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Monday, 3 February 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Loch Goosey February 2014

Saturday the 1st of February
Today's walk's a new one. Shorty is today's leader and he and I did a recce for it on Wednesday just past.
It's in the Chellis Forest just by the A714 in South Ayrshire just north of the Dumfries and Galloway border.
Apparently Chellis forest gets it's name from  a C.H.Ellis. Shorty had quite a lot to do with laying out this forest. The weather was pretty atrocious hence only nine of us turning up.
Shorty's report will follow the few not brilliant pictures.  

A short forest road saw us down the first forest ride of the day.

The river Cree, a little higher today than Wednesday (bottom two)

We're heading for the forest ride on the right of the picture, but the burn's high so we're looking for an easier crossing place. I think a few feet got wet here.

It's tussocks round Loch Goosey.
The next forest ride is a marked track on the map, but it looks like the only walkers have been the deer and other forest creatures.

This is Loch Nevan, a small fishing loch.

Once round Loch Nevan we get on the road that leads to Black Clauchrie,  it's a category C(s) listed building. This view was the closest I could get. It was the subject of the Country House Rescue on Channel 4 a while back. It also seems it can be rented out from Large Holiday Homes.

The Black Clauchrie Road

Now we reach the Clauchrie Burn. Why oh why I never took a picture of it flowing fast over the top of the bridge I don't understand. I did think about it, but we'd been walking back five minutes before it crossed my mind. I guess I'm still feeling rough. 

Anyway, our leader very sensibly decided the flow across was far too copious to even attempt it. Even if we had got over this one, the next one a little further on might have been just as bad or worse.

So since we've turned around and in effect shortened the walk by around four miles, here's a few pictures from the recce.
It's certainly shooting country, we came across a number of hides during the walk. Many of them had been damaged by the weather we've been having.

There was lots of this 'Reindeer Lichen' (cladonia portentosa) around the forest. 

I had to zoom in a long way to identify these, but I'm pretty sure they're buzzards.

Occasionally we got glimpses of the 'Awful Hand' range of the Galloway Hills.

This was as close we got to Mark Hill wind farm. 
Here we took a short detour to look at Balmalloch Cairnfield. It's a quite fascinating historic site with as many as 35 small cairns scattered around a fairly small area. Shorty also pointed out the much larger Balmalloch Chambered Cairn a bit further over. There's more information on the Megalithic Website

After passing a bent gate post we came down to Balmalloch.


A step by step drainage project by Shorty.

So back to the walk and apart from taking shelter for a lunch break it was all forest road back to the cars.
Once again I never got my best camera out, and many of today's pictures were ruined due to wet smudges. I'll be ordering my small waterproof camera in the next few days.

Probably the most enjoyable section of today's walk. (The most interesting was the 'No Picture' scene at the Clauchrie Burn)

Here's Shorty's account
Wigtownshire Ramblers – Saturday 1 February 2014 – Loch Goosey Walk

Yet another Saturday with atrocious weather greeted us as we assembled at the side of the main road in South Ayrshire just north of the Galloway border.  Nine intrepid souls set off into the forest seeking shelter from the howling gale and hail which was sweeping in over the moors from the south.  A short walk reached the shelter of the trees and we turned down a forest road towards the River Cree.  The forest road deteriorated into a grassy track and after negotiating our way round a couple of fallen trees we reached the river.  Normally there would be views to the Galloway Hills but on this occasion there were only grey clouds and the rushing river to be seen.

We then followed a rough track which paralleled the river before cutting off through the trees to drop down to its bank.  On the way through the wood we disturbed a solitary woodcock which sped off with amazing agility between the trees.  On reaching the riverbank we followed a narrow deer track along the edge of the water.  It was noticed that the track was well below the flood mark but fortunately the river level was not too high.  A small vole skittered across the track and into the entrance of one of its runs in the long grass.  Here it stopped, leaving its back end sticking out.  It soon realised its mistake and disappeared down the tunnel.  A little further on a buzzard patrolled the edge of the forest, possibly seeking voles.

Further up the river we turned up a forest ride and over a low rise to reach Loch Goosey.  A short walk through the trees reached the loch shore.  The rain had stopped for the time being but the water was choppy in the brisk breeze and shone a steel grey under the scudding clouds.  We made our way around the edge of the loch, trying to avoid the worst of the wet ground, and soon reached a forest ride on the low hill beyond the loch.

Following the ride towards a route marked as a track on the map took us past the end of a forest road but there was no sign of a track on the ground.  However the ride continued northwards and we followed it until we reached the Loch Nevan burn.  Here we had our first serious obstacle of the day.  During the recce the burn had been a narrow strip of water confined within high banks.  Now it presented a twenty metre stretch of water.  Turning upstream we eventually found a point where we could jump across.  Most of the group made it without getting their feet too wet.

We then returned to the ride and made our way northwards over a series of low drumlins until we reached Loch Nevan, which we skirted to reach the tarmac road leading to Black Clauchrie.  Along the way we met a pair of deer stalkers who were seeking a third companion who seemed to have gone missing.  We promised to keep our eyes open for him and carried on northwards along the forest road towards the Clauchrie Burn.

After about 1km we reached the first bridge across the Clauchrie Burn. This proved a second and insurmountable obstacle as the water was running strongly over the deck of the bridge and there were no rails to prevent someone being washed over in the event of a slip.  As there was a second, similar bridge further along the route to be crossed and the water level seemed to be rising it was decided to abandon the northern loop of the walk and return southwards.

The rain and wind had returned so we followed the road back towards the forest gate and once we reached the larger trees we sought shelter among them for lunch.  We found this to be reasonably dry and soon recovered our spirits.  After lunch we continued down the road avoiding the large puddles which crossed its entire width as best we could.  After passing an area recently felled following an attack of Phytophthora disease of the larch and fighting the head wind we soon reached the cars.

The group retired to the Belted Galloway in Newton Stewart, enjoying tea, coffee and scones as they regained feeling in their frozen and damp extremities.

Next week’s walk, hopefully in better weather, will be a moderate 7 mile walk around Dunragit, starting from Glenwhan Gardens (NX 152 585) at 10:00.  Meet at the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer or the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 to share transport.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01776 700707 for full details.


  1. Looks a wild walk Jim as I know what Galloway tussocks are like away from the beaten path network so I hope you stayed dry. If I'm feeling rough I just keep indoors these days. Maybe one day soon something will occur to give the jet stream a boot up the bum and let some decent weather appear again.

  2. I love the name "Goosey", and I love the beautiful scenes here from your walk!

  3. Thanks Bob, I don't know whether It was Saturday or Sunday that I picked up the bug that literally drained me, maybe I should have stayed at home. After nearly three days on the throne, I thank the makers of Imodium for restoring normality.

    It's a lovely area Linda, but it's much nicer in good weather. I guess the loch gets it's name from migrating geese.


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