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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Stranraer to Castle Kennedy April 2014

N.B. All my pictures today have been taken on my small cameras. Most were taken on my Fuji while a few were with my Pentax. I've discovered the photographic quality of the Pentax is far superior to the Fuji. It was more expensive as it's also waterproof. I will now have a redundant Fuji !
My pictures will be followed by a selection from Scoop's lens.

5th of April 2014
It's a drizzly morning as we meet up at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer.
The forecast though isn't a bad one.
Today's leader is the 'Weaver' and her report will follow.
The ''Weaver' also led this walk back in 2011.
Link to the 2011 Walk  
As we begin we see a military first aid landrover. The 'Joint Warrior' military exercise is taking place in the area.
Eighteen of us set off, but we pick up two more through the town.

A feature of the 1920's Friendship Garden.

We leave Stranraer via Ladies Walk and the Approach, it may be a dull day, but there's a lot of colour in the woods.

Our damp but happy group. 

Culhorn capers !

Lodge House, Old Military Road. A military helicopter flies over.

Derelict air raid shelter on the Southern Upland Way.

Crossing the A75 at Castle Kennedy.

Approaching White Loch.

A view of Lochinch Castle.

We just had a sweetie break.

Alongside White Loch.

The snowdrops have gone, but the bluebells are early. The daffodils and rhododendrons are in full bloom.

A strange gel on a branch. It was around 6 mm or quarter of an inch in old money.
An explanation or theory anyone ? A tree resin perhaps ?

Bridge over the Sheuchan Burn.

Lunchtime. Fallen trees provide perfect seating.

A passing border collie going at a fair pace.

Castle Kennedy's colourful and exotic estate grounds.

Rhododendrons of many colours.

Bridge over Black Loch.

A fisherman having no luck.

Finding the scenery irresistible, my fellow photographer lags behind.

Daffodils, gnarled trees, bent trunks and sprouting Gunnera.

Balker Bridge Lodge.


Farm track to High Balyett.

Lambing at High Balyett.

Oystercatchers and geese close to Loch Ryan.
That's the end of my photographs.
There now follows a selection of............

 Scoop's Snaps

Thanks Scoop, a great set of pictures.

Delicious after walk refreshments at the 'Stir It' cafe in Stranraer rounded off another great walk with the Wigtownshire Ramblers.

Here's the 'Weaver's' report.
Saturday 4th April 2014
Circular walk from Stranraer to Castle Kennedy and back.

A dismal, misty day still brought forth twenty stalwarts, on Saturday, for the Rambler’s weekly walk, an eight mile stroll around Stranraer and Castle Kennedy.

Parking at the Breastworks the group first negotiated the town streets, following the Coast Path, and on the way examining art work, depicting the closeness of the people of Stranraer with those across the North Channel. This is a triptych in the form of pages from a book, now looking quite dilapidated after spending over twenty years on the walls of North West Castle. Next to this is the town’s friendship garden, with a plaque telling of its history, and last renovated by the Beechgrove Gardens some years ago.

Soon the hard path changed to a softer surface when the ‘Approach’ was reached along Westwood Avenue, and a tree lined route was negotiated, a favourite of the town’s dog walkers. The way led past the remaining archway of Culhorn mansion, where the Earls of Stair lived for over a hundred years when the old castle at Castle Kennedy burnt down. Along here the Coast path was abandoned and the Southern Upland Way was followed to Castle Kennedy.

Part of this route is along the Old Military road which enables walkers to cross the railway line by Loch Magillie. The blackthorn in the hedges was well out, a wild cherry tree prettily decorated the path to Castle Kennedy, geese rested in the fields, the first of many seen in the day, and a fox ran across the road. The drizzle the walk had started with now dried up, and although paths remained muddy, and the mist remained ever present, it began to feel like spring, with birds accompanying the party with their mating songs.

Once in the grounds of Castle Kennedy gardens, the drive was lined with daffodils and rhododendrons were beginning to come out; splashes of colour enlivened the whole of the route from now on. Geese once more clanked their presence on the White Loch, and formed a spectacle for the walkers as they lunched by the side of the Black Loch.

The grounds were left after crossing the road to Balker, and the only hill of the day brought the company onto a minor road where remains of the Second World War still survive in a gun emplacement and Nissan Hut. From here the main A751 was crossed to gain a farm road through High Balyett and the ramblers were delighted to be shown a shed full of sheep and lambs, including triplet lambs just born; the lambing process was explained by a most welcoming shepherd.

Now it was only a short stroll to waiting cars which transferred most walkers back to the Breastworks, though some hardy souls opted to walk the distance. Refreshments were enjoyed at ‘Stir It’ in the town, a well-earned reward for a misty but most satisfying walk.

Next week’s walk, on Saturday 12th April is an 8mile C+ walk from Creetown to Newton Stewart, to celebrate the Forest Festival, with lunch/picnic at Kirroughtree. Meet at 8.45 am the Breastworks, Stranraer for car sharing, 9.30 am the Riverside, Newton Stewart, and Dashwood Square (NX412 653) for the 9.45 am bus to Creetown. Do remember bus passes. All are welcome but please phone the walk leader for up to date information, if coming straight to the start, or if a new walker. 01988 840268 


  1. The weather looks exactly as wet as Helsinki today! The baby lambs in last pics are nothing but cute.

    1. Hi Maria, we're promised drier weather later this week. I'll bet Helsinki in the rain could be quite a wonderful experience.

  2. How dreamy and magical! This is a walk that I would have thoroughly enjoyed, from the gorgeous views to the lambs, to the sweetie break! :)

  3. Castle Kennedy and its grounds look amazing Jim. I'll need to get down there myself sometime as I love large old estates like that. As for the clear resin, type in " The Jelly Mystery. Secret Scotland" into google. I've noticed stuff like that before but never up a tree only on the ground.- see what you think :o)

    1. Looked at that Secret Scotland page Bob, I've also seen that jelly on the ground, but this was different. Our resident forestry consultant thought it might have been a jelly enclosing an insect which is something that happens, but he couldn't make anything out in the gel. Still a mystery !

  4. as always lovely pics and scenery--i especially liked that friendship garden piece!

    1. Hi Lynn, I think it represents hands across the globe. A bit like our global community of bloggers I guess.

  5. Thanks Linda, the sweeties in question were mints today.

  6. Nothing quite like a walk in the rain (or drizzle) and what utterly stunning scenery and countryside Jim. Truly magnificent.

    1. Thanks Rose, it's a gorgeous walk. It always seems to be damp when we do it though. Next time sunshine..........


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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