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Monday, 16 February 2015

Wigtownshire Ramblers Skyreburn Circular February 2015

Saturday the 14th of February 2015

 This was a new walk for the ramblers.
Of the hills we climbed, I/we've been up two of them.
Each time the ramblers walked to Pibble Mine, I was away, but I did get to Pibble Hill summit back in 2010.

The other one is Kenlum Hill, but by a different route and with the Ramblers.

Our walk leader was Shorty and his report will follow the pictures.
Twenty three of us gathered at a junction on the Corse of Slakes road between Creetown and Skyreburn for the walk start.
Our walk leader pointed out the route.

It was a tarmac road to begin with

Shorty kept up a good pace................

................and backup Mr Lionheart kept watch at the rear

We took a short break just below Cambrett  Hill..........

...............and took to the moors

Bog and drainage burns were a feature for much of the walk

Climbing Pibble Hill, we soon gained height.
The pole signified the gas pipe crossing. A big lump of quartz sat in a drystone dyke and we looked down on what was a steel yard but now distribute bottles and barrels of whisky

A wry smile from our leader

It was a fair pace.....

...............and Cambret Hill  got further away

Pibble ridge levelled out, but the going wasn't a lot easier.

The summit of Pibble. To the north Cairnsmore still had his hat on.

Quite a few pockets of snow remained

The lochan still had a little ice around the edges.
I remember coming across a few skulls up here in 2010.

We crossed the Nick of Trestran

Meikle Bennan climb

A mid hill sweetie break

A few walkers at a more sensible pace

In the above picture of the Big Water of Fleet Viaduct, the buildings bottom left house the 

There's a poem called Silhouettes and Soliloquies. I should have been reciting it as I compiled the collage.

Meikle Bennan summit and Flush Bracket S3872 

After leaving Meikle Bennan the weather brightened considerably and the sun shone for the rest of the walk. Our views became quite extensive. 

Our group members from the Gatehouse were able to pick out many prominent features 

After Meikle Bennan a slight descent brought us to Stey Fell, a long  high ridge with the steep western edge being the area where the small moorland streams merge to become the Skyre Burn.  

A long zoom in got me this picture of the masts back on Cambret.
There's something about masts, pylons and power lines ! 

The cloud eventually lifted on Cairnsmore of Fleet

Lunch break on Stey Fell

Refreshed and ready for the second half

Another descent though not so steep.

Our cumulative elevation gain would have taken us up to Cairnsmore's south summit.

A brighter day gets better pictures.
Doon of Culreoch and White Top of Culreoch above Culreoch Farm
Almost, but not quite in the picture is where the Little and Big Water of Fleets converge to become the Water of Fleet

More heathery swamp brought us in view of our last summit

The ascent of Kenlum

Carstramon Wood, Ornockenoch Loch, Benfadyeon and Bengray at 366 Metres

The last descent
Just south of Fleet bay from left to right lie Barlocco Isle, Ardwall Isle and Murray's Isles

Kingslaggan farm to the right brought us onto the old military road back to the vehicles.

Snowdrops at the roadside

A petrified rugby ball ?

A last stretch of the legs.

Here's Shorty's report and a collage
Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 14 February 2015 – Skyreburn Circular

Twenty three ramblers assembled at the crossroads in the valley of the Skyre Burn.  Looking northwards we could view most of the intended walk.  The weather, which had been bright and clear when we left home was somewhat overcast but the cloud level was well clear of the hills as we set off cheerfully up the road towards Cambret Hill.  This road forms part of the military road from Carlisle to Portpatrick which was constructed in the 1760s to facilitate the movement of troops to Ireland.  It followed the route of earlier roads, possibly dating back to Roman times when they travelled westwards from the camp at Gatehouse of Fleet to gain the minerals abundant in the hills.  It is a stiff climb to the pass below Cambret Hill and must have been a difficult ascent in full military equipment.

After a mile or so of climbing and a pause to distribute sweets we squelched off across the boggy land towards Pibble Hill.  The first section of the watershed is poorly named; not much water seemed to have been shed from this area.  After a quarter of a mile the land rose a little and became rockier and the going became drier and easier.  A steady climb took us to a march dyke which we followed upwards.  Across the dyke male Red Grouse clucked off noisily across the moor while the more sensible females slipped silently away in a different direction.  Remnants of snow drifts remained in patches along the dyke which suggested that there had been a considerable fall in this area.

We soon reached the summit of the hill and enjoyed views westwards towards the Cree and the Machars and northwards into the Galloway Hills.  Patches of sunlight now picked out areas of the countryside and only the summit of the Cairnsmore retained a small cap of mist.  Our route now took us eastwards and descended steep slopes to the head of the Skyre Burn at the Nick of Trestran.  We then headed up the heathery slopes to Meikle Bennan.  When we reached the trig point on the summit we paused to take in the magnificent views and more sweeties.  To the north the Cairnsmore with its steep eastern crags still covered with snow dominated the horizon.  Further round, the cliffs of the Clints of Dromore stood out clearly with the other Galloway Hills stretching away into the haze.  In the other direction the waters of Fleet Bay glistened in the sunshine.

A ridge led us southwards into the bright sunshine towards Stey Fell with views eastwards to the Fleet valley and westwards to the upper reaches of the Skyre Burn.  As we went some excitement was caused by the appearance of a large bird of prey soaring on the steady breeze.  This turned out to be a Red Kite.  Lunch was taken in the shelter of the summit of the Fell.  After eating our well-earned lunches we reluctantly climbed back over the fell and set off down the descending ridge towards Scar Hill and the adjacent forest.  Once we crossed a march dyke the heather became a lot taller which made the going more difficult.  An animal track lead us to the forest dyke which we followed as we struggled up the steep slopes to the summit of Kenlum Hill.  Once again we paused in the bright sunshine to admire the views in all directions.  Gatehouse of Fleet spread out below us and the islands of Fleet stood out in the sparkling sea.  In the distance we could make out the mass of Criffel in the mist.

Descending the steep northern slopes of the hill we soon reached Kings Laggan Farm and the Old Military Road which we followed gratefully back to the cars.  All in all a strenuous but most enjoyable walk improved by the lovely weather.  We then retired to the Gem Rock Museum café who generously stayed open late to provide us with excellent tea and cakes.

Next week’s walk will be a strenuous walk in the hills north of Glentrool.  There will be an early start to take advantage of the daylight.  Meet at 08:00 at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer or at 08:30 at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart to share transport.  The walk will start at 09:00 from the Bruce’s Stone upper car park.  (NX 416 804).  A less ambitious walk around Loch Trool has also been arranged.  Meet at Stranraer at 9am, Newton Stewart at 9.30am for the start of the walk at Bruce's Stone car Park at 10am.


  1. A wonderful selection of stunning panoramas and vistas on this obviously challenging walk. What would a post be without a few masts, pylons and power lines - after all they are part of the landscape these days. It's cooling to see a little snow still laying about. I grew exhausted enjoying this walk via armchair travel! :)

    1. Well Rose, I'll make sure you see at least part of this walk when you come to Scotland. The Corse of Slakes road is a lovely drive too.

  2. Looks a good hike Jim. It's been a funny old winter so far this year. Mid February and yet it almost feels like spring already. Maybe it's just lulling us into a trap when we starting going around in T shirts.

    1. I think you're right Bob, there'll be a sting in Winter's Tail.

  3. Some stunning shots Jim but looks like it was rough going in places.

    1. It was Sandy, as you'll know, pulling boots out of clingy bog can be quite exhausting. A grand walk though.

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