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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Straiton February 2014

Saturday the 15th February 2014
All photos taken today were with my new Pentax WG10. Throughout the day I experimented with different settings, hence different quality of pictures. It's very good in the sunshine.
Walk report to follow the picture.

Today's walk begins in the lovely Ayrshire village of Straiton...........
...........but first we have to get there. Shorty's our driver today. There was no snow in Newton Stewart, but as we gained height up the Straiton road from Glentrool we ran into it.
Though it was raining when we got to Straiton, the forecast was for it to dry up.
Myself and the 'Ranger' did most of the first part of today's walk back in February 2012.

There's only ten of us up for today's walk. This is the 6th walk in a row that's begun with rain, however it will fair up. John 'Two Sticks' is well ready for whatever the weather throws at us.

Our leader, top left above, is our favourite Ayrshire Blogger and he knows this area like the back of beyond his  hand.

We're soon into the fields climbing. I haven't any idea how I got the mottled effect on the bottom picture above, the lens was quite dry.

It's blowing a gale and raining, but at least the wind is on our backs.

The last part up here is quite steep, and because of it's similarity in incline to Knockdolian, it's been christened K2 by Mistress A.OK...... of the devil !

The monument is to Sir James Hunter Blair, 1st Baronet, killed at the Battle of Inkerman.
He lies buried on Cathcart's Hill, near Sebastopol, with seven of his brother officers
My own connection is that of my old regiment, the 20th foot who also fought at the Battle of Inkerman.

I've stolen 'Slew's' picture to get myself in the picture, but I'm thinking I shouldn't have bothered !

To the north and west the weather was clearing. Here I noticed the zoom difference of cameras. I've cropped the above pictures to a fraction of their size. To the north our leader pointed out snow covered Ben Lomond. To the west was Ailsa Craig and the snow capped mountains of Arran.

Now we head into the wind. There's still the odd patch of snow here. It's downhill to the Glentrool road.
We keep getting views of the white capped Galloway Hills.

A breather and a photo call.

We'll see a lot more tumbling water before the day is out.

We're still descending but the weather's changing for the better.

Below us the Water of Girvan has burst it's banks in a few places.

Once on the road we follow it a short way before taking the riverside path. We cross the Girvan over to Craigfad where we then head north. 

We walk a low level path for a short distance...........

..................before beginning to climb again.

Short breaks are again needed.

We finally get to the top of Bennan (could also be called K3) where the wind almost blows us off the hill. 

Now our leader has created an extension to the published walk by taking us west for a few hundred yards.

Undulating moor, but a nice view of  Maybole, and a glimpse of Goat Fell on Arran (top right)

A gate takes us into a field where we turn east.

Built into my camera is a framing process, here's a couple.

A couple of muddy gate holes and we're looking down on these horse riders. 

Finally I get a picture I really like.

Once we're through the sheep we get a chance to clean muddy boots in the Cawin burn.
By Bennan farm we encounter a playful puppy called Nell.

A heron ignores the clapping and noise of our passing.

Once over this footbridge it's a short walk back to the cars.

Having lunch by the car park meant the majority of us had left our rucksacks behind. That lightened the load up the hills. A good idea leader !

This is a spot the difference picture. (hint :- look to the centre and left)

 After lunch we head off on the Lady Hunter Blair's Walk.
This takes us east along the Dalmellington road.

Those are a mighty pair of horns !

After a short road climb we enter Lambdoughty Glen.

The path's a little muddy in places but what a fabulous glen of tumbling waterfalls.

 and sculptures
Here's an article from the Daily Record back in June, 2008.

Specially made wooden sculptures of a fox, an otter, a heron and an owl.
The work of sculptor Alan Lees from Kirkmichael. 

The path now takes us down the other side of the burn.
Back on the Dalmellington Road towards Straiton we pass Largs farm, once the home of one Thomas McHaffie, a covenanter who was executed by dragoons in 1686.

It's a welcoming 'Ramblers Territory' sign back into the village.
It's been a grand walk despite the poor weather at the start. 
We'll just top that with scones and drinks at The Buck, the cafe in the village.

 Outside the coffee shop the information case is full of articles against a new proposed wind farm.
Inside the cafe a number of us sign the objection forms that are on offer.
I've mentioned before that I'm not anti windfarm, but it's absolutely pointless covering the whole of Scotland with them.
This newspaper article in the Telegraph explains why energy companies are being paid to turn them off.

The only people benefiting from the escalation of wind farms are landowners and the energy companies.
Here's an online form I don't mind promoting.
C'mon Alex, if you want alternative energy get pushing Hydro. It's less intrusive and much more cost effective. Rain is never far away in Scotland.

