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Monday, 20 April 2015

Wigtownshire Ramblers Torhouse Stone Circle to the Bladnoch April 2015

Saturday the 18th of April
This was a new walk incorporating part of a previous walk I led.
My walk report will follow the pictures.
Since I was leading my opportunities for taking pictures was limited so I'll include a few recce pictures.
After leaving four cars at Bladnoch for ferrying drivers back, we made our way back to the walk start. 

Twenty four walkers gathered round the mysterious Torhouse Standing Stones circle.

Unfortunately due to the lambing season, the first part of the walk had to be changed at the last minute resulting in more road walking than I'd planned.  

One good thing !
I wouldn't have got these gorgeous creatures at Redbrae if we hadn't walked along the road.

This was the first time I ever had the feeling that I was being watched by a tree.

Even Skunk Cabbage makes for a lovely picture.

Entering the grounds of Torhousemuir House

The year of the additions in the Victorian era

The 1871 date is on the wing to the right.

A friendly dog greets the group

The croft grounds of Barnanchor

Mossend, the former home of Joe Whiteford, the author of the book,

A break to view Hill View Croft.

A Balmeg cat

Passing Balmeg

A field to cross near Balmeg

Clauchrie Forest Road end

Lunch on the banks of the Bladnoch and by Torhouse Mill

We saw several herons on the recce

A yellow grey wagtail.
Thanks to TwoSticks for the correction. 

Torhouse Trout Farm Tour
Mark Davies, trout farm owner and tour guide.

Some fine specimen of Rainbow trout

Mark also works in conjunction with the
Galloway Fisheries Trust and

Raceways and size grading machine

Mark concludes an excellent tour and encourages us to eat more fish, especially trout, and particularly from ASDA

Passing Newmilns.
Time for me to count walkers.
They wouldn't go along with my idea of calling out their numbers from the front.
Come in number 24 !

Power and Plant

Approaching the Cotland Plantation

Bladnoch riverside to the distillery

Otter tracks at Bladnoch

View from Bladnoch Bridge and the walk finish.
Well done to those walkers who added another 1.3 miles to the Bayview Bistro at Wigtown.

Update Monday
Just received a couple of nice pictures from Miss Goodnight

Lunchtime on the Bladnoch

Here's the walk report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday the 18th of April

24 walkers gathered at the Torhouse Standing Stones for the walk start. A plaque in the enclosure gave an account of the history of the stones. Local tradition maintains that it is the site of King Galdus's Tomb. 
After the leader outlined the route we began the walk in single file along the B733 towards Wigtown where after half a mile we turned north east onto the road to Torhousemuir. It's lambing season and in the sunshine the feeling was that spring had arrived. We passed the time of day with the local farmer before continuing up the lane to Torhousemuir House. 
Here the leader read out some of the house's history. Previous illustrious owners included Sir Archibald Woollaston White, Lt.-Cdr. Charles David Orr Ewing, Lord John Percy Samuel FitzRoy, and General James McHaffie who began dividing the land into what became the only crofting community in the South of Scotland. 
We were pleasantly surprised when a lady resident of the present owners came out and talked to us. We thank them for allowing us to view their beautiful house and estate.
Resuming the walk we now made a circuit of the estate around some of the original crofts. Not all are in ruins and the likes of Knockskeog, Meadowbank and Balmeg are now farms in their own right.
Our walk leader had with him for reference Joe Whiteford's book 'Memories of a Wigtownshire Crofter' and among the ruins we looked at was Mossend where he was raised. Descendants of a number of the crofters still farm and live locally. 
On reaching Balmeg, we now carefully crossed a dyke to enter Clauchrie forest. Though tree felling has been considerable it was good to see that many new trees have been planted. We carefully crossed the edge of the felled area to reach the forest farm track back down to the Wigtown/Kircowan road.
A short distance away we reached the Torhouse Mill road and were soon on the banks of the beautiful Bladnoch enjoying lunch.
A yellow wagtail flittered back and forth.
After lunch we looked around where some of the original mill stood. We could still make out the wheelpit and the lade. The lade is now in use for the Torhouse Trout farm, more of which we were about to learn.
We were soon greeted by the owner proprietor Mr Mark Davies who had generously agreed to give us a tour of the trout farm. Back in 1792 a 'Waulkmill' on this site employed 40 workers making "plaiding and flannel" for export to England.  
We began the tour in the hatchery learning of the Rainbow trout's feeding and growth before continuing out to the larger rearing tanks, ponds and raceways. We saw and learned of their progress from egg to Asda.  
It was fascinating to see the fish in their respective sizes of development. A vote of thanks and three cheers went to Mr Davies for the insight into how amazingly fresh our fish is in the supermarket.
We now continued the walk following the river to reach Newmilns, the site of another one time Farina mill. The wheelpit of this mill is also quite intact. 
Duckboards now aided our progress back onto the path along the riverside before we entered a grass field. 
Two more gates and fields led us to the edge of the Cotland Plantation. 
A small assault course of an electric fence, a barbed wire fence and a short steep drop, strewn with broken branches, brought us back onto the riverside path.
The 18th-century historian of the county Samuel Robinson noted that this was the finest scenery of the whole fifteen miles of the Bladnoch and we were inclined to agree. Though we were too big a group today to see any, otters and kingfishers are known to be in numbers along this stretch of water. We at the front were delighted to see a majestic heron taking off by the weir, the beginning of the distillery lade. Across the river is the Kirwaugh plantation and is a favourite spot for salmon fishing, the Linghoor Pool being known as one of Scotland's finest.
A number of fallen trees were safely negotiated to bring us to the distillery at Bladnoch where otter tracks were spotted.
Here was the end of the walk and drivers were ferried back to their vehicles. A number of walkers continued to walk the remaining 1.3 miles to the Wigtown Bayview Bistro who as always excelled in providing delicious after walk refreshments and drinks. A fitting end to a good day and a well done to those walkers who completed the extra distance.

Next week walk is a B- twelve mile 'Woods and Moorland' circular walk from Gatehouse of Fleet to Loch Whinyeon and Glengap. Meet at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 8.45 am or the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9.15 am for car sharing. The walk start is at Cally Woods Car Park (NX 605 561) at 10am. If going straight to the walk start or considering joining us, please phone the walk leader on 01776 840226 first.

UPDATE 20th April 2015

How could I have forgotten the mini rally we just caught at the Bladnoch.


  1. The image 'view from Bladnock Bridge' is begging to be painted - and perhaps a pencil sketch of 'smiley'.
    A lovely walk in brilliant weather James.

    1. Sorry for the late reply to all comments on this post - but I'll answer you at about 10pm tonight Rose.

  2. those lambs are so cute!
    that is quite a tree, such a character .

    enjoyed seeing all your photos.

    1. Thanks Tammie and good wishes for a great summer in Montana, I'll be sure to keep visiting!

  3. You certainly packed a lot into that day out. Lamb photos and otter tracks and the Grey Wagtail (I always think a yellow bird should be called yellow instead of the misleading grey) are all excellent. A tour round a trout farm would be interesting.

    1. Cheers Bob, I agree the bird should be named yellow. The trout farm was very interesting. And thanks for your good wishes for Rose and me.


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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