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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Ardwell Coast to Coast and Barbecue August 2014

Saturday August the 16th 2014.
The walk would take us from the east coast of the South Rhins to the west coast.
Over the years we've walked quite regularly in this area.
Here's one link that leads to other links of previous walks.

As usual, the report will follow the pictures
Leaving Chapel Rossan Bay and entering the Ardwell Estate

Killaser Burn

Killaser Beck

Watch the birdie !

To the woods

Exiting to Ardwell Church

It's a mighty fine piece of architecture

All twenty three of us get in the picture. Thanks John.

The stile that the minister Andrew Barr (back in the early nineteen hundreds) used to cross when coming from his manse at Aucleach to Ardwell Church.

Low Auchleach Dairy Farm


A barn and a bull

Luce Bay views

Glenhie Smithy

Invasive Balsam and road into Clachanmore

A fun frontage

Clachanmore School then and now.

The Stationmaster by his namesake sign.

Salt Pan Cottage

Black Cave

Will Purvis circus strong man and cave dweller.
(The picture on the right is courtesy of the Dumfries and Galloway publication, 'Through the Lens' 'Glimpses of old South Rhins')

I found this poem by Patrick Scott Hogg, Cumbernauld, Scotland, 1991 on the Poetry of Scotland website.

William Purvis: The Ardwell Caveman ©

'Twixt Portpatrick and Ardwell bay
In the south Rhins of Galloway
There is a cave, weel hid away
Upon a rocky shore.

Doon thru the hawthorn, gorse and whun
A weel trod path does wynd and run
It's there Will Purvis chose to shun
The world o' money lore.

His face was known in every town
As a travellin', smiling clown:
'Twas then he chose to settle down
In 1894.

His comfort was a seat and bed
To rest his aged limbs and head
And when the sun set glowing red
The stars he did explore.

What tranquil balm and peace of mind
Comes unto him who leaves behind
The paths of fame, yet riches find
'Mid Nature's simple store?

Here, gulls cry wild upon the breeze
Waves rise and gently fall with ease
And Time, it passes as you please
When Summer's come once more.

Here, one wicked wild west wintry gale
Waves crashed and roared in angry wail
Ae night nae demon would set sail
And, Will was seen no more...

When salt spray flies o'er the Pan bay
A white-bearded ghost, so they say
Walks to the sea at break of day
Upon that eerie shore.

A seabird chorus from afar
Sings the cliff-top rocky scaur
"The wind and sea know where you are."
Will Purvis is no more!

Sheep Hank and Partan Point

A variety of beach litter

A round cap on the shoreline

Ardwell Bay beach

Uphill from beach.

Botany cottage

West High Ardwell Farm

Dairy cows

The next group of pictures are of our annual barbecue and our rambling volunteers who catered brilliantly. 

The chefs

Here's chief barbecue organizer Miss Goodnight with the dessert.
A great finish to a lovely day.

Here's the report 
Wigtownshire Ramblers 16th of August - Ardwell Coast to Coast
Twenty three walkers gathered at Chapel Rossan Bay for the walk. A breezy cloudy day brought about a change to the planned walk which would now end at High Ardwell.
We began the walk by crossing the A716 and entered the Ardwell House and Gardens estate. Almost immediately we were on one of the estates woodland walks through mature and exotic trees. We followed Killaser Beck past a scenic falling water course. As the beck widened we watched ducks and a majestic swan gliding gracefully across the water.
A fine wooden bridge took us alongside the walled garden where we again accessed another woodland path to bring us to the north western corner of the estate.
We emerged from the woods by Ardwell church. Our leader who has had a long association with this church showed us around its exterior. Constructed of freestone it held its first service back in 1902. We had a group photo taken.
At this point we were joined by a local farmer who our leader had recruited to guide us over the fields of the next section to avoid a particularly tetchy dairy bull.
In Church wood we viewed a dried up pond that once worked a water wheel. We emerged onto an area of drumlins where we were afforded excellent views across Luce Bay to the Machars. Our temporary leader also showed us a stile in a drystone wall that the minister of the church had to cross on his long walk from the manse at Auchleach to the church. Having said goodbye to the farmer we next passed through Low Auchleach farm and continued west along a farm track.
A low wall in front of stacked timber proved to be an ideal stopping place for a tea/coffee break.
Well refreshed we continued on to reach Barnunan hill, one of the highest points of the walk. Here we had even better views of Luce Bay, Sandhead,  Clayshant Control Tower and the bombing targets towards Ringdoo Point.
After passing the modernized Glenhie Smithy, now a private residence, we reached the tarmac road to Clachanmore. Our leader who’d fetched along an illustrated booklet, 'Glimpses of old South Rhins', now talked of the interesting character that was Will Purves. Will was a former circus strong man and lived in a cave near Saltpan Bay for many years at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. He'd spend his evenings in the Smithy, entertaining the company by lifting the anvil from its stand and carrying it round the smithy. On one occasion he was annoyed by a remark. He left, took the anvil with him and left it a quarter mile away at the crossroads. The blacksmith required assistance to retrieve it!
At Clachanmore Crossroads we looked at the wonderful building that was once the schoolhouse. On reaching Low Ardwell we turned west to reach Kenmuir Farm. Our very own rambling namesake posed by the sign for a photograph.
Tarmac turned to track as we made our way onto the rocky shoreline at Saltpans Bay.
Around half the group took the fifty metre walk into the damp darkness of Black Cave, sadly we didn’t find any hidden treasure.
We continued walking carefully to reach Ardwell Bay and the beach. After a pleasant walk on the sand we turned back inland.
A steady climb took us past the Wee Ardwell Woodshop to reach High Ardwell and the walk finish.  Drivers were now ferried back to the walk start to collect their vehicles.
Meanwhile in the barn, our volunteers had been busy preparing and cooking the burgers, drumsticks, salad and side dishes in preparation for our annual barbecue.
We began to tuck in when the drivers returned. A second course of fruit, gateau and lashings of cream followed, an indulgent end to a lovely day.    
Next week’s walks will be a climb of Criffel overlooking the Nith estuary and a more gentle walk around New Abbey. The start times and meeting points are the same for both walks. Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 8.00 am, the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 8.30 am or the walk start at New Abbey Car Park (NX 964 663) at 10 am. For further details or if going direct to the walk start please phone the walk leader on 01776 840226. New members are always welcome.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this walk...the pond, the church, the animals, everything!

  2. Really enjoyable post Jim. I always find stories about old guys living in caves both inspiring yet also very poignant. Must have been really grim in the winter after days of rain and gales. Looks like a great BBQ.

    1. Cheers Bob, we've had a lot of cave dwellers over the years in Scotland haven't we.
      The BBQ was great.


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