter greetings - all back at you my friend, a blessed Easter your way is wished for you.
    -chuckle- it's a wonder I'm surfacing at all this week, I have back to back dental appointments and the bugger really hurt me today! grr.


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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