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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers - Wigtown to Newton Stewart - January 2014

Saturday the 18th of January 2014.
I did the recce for this walk with Shorty on Wednesday the 8th, it was a much drier day.
For most of today's walk it rained. All the photographs I took were with my little camera, my Nicon stayed in the camera case. A lot of photos were too blurred to even contemplate uploading, those I have aren't much better. 
So, the clearer pictures on this post will have been taken on the recce.
Shorty's report will follow. 
Thirteen of us met at Newton Stewart for the 10 am bus to Wigtown. I kept being optimistic about the weather, but the good stuff never really materialized.
After alighting the bus we set off  down Bank Street to turn north along Lover's Walk. Next we crossed the A714 onto the track going by the name of Common Moss Rd.
After crossing the B7005 we were into the fields, muddy tracks, drystane dykes and the Broken Causeway burn. 

This was the view North East on the recce............

.............also lots of birds on the recce.

We're still a happy crowd despite the weather.

We're following what was the route of a busy thoroughfare a while back. It's still possible to make out where the old road was.
No more pictures for a while as we struggle across the Broken Causeway burn, walk a solid track leading to tarmac past Glenturk Moor Croft, Cairnhouse Croft and Cairnhouse Farm. On reaching the A714 we take the farm track west to go through Auchleand Farm. Just beyond the farm the track is quite a novelty, It's relaid sections of a synthetic sports pitch complete with yellow and white stripes. It's an improvement from the muddy track it was, but it'll soon get buried by mud again.  Once we reach the end of the 'carpet' we're into muddy track again. 

Here's where we climb White Hill in the Wood of Auchleand.

This was the view north from White Hill on the recce.
A path through fairly flat bracken takes us downhill, before climbing again................ reach Wood Fell Trigpoint.

Clearer pictures on the recce.
Flush Bracket number S8228.
Had it been a dry and clear day we'd have lunched here. Instead we dropped down into the woods to have our sustenance.

After lunch we're back on solid ground.

It's easier to see everyone smiling in pencil sketch mode.
Our track now leads to tarmac passing Mains of Penninghame and Barwhirran before we again take to the fields. 

This is the old disused Newton Stewart Wigtown railway line, we walk along here till we've almost reached Moor Park of Barr farm.

A collage of pictures from the recce.
Top left above, does anyone else see what I see ?

The best pictures are in the mind and imagination. Which is why radio plays and serials have much better pictures than TV. Who remembers Journey Into Space ?

Into the mud once again dear brothers and sisters !

Behind Moor Park of Barr (two pictures touched up)
Our last climb of the day is up to the phone mast. It's a pull after eight or so miles. 

Recce view to Palnure.

From the phone mast on Barrhill Wood hill.
The classic view of Newton Stewart and the Galloway Hills (honest, the hills are still there !)

Heading downhill towards the meandering Cree.

Our last stretch back to the Riverside Carpark takes us along the river past a new bench dedicated to 19 yo Kieran Currie who was tragically killed by a Hit and run HGV

The Belted Galloway is a mighty welcome experience after such a damp walk. Tea, coffee scones and other delicacies were enjoyed while we sorted out the rest of the world.
Despite the weather we all enjoyed our nine mile hike.

Shorty's report will appear here.

 Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 18/01/2014 – Wigtown to Newton Stewart
The weather forecast was awful but thirteen optimistic ramblers assembled in Newton Stewart to take the bus to Wigtown.  A surprised bus driver deposited the unexpected crowd in the main square and we set off past the County Buildings towards the church under grey skies and a heavy drizzle.  Turning up Church Lane we headed on to Lovers’ Walk where there are usually fine views across the bay towards Creetown.  We were greeted by a grey haze so we carried on down the hill towards the Common Moss road – a squelchy, grassy track in this weather.  There was evidence of the recent gales in fallen trees and ivy blown on to the track but a passage had been cleared and we made our way to the Bladnoch road. 