Rant over, have a nice day.

Here's our walk leader's draft report.
On Saturday February 15th Wigtownshire ramblers headed north to the south Ayrshire village of Straiton. On a wet windy cold day 10 members met at the car park to rendezvous with the walk leader who was going to take the group up their first challenge which was to climb the hill known locally as Monument Hill. After putting on their outdoor protective clothing the group made their way through the village admiring the swathes of snowdrops that flower at this time of year.Monument Hill is a short steep climb up to the summit to admire the structure that is clearly visible from the main road as you drive towards Glen Trool.The monument is to Lt. Col. James Hunter Blair who was killed at the battle of Inkerman in 1854. The weather showed signs of easing and it was not long before the rain stopped and the odd glimpse of sunshine shone through to dry the wet clothing off. Coming down the shoulder of the hill the leader warned of very slippy muddy conditions so great care would have to be taken to prevent any falls. Crossing over the waters of Girvan our next hill was Bennan Hill (283M) which involved a steep slippery climb to take us to the top with its fine views across to the coast and beyond which were now visible due to the improved weather  conditions. Once safely back at the village our lunch was taken at the car park before another short walk on the Lady Hunter Blair trail to a magnificent waterfall tucked away inside a forest which today was in full spate given the amount of rainfall this area has experienced recently. The final walk was a short road walk back to the start before adjourning for a well earned cuppa in the local tea room.
Next Saturday the walk is from Leswalt to Lochnaw a distance of 6 miles on fairly level tracks. Please meet at Riverside Newton Stewart at 9.00AM or Breastworks Stranraer for car sharing . The walk commences at 10.00AM for further details please contact the leader on 01776870441.


  1. Much of this walk reminded of pockets of Tasmania Jim, and I could almost smell the air as I scrolled through the images.
    And I was so terribly disappointed to hear Skye is still on the run.

  2. So many breathtaking views!!!

  3. Beautiful views from them there hills Jim, I have a photograph somewhere of my sister I sat on the monument eating birthday cake, we did a February birthday hike there a few years ago. Your beautiful photos make me want to be out walking, as always ;)

  4. Good photographs Jim. Although you are a hardy bunch you must be looking forward to spring and some dry days again.
    It's taken me a while to work it out but I believe large scale wind farm technology is a huge con whose sole purpose is to make investment folk and speculator's rich. "Going Green" is the modern equivalent of the shares issue and the privatisation of "unprofitable" UK companies during the 1980s. Who did that actually benefit as most of our now profitable assets are owned by European competitors who couldn't give a monkeys about Britain and just want to squeeze us like an orange. It's all the same old spin game. It should be hydro and nuclear energy but you don't get a licence to print money with them. Recession is a great time to be an investor if you have a pile of cash handy and a gullible population that thinks that's the best way forward. Bunch of ***********s
    Yours, Mr Grumpy. :o)

  5. stunning photography! i love those wood cravings--you always make me want to get outdoors :)

  6. Jim, congrats on the new camera! Looks chilly out there but still a beautiful & rugged country. Thanks for dropping in recently, appreciate it! :)

  7. I've just had a look - the Pentax WG10 is a funny looking thing but for these sort of days waterproof is a must - even that heron seems to think the field is as good as a river.

    Were the horse riders attending to the sheep (all seems very Australian) or just riding on by. I've seen people seeing to sheep on motorbikes before.

  8. Just lovely, again. Those horns are impressive.

    I agree with John ´two sticks´! Two or none.

  9. Thanks Rose, hopefully I'll be able to see beautiful Tasmania soon myself.

    Hi Linda, it is a lovely scenic area and the village is listed as a conservation area.

    A birthday outing, what a great idea.
    I must be due a visit down your way soon Ruthie, I know I'm backing up a walk in the festival around 'Coo Palace', I hope someone can save it from dereliction.

    Thanks Bob, love your sentiments too, rant away.

    Hi Lynn, one of your dishes would be nice after a walk like this.

    Hello Michael, I see you're still getting snow flurries in Calgary, swap you for some wind and rain if you want.

    Hi Sandy, no the riders were from a nearby riding school, it's quad bike country for sheep.

    Yes Maria, you are probably right. I generally only take one stick and often regret it.

    Thanks for all your comments folks, I don't always remember to reply, but I sure do appreciate them.

  10. "Coo Palace"! Now wouldn't that make an amazing place to stay. I used to live in a lovely house up on the hill behind there. Love it's quirkiness.

    1. I agree Ruthie, the rocky coastline just below is also a magical place.


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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