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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Talnotry June 2014

Saturday the 28th of June 2014
Saturday's walk was a strenuous A walk to Billy Marshall's cave and beyond. Because of this, A O'K recce'd a low level alternative for walkers wanting an easier day.
The leaders of the hill climb were the Milkmaid and Lionheart.
The 'Milkmaid' and A O'K will be writing the walk report and that will follow the images.
I'll begin the post with 


Because I was still aching from the Rig of the Jarkness on Thursday, I opted for the easier walk.
It's a variation of a walk we did back in October 2011.

Eleven of us set off from the Talnotry Car Park, climbing up to the path running south west.
This was probably the hardest part of the walk.

Talnotry Hill Viewpoint

Here's a landscape picture from Miss Goodnight, shame this blog author got in the way !

We had a bit of a scramble down to the Loch of the Lowes. 
I didn't get any decent pictures here, so here's a collage from a previous visit when I saw the goldeneye ducks. 

A change of direction took us north east along the forest road.
Once the main road out of Newton Stewart it's still called the Old Edinburgh Road. 

Another fine picture from Miss Goodnight.

When we came to this :- Shaft(dis) as marked on the OS map, I thought I had the answer.
In 2008 and 2011, I mentioned it as being a lead or copper mine, then on my blog posts thinking I'd corrected myself by calling it the Talnotry Nickel Mine.
Now after looking at grid references and I've come to the conclusion  I know nothing about this shaft. The Talnotry Nickel Mine is located nearer the Glen of the Bar and aditnow have nothing about this particular shaft.
I've narrowed the grid ref to NX 488 724, or one digit either way. I can find no reference to this particular location anywhere on the internet. Perhaps some geological genius will finally put me right.

Three of us took a short diversion to look at this cracking waterfall and pool on the Grey Mares Tail burn.
Wild swimming here I come !
Back on the forest road we found an ideal pile of stones for a lunch break.

After lunch we continued along to the Black Loch.

I stitched two pictures together to get the whole of 'The Eye' in.

"Standing around 8 metres high this perfect spire is made from red-earthen tiles, showing their rough broken edge on the outside. Once you are standing beside it you should soon realise why it’s creator Colin Rose has called it the ‘Eye’!"

As this dead mole was discovered one walker recollected the texture of a certain moleskin jacket.

On reaching the Tonderghie burn, we rounded the loch and retraced our steps along the forest road. 

Back at the Grey Mares Tail burn we turned south.
Here we came to the Matt Baker sculptures. A few years older than I thought, they go back to 1997.

Although the 'Quorum' stays in place, it appears one of the lone sculptures has been stolen.
It's possibly the reason for new concrete 'filling in' shown here.

Grey Mare's Tail path.

Grey Mares Tail gorge, scene of a fatal 'Gorge Jumping' pursuit.
Perhaps a more permanent memorial could be erected ?

A climb down.................

.............then up again.

There's a well worn path up here.

Built in 1835 the listed obelisk Murray's Monument is a very popular short climb.
Being located right beside the A712, the Newton Stewart to New Galloway road with a handy car park right below makes it attractive to passers by.

Our weary climbers take a moment.

The path round the back of the monument takes us back to the cars.
Our group then returned to Newton Stewart to enjoy excellent refreshments at the Belted Galloway.

Now here's a few pictures from Shorty and one from the Milkmaid of the 


Update 7th of July :- I received some pictures today from the 'Croupier' taken by her husband during this climb. Here's a selection.
 Looking back to Murray's Monument.

 Inside Billy Marshall's cave.

 Is that a troglodyte ?

 Wreckage and Shorty

Millfore Summit
Thanks for dealing me those good lady, it's my pleasure to include them.

Doesn't time fly, It's almost five years since we last climbed to Billy Marshall's Cave.
2009 Walk 
I believe all of these pictures were taken after the visit to the cave.
(It's also quite possible I have some out of sequence, if so I hope it doesn't bother anyone, 'cause it doesn't me)
 After lunch in Louran Glen

 Wreckage of the USAF McDonald Douglas Phantom which crashed into Cairnsmore on the 28th of March 1979.

Fence leading up to the Nick of the Saddle.

It looks tough.

Which way now ?

Minnigaff Hills View.

Last braes before the Nick of the Saddle.

 Nick of the Saddle

 Meikle Mulltaggart

 A cool wind blows across the lesser known Millfore summit.

Millfore Hill.

Here's the reports.

