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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Auchencrosh Converter to Cairnryan March 2014

Saturday March the 8th 2014
It's a bit of a drizzly morning as four of us leave Newton Stewart for Cairnryan.
As we arrive in Cairnryan we see small groups of walkers walking back from the car park. They're heading to the bus stop which is a few hundred metres back from the car park.  We decide not to chance getting the the bus to stop at the car park, and get warmed up by walking back to the bus stop too.
So off we go in our carriage calling in at the Stena terminal en route.
It's adverse weather as we alight at Auchencrosh crossroads.
Our walk leader and deputy today are both from Cairnryan. Cairnryan has a long maritime history so maybe someone can come up with good noms de plume for this intrepid pair. ( I don't think Sailor and the Kelpie are fitting, but maybe Jack Tar and Bertha..........well maybe not !)

Anyway, the walk report will follow the pictures as usual.
Some of us found it pretty hard going in the wind, while the sylph like creatures in the group cut through it like a knife through butter.
So after a quick dash from the start here's our leader wondering where the rest of his flock are.
(That is a shepherd's crook isn't it)

Two of the Glenapp Estate bulls. I'm not a cattle man, but comparing them to internet images, is the one on the left a Beef Shorthorn while on the right is a Luing ?

The first look at the masses of frog spawn we came across today.

The rain stops, but we needs breaks from the wind.

We're on familiar territory on reaching the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
We walked the section from Ballantre to Glenapp in September 2011
Nearing the coast we get a misty view of Corsewall while I zoom as far as my camera will for this Stena Line ferry. The zoom belittles her size doesn't it !

Into the wind and along the tops.

View down to Finnarts Bay and the disused fish factory.

View across the A77 to the second half of our walk.

Now that Scoop is out of the wind and she's no longer in danger of being picked up and thrown out to sea, she feels confident enough to start taking pictures. I think she's caught my good side above. (The truth is this is my Dr Jekyll, you won't be seeing my Mr Hyde picture)

Oh well, if you insist !
Scoop thought you wouldn't want to see this.

The walk down to lunch by the Water of App.
After lunch we're onto the Glenapp to Cairnryan section of the Mull of Galloway Trail, last walked by us in June 2011  

Crossing the A77

Another from Scoop 

View back to Mark and Glenapp Church

The section of rhododendrons that once spelled out the name 'Elsie'

A group photo by Scoop

Crossing the March Burn.

Frog spawn. 

An obstacle collage - this is a Scoop scoop.

A study in dimensions, groups and angles.

There's been a tremendous amount of felling. 


Another set from Scoop

The light was quite un-photographic friendly, I've lightened all the above.

I do like the atmospheric way this one has turned out.

Up to Laight and the Taxing Stane

Scoop has her camera in full swing now.

The last downhill to Cairnryan.

Well !, we did it girls. let's go eat cake.

Wigtownshire Ramblers.
Saturday March the 8th 2014
Twenty walkers gathered at Cairnryan to take the bus to the walk start. It was a surprised bus driver who dished out tickets, mostly on bus passes.
Alighting at the Auchencross Interconnector crossroads waterproofs were soon donned, it was blawin' a wet hoolie.
After hearing an outline of the walk by the leader we set off south-westerly along the tarmac road passing Kilantringan Loch.
Though the rain would soon cease, the head wind would feature along most of our route.
At a Y junction we went left to cross the Ballochdowan Burn over Kilantringan Bridge. Continuing on we crossed the picturesque Blood Glen and Ballminnoch burns tumbling off Carlock Hill. A puddle with frog spawn was commented on. We were to see a profusion of frog spawn in puddles the whole length of the walk. Another wildlife feature of today’s walk was the variety of birds on the wing.
A pair of prize bulls at High Ballochdowan regarded our passing with a little curiosity as if to say “We need to be out here, what’s your reason ?”.
Continuing on, the tarmac turned to farmtrack as we traversed the lower slopes of Shallochwreck Hill. Reaching Craigans we now joined the Ayrshire Coastal Path. A refreshment stop on the bridge at Black Glen Burn saw a variety of sweeties distributed.
Now at Glendrisaig farm the track turned directly into the wind and uphill. Offers to tether our lightest walker to another were turned down as she struggled to keep her feet. At least the rain had now stopped.
The route now levelled along the western edges of Penderry and Sandloch Hills, but the wind still blew. Westerly views were limited to a hazy Corsewall Lighthouse while a ferry emerged from Loch Ryan.
Relief from the wind came as the track turned down and east on the lower slopes of Sandloch Hill. Finnarts Bay looked particularly attractive in the dim misty light.
After passing Craiganlea House, lunch was taken alongside the Water of App. As in many parts of Galloway due to disease, tree felling has been extensive here too.
After lunch the group now braved the traffic on the A77 for a hundred metres before turning into the track leading up towards Wee Leith Hill. This is the Glenapp to Stranraer section of the Mull of Galloway Trail.
Though the wind had eased slightly the zig zagging climb was tough. Gaining height we were soon able to look back down to Glenapp Church and the rhododendrons on the opposite hill. The rhododendrons once spelled out Elsie, and we were able to make out the odd letter.
Continuing upwards we reached the tumbling March Burn. Here our leader had decided that adverse conditions on the moors meant a series of detours.
We now continued via undulating forest and farm tracks to reach Laight. Negotiating fallen trees, muddy tracks and frog spawn galore kept us alert. Another sweetie distribution kept our sugar levels up.
 Soon the path took us above Old Park of the Gleick crossing the Galloway burn, where we looked down on the ferry terminals of Cairnryan.
A last uphill trek took us to the Taxing Stane and gun battery of Little Laight Hill. Our arrival prompted a field mouse to dash for cover. An information board informed us that this marked the burial-place of Alpin the King of Dalriada and father of Kenneth McAlpine, King of the Scots, killed in 741 in Glenapp.
Now we headed downhill passing the concrete bases of the many army billets that once stood over the village. We now descended the Bonny Braes back to Cairn Point, the cars, and the end of a challenging walk.
Brambles Tea Room in Stranraer proved popular for after walk refreshments.
The next walk on Saturday the 15th of March is a B++ eight mile ‘Three Hills Walk’ from Kirkdale to Skyreburn and Mossyard.
Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer 9.00am, the Riverside, Newton Stewart 9.30am or the walk start at Kirkdale Bridge (NX 517 531) at 10am. For further details or if going to the start please phone the walk leader on 01776 870231. New members are always welcome.


  1. A beautiful and fun tour. I even enjoyed the interior of the bus! We have stop buttons like that inside of the Montreal buses as well.

  2. I like the sound of the Auchencross Interconnector Crossroads. Sounds like a late 1970s soft rock band. I've noticed myself there are a lot of fallen trees down in the plantations this year due to the storms. That frog spawn is bad news as every spring I get several hundred tadpoles dumped into my pond by mothers that then hop away without a backward glance that I have to feed and look after. Also my sparrow nesting frame is up to 10 breeding pairs now. My garden is a wildlife orphanage but I'm fast running out of accommodation :o(
    On a positive note the jet stream seems to have shifted its position so sunny walks here we come.

  3. Thanks Linda, years ago when I was in the armed forces, I got my finger stuck in a bus bell button, nearly caused the driver to crash. The passengers were about to panic when I managed to extract it with just a small scratch. We all had a good laugh afterwards.

    Hi Bob, I think the Auchencross Interconnector Crossroads Festival sounds better, I'm off to see a farmer to get it started !!
    Hope your orphans are healthy.


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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