After crossing the road we took to the fields and made a detour around a temporary lochan and up to the old Wigtown Road.  This had evidently once been a well-made track but was now merely a field edge scattered with whin bushes.  Turning north we were regarded suspiciously by sheep and cattle who soon returned to the important business of grazing.  The track dipped into the valley of the Broken Causeway Burn.  We could find no explanation of this name unless it refers to the gap in the old Wigtown Road.  A little struggle took us across the burn without too many wet feet and we followed the old road towards Moorhead of Glenturk.  The road now improved, first to a good stone track and then a tarmac road as we made our way to the main road at Carsegowan.

Sporadically, the clouds lifted slightly and the rain eased off, giving us hope of a drier day.  However, the rain soon returned with renewed vigour and the clouds descended over the hills across the bay.  A short stop for sweeties encouraged us to continue.

From the main road we took the farm track to Auchleand where the farmer generously offered the use of his sheds as shelter for lunch.  The rain was not too heavy then and it was still quite early, so we carried on along the track.  Just past the farm we were amazed to find the track grassy with white markings.  We eventually realized that this was old AstroTurf carpet overlying the muddy track.  This made easy going for some way but it soon ran out and we were back to stones and mud underfoot.

At the end of the track we emerged onto the grassy knoll of White Hill which we climbed picking the best route over the muddy ground.  At the top of the hill we crossed a stone stile and then followed a deer track though the dead bracken down to a small burn and then back up along the edge of the older trees to the trig point on the top of Wood Fell.  This was the intended lunch stop with its fine views towards the Cairnsmore and southwards over the gently rolling land of the Machars.  However, a cold wind had sprung up and the rain continued fitfully.  We therefore descended into the adjacent trees and found shelter under a large Sitka Spruce.  Here it was sheltered from the wind and relatively dry, apart from the occasional large drip dropping from the branches.

After a short break we descended to the forest road and turned towards Mains of Penninghame and Barwhirran.  A little road walking took us to a field which we crossed to the route of the old Whithorn railway.  We followed the track bed northwards through several gates until just short of Moorpark of Barr. There we turned off the railway and made our way, avoiding the worst of the mud, to the line of the old Wigtown road again.  Here the track winds around rocks and marshes as it makes its way north.  Some sections are deep in mud so we made small detours around the rocks to avoid the worst of it.  We skirted the farm and headed up the hill towards the radio mast on Barrhill.  There were fine views over Newton Stewart and, with sufficient imagination, the Minnigaff Hills could be seen through the murk.

Having paused for a final snack and the traditional photograph, we descended the steep hill down to the new Wigtown Road.  We crossed the road onto the cycle track which we followed back to the Riverside Car Park and the welcome shelter, with tea and cakes, of the Belted Galloway.

Next week’s walk will be a moderate seven and a half mile walk around New Luce.  Meet at the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer or the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 to share transport.  The walk will start at 10:00 from the New Luce village hall.  New walkers are always welcome but for further details please contact the walk leader on 01988 700553.


  1. Mud...rain... familiar territory. However, think you beat us for colour in the landscape!

  2. A fabulous hike with great views Jim (muddy or otherwise) and I actually thought it was reminiscent of a seagull at rest (your rock that is!)

  3. those green fields are so beautiful to see. just gorgeous. didn't see any frost there, needs to be colder ;-)

    Looks and feels like winter here, but we have not gotten any snow or rain for a couple of weeks, seems strange to us.

    lovely to see your walk as always.

  4. You are usually pretty lucky with the weather Jim considering its a fixed programme in your club but you cant win them all. I presume everyone has a change of dry clothes waiting back at the car or somewhere handy? I always feel chilled after a walk like that even if I'm fairly dry due to a sweaty tee shirt caused by having waterproofs on all day.
    If it's any consolation I had my first wet day in ages at the weekend as well:0)

  5. Hi Eliza, I hope you're still seeing some sunshine. we've a rare day of it today.

    Out on a recce yesterday Rose, we were working out what different clouds depicted. Among others we made out a Viking Ship, a Wolf and a Monkey and the Hindenburg.
    We've a little snow on the hilltops Tammie, but no real winter yet. There's still time!
    Hi Bob, we've not been so lucky with the weather at all recently. We'll nearly always call in somewhere for after walk refreshments, so just about everyone brings a change of clothing. Since I sweat a lot, I even bring a towel on occasions.


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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