Wigtownshire Ramblers 28th June 2014
On Saturday Wigtownshire Ramblers had a choice of two walks, a high level walk with a diversion to Billy Marshall’s cave and a low level walk around Talnotry.
17 ramblers choosing the high level walk set off from Talnotry, crossing the Palnure burn and following the forest road upwards until the Louran burn was reached. A short push through well grown bracken led to a grassy walk along a picturesque stream with large flat rocks and small waterfalls. The lack of recent rain made the Louran burn easy to cross.
The group then traversed the moorland towards the slopes of Cairnsmore of Fleet, where wild goats were spotted camouflaged against the rocks. Leaving rucksacks against a large boulder a detour took walkers to Billy Marshall’s cave which they then explored with torches. In the 1700s this cave was used as a hide out for a gang, whose leader was Billy Marshall, and as a store for the proceeds of their activities which probably included smuggling. Reputedly Billy Marshall lived to be 120, married 17 times and had scores of children. He is buried in St Cuthbert’s churchyard in Kirkcudbright.
Re-donning rucksacks the party followed the fence line leading up to the Nick of the Saddle. Part of the USAF McDonald Douglas Phantom light aircraft, which crashed into Cairnsmore of Fleet on 28th March 1979, lay across the route.  A rocky area close to this was chosen for lunch.
Refreshed, the walkers continued through rough heather up to the Nick of the saddle where they were able to enjoy panoramic views. This included the Lake District hills and Northern Ireland. In contrast the path to Meikle Mulltaggart was easy underfoot, then following a bike track past peat hags on a flat plateau, the rocky slopes of Craignelder were reached. This was a quick climb and the cairn of Millfore Hill was a stroll from here. The visibility was so good that the dome on Lowther Hill could be seen.
Descending, a quad bike track led to a forest ride which led to a forest road and eventually cars waiting at the Red Deer Range car park where drivers could be ferried to Talnotry for their cars.

Meanwhile a second group, who were looking for an easier day, set off on a circular walk which led past the Loch of the Lowes and along the Old Edinburgh Road. The entrance to an old mine was investigated followed by a diversion to see the waterfall on The Grey Mares Tail burn which was disappointing as it was as low as any of the party could remember seeing before. Shortly afterwards lunch was taken beside the bridge over the burn. They then followed the road to the Black Loch stopping to admire the Eye, a sculpture standing around 8 metres high. It is a perfect spire representing a needle with an “eye” through its centre.  After circling the Black Loch the group walked past the Quorum, a group of heads carved from local stone and set into the walls of a sheep enclosure. The ramblers then walked up and over a hill and down towards the car park at Murray’s Monument. The climb to the top of the monument was rewarded by views across the valley and the party were able to trace the route taken by the other group along the forest road and up to Billy Marshall’s cave. They were not in view however, having long since completed that part of their walk. The group wandered back down the path to the cars at Talnotry car park. Unlike the first group they were back in time for tea and cakes at The Belted Galloway in Newton Stewart.

Next week on Saturday July 5th there is an 8 mile linear walk from Isle of Whithorn to Garlieston. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 8.30am, Stranraer Breastworks at 8.15am, or Garlieston (NX 478 462) at 9.30 where the bus will be caught to the start of the walk (remember bus passes if you have one). No dogs allowed on this walk. New members are always welcome but must contact the walk leader on 01988 840268.


  1. Very nice landscapes on both walks, Jim. It is great that you have so many walkers each time.

    1. Thanks Maria, in such good weather we were always going to get a good turn out. On miserable days we have seen the turnout as low as 5.

  2. Great range of photographs Jim over both walks. Like the sculptures and the monument. I've always thought gorge scrambling and abseiling was inherently dangerous for youngsters, even with supervision. The number of times I've nearly slipped or tripped descending gorges after a rock climb... by far the most dangerous part of the day. and jumping into deep pools is just asking for trouble if you do it regularly.

    1. Hi Bob, I agree, crossing even a trickle of water can lead to fatalities. Every summertime there's a needless tragedy because 'It looked safe and easy'.

  3. That wreckage is such a poignant anomaly. I'm sure you enhance the greens - so lush and so vibrant.

    1. I do occasionally enhance pictures That Cat. In this post I've put a little bit extra light on a few of the duller pictures , but there are no other colour enhancements on this post. Our lush and vibrant (tussocks) greens can be painful to walk on.

  4. Hi,
    The piece of wreckage you found is a part of the Heinkel 111 that also crashed on Eastmans Cairn not too far from the Phantom,


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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