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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Dunskey Circular May 2014

Saturday the 31st of May
Today's walk is in familiar territory. We walked the coastal section back in March.
 The closest walk resembling today's was back in September 2010.
 Twenty of us meet up at Dunskey Gardens for the walk start.
Shorty is today's report author and following the normal practice of this blog, his report will appear after the pictures.
An excellent selection of images from Scoop will appear after mine.
A shunt of vehicles meant that most of us started the walk at Dunskey Home Farm. We were soon on the move through the top end of Portpatrick.

After passing the Portpatrick Hotel we were on the S.U.W

Solar haze prevented us from seeing the Irish coast, but closer views were perfect.

At long last I got a decent picture of a wild orchid. Maybe there'd be more today!

A regroup above Port Mora........

................then the descent.......

................and round to Port Kale.

Chain assistance is required .

First look at Killantringan Lighthouse.

The descent to the March Howe gate.

I seem to have waited for ever this year for wild orchids. No problem on this walk.

There seems to be semaphore signals from the hill above. Too late !, the Craigantlet ran aground on 26 February 1982.

Time for a breather at Portamaggie.

There's an abundance of wild flowers this year.  These wild orchids are flourishing beautifully.

I got down on my knees for a macro shot.

The House of Knock sits above Killantringan Bay. We turned inland.

An uphill road-walk to the farm.................

..............then a climb up to Killantringan Fell where we have lunch.

A little photographic enhancement to highlight Flush Bracket S8086

On a gorgeous day like this lunch was taken at a leisurely pace.

Anyone interested there are shares available, and current flying rates are £99 per hour.
I wonder if I'm too old to apply for my pilot's licence !

View from the Fell.

After we descended, a stretch of road-walking brought us to Auchenree.

We turned towards Craigenlee Windfarm.
In the top picture above there seemed to be much bleating. I'm led to believe this is 'Weaning' the lambs of their mothers milk. There is a trough in the field that looks to have feed in it.

A hare takes little notice of us.

Approaching the turbines.

A rest while the farmer who's land some of the turbines are on tells us of the development of the windfarm.
We're than shown the remnants of a small 19th century settlement. As Shorty's report states, it must have been tough up here in the 1840's.

Leaving the windfarm.................. reach Upper Dinvin.
That's an interesting piece of scrapped agricultural machinery ! Any ideas folks ?

Molecatching is still an occupation in this part of Galloway.

Back to Dunskey tearooms for refreshments.
It's been a grand walk.

Here's a selection of 

Scoops Pictures 

My favourite.

Thanks Scoop, here's Shorty's report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday 31 May 2014 – Dunskey Circular

Twenty Ramblers assembled at the Glen Walks car park at Dunskey Estate on a beautiful sunny morning. The skies were an almost unbroken blue though a haze over the sea prevented more distant views.  We set off down the estate track to the main road and then followed the Heugh Road past the busy golf club to join the Southern Upland Way (SUW).  With the brilliantly blue sea on our left and the colourful golfers on our right we followed the cliffs past the mournful abandoned radio stations towards Port Mora.

As we descended to the beach we were enchanted by the antics of an oyster catcher who was enjoying a bath in the wavelets of the incoming tide.  As each wavelet approached it splashed energetically in the water and then stood and waited as it retreated.  This continued for several minutes as we climbed down the cliffs.

We crossed the beach and then took the narrow path round the point to Port Kale where one of our members regaled us with memories of working in the cable station as the undersea telephone cables were repaired.  Apparently this was a regular occurrence.

Some effort had been made to collect the mountains of rubbish which had been scattered over the beach during the winter storms and a large pile was awaiting removal.  It is a shame that so much of this coast is despoiled by the carelessness of others.

We continued along the SUW and climbed up the chains to regain the cliff top on the northern side of the bay.  The path followed the coast northwards towards Killantringan.  There were a few seabirds nesting along the cliffs but less than might have been expected.  Along the way we were delighted to see large swathes of pale purple orchids growing in the turf beside the path.

On reaching the lighthouse at Killantringan we turned inland and followed the road towards the farm with its attractive Simmental calves who regarded us solemnly as we passed.  Once past the farm we turned off the road and climbed towards the trig point on Killantringan Fell where we paused for lunch.  The hill afforded a wonderful view in all directions over the surrounding countryside with the contrast of the spring-green woods around Dunskey House and the paler fields to the south the harsher moors to the east and the blue seas to the west.

After lunch we returned to the SUW and followed the road to its junction with the main road. We then turned south and soon reached the road to Low Auchenree which we followed to the wind farm on the hills to the east.  Along the road we passed a brown hare which, unusually, did not sprint off into the distance but continued to hop around quietly grazing on the lush grass.  There was some speculation that she may have had young hidden nearby which made her reluctant to leave the area.

We soon reached the wind farm. The turbine towers were much more impressive with a close view and the noise confined to a quiet swish as the blades passed by.  Earlier there had been very little breeze and most of the turbines were stationary or turning very slowly.  Now a gentle wind had risen and one by one the turbines reached operating speed.

At the top of the hill we were met by the farmer who explained the extended process needed to develop the windfarm and the work required to satisfy the various conservation and planning bodies.  He said that the windfarm had proved to be an excellent site and that the turbines had exceeded expectations.  More than £5 million worth of electricity were generated each year from the turbines which provided a good return to the venture capitalists who financed the scheme and a useful income to the five local farmers involved.

He then led us to the top of the hill to the site of an old High Auchenree farmstead which seems to have been abandoned in about 1840.  On such a bright sunny day the site was idyllic but little imagination was required to see that this would have been a hard place to scratch a living from the rocky soil.  The “new” High Auchenree was out of sight sheltered in the valley below.  He explained that the site was probably occupied by cotters who would crop the small fields around the house and keep a few cows and sheep but would be required to supply labour to the tenant farmer in the main farm below who in turn would supply labour to the main estate farm when required.  It was interesting to see how these two aspects of land use had developed over the years.

On leaving the farmstead we walked down to the windfarm road and then crossed the moor to Upper Dinvin farm where the farmer had kindly left the gate unlocked.  After locking the gate behind us, we crossed the farm and returned to the Dunskey Estate where the tearoom provided excellent tea and cakes which we enjoyed on the sunny terrace.

Next week’s event will be a strenuous walk along the hills on the north side of Glen App.  Meet at the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart at 09:00 or the Breastworks Car Park in Stranraer at 09:30 to share transport.  The walk will start from the Auchencrosh cross roads on the A77 (NX 095 790) at 10:00.  New members are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01292 441268 for full details.


  1. I would so much enjoy these walks! The hare, the rest of the animals, and your macros are fantastic!

    1. Thanks Linda, I was so chuffed when I saw all the wild orchids.

  2. I nearly bought a lighthouse canvas the other week Jim, but it just wasn't right. I've been searching for the right lighthouse and colours for over a year now!
    In your fav they look like Van Rooys in the foreground. They are big beefy, flighty things in my experience but produce fabulous lambs!
    The wild orchids are really something, do they have a perfume to match?
    A terrific walk in fabulous country -sigh- I can dream!
    Have a great week JIm.

    1. Good luck in your lighthouse search Rose. I think the newly sheared sheep were either Lleyn or Border Leicester. I'm only saying that because the last time I was down that way a shepherd told me that was what they specialized in.
      Our wild orchids have a sweet smell of coconut or/and vanilla. There are a few that stink to the high heavens. Hope your week is going well too.

  3. Good photos Jim. I find getting back up after a kneeling marcro shot the hardest part these days. Getting hit with a van at 30mph doesn't help the knee joints much.
    That's enough moles for a pair of trousers and a moleskin waistcoat. Poor wee buggers. I'm surprised Solar Haze hasn't been snapped up as a celebrity infant name yet. It would suit a wee girl methinks.

  4. I'm the same with the knees Bob. My right hip doesn't like it too much either. The moles may well be heading to the Galloway Fleece Company, but I'm not sure if they still use the real thing ?
    Solar Haze with siblings Jet Stream and Zonal Flow must be alive and well somewhere in the world.


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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