Clicking a picture will bring up all the posts pictures in a slideshow. To view an individual picture in full screen, right click and select 'Open link in new tab'

Monday, 25 August 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers New Abbey August 2014

As usual, when I get the walk report, I'll publish it after the pictures. 

It was an early start for Saturday's away day trip to New Abbey.
Our dedicated walkers from the South Rhins had the furthest to travel, It was roughly a 180 mile round trip for them.
Twenty two of us met up by the Sweetheart Abbey car park.

It's a popular tourist trap. When we arrived back from our walks there were cars looking for parking places.

We started out along the A710 south east out of the village.............

....................before turning up the Lochhill road.

Straight ahead of us we could see Criffel.

A pond reflected overgrown vegetation around it. This is the New Abbey curling pond built 1877. With winters too warm it's doubtful if it sees any 'Bonspiels' these days.

To our right was the listed Waterloo Monument built in 1816. Our low level walkers would climb up to it. 

On reaching Loch Kindar we took a moment to look at the geese.

A zoom in identified them as Canada geese.

On reaching Ardwall, the group split with 9 walkers opting to follow the 'Weaver' on the low level walk.

The other 13 of us took to the lower slopes of Criffel.
Much of the forest has been felled since I last climbed the hill in 2002.

We soon began to get views over to Cumbria and the North Pennines.
While climbing, we also got views of the Lakeland Mountains, but I never managed to get any publishable pictures.

Once clear of the woods, the slopes were somewhat boggy.

The hill was busy. A girl and her dog passed us climbing, while more people were descending.

Criffel is very popular for it's views to the Lake district. It's also the handiest of any climbing hill for the town of Dumfries. I pointed out a few features I recognized, but Shorty's geography was better than mine and he identified the Lowther Hills and picked out the radar tracking station atop Lowther.  

Out in the Solway we could see Scotland's first commercial offshore windfarm at Robin Rigg.

Lunchtime on the summit of Criffel.

A native of Perthshire said hello then I bagged Flush Bracket S1557
(I don't know why I said bagged, because I'm not really collecting them. Some people do though.)

Meanwhile, over on the Cumbrian Coast.
Initially looking like a flying saucer.
The pictures in the above collage are one and the same.
My photo editing software is Picasa, Google's own free programme. 
One click on the 'I'm feeling lucky' button produced the lower picture.

After lunch we began  our descent to Knockendoch
Waterproofs were donned , but it seems we got less rain than the low level walkers.

The sun might have been shining over on the coast of Cumbria but our lovely ladies brightened up the slopes of Criffel.

The descent to Knockendoch was quite challenging with some deep boggy holes and sharp drops.

We'd been watching the showers below that the low level walkers must have been experiencing when this rainbow appeared.

It's not often that you look down on rainbows.

We took a breather on Knockendoch.

I sat on the cairn to take this picture................

..................then Taxi Driver took this one of me.
(Taxi Driver is retired now, but I think we'll stick with the nickname)

Looking down on the showers over Glen Craig and the Waterloo Monument.

On reaching the forest, the path followed a firebreak down.
It's was still quite hazardous. My feet went from under me. Luckily it was like enjoying a fairground ride as it felt like I was being scooped by an ice cream ladle. 

Dumfries is just about in view to the left here.

We emerged at Mid Glen where we saw some Jacobs sheep.

A tarmac road brought us back into the village via the Mill Pond.
This feeds the New Abbey Corn Mill which is still in full working order apparently.

A short walk through the historic village got us back to the car park..........

.................where we again met up with the Waterloo Monument walkers.
My lift had already partaken of tea and scones so I decided I wasn't really bothered. We made our way back to Newton Stewart via the scenic route of Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas.
I noticed quite a few changes in the twelve year gap since my last climb, but It's still quite a magical hill.

Now here's a few pictures of the low level walk. The first few by Miss Goodnight and the rest by Scoop.

Miss Goodnight's Pictures

The mushrooms above bottom right replace a bent over rambler.

The group shelter from a shower.

Scoop and and adder

A'OK and Miss Goodnight.

Scoops Pictures

 The walk out to Loch Kindar.

 The group before splitting up.

Here's the rest of Scoop's pictures.
A slippery slope.

Chanterelle mushrooms.

Towards Waterloo and the Glen Burn.

Waterloo Monument

View from the top.

Eight ninths of the group.

Return trip and sheltering from the showers.

The Abbey

After tea and scones at the award winning Abbey Cottage Tearoom the low level walkers explored the abbey ruins.

Here are the walk reports.
Criffel Report
On Saturday 23rd of August, we ventured further afield than usual and met up at Sweetheart Abbey in the village of New Abbey.  23 of us initially set off along the A710 heading out of the village towards Dalbeattie turning right at Lochhill Farm.  Just through the steading we glimpsed a man-made curling pond which has been well maintained and also boasts a shed for the curling stones. Heading onwards we remained on the core path which took us past Kindar Loch with its Crannog, as we passed we put up a flight of disgruntled geese.  At the end of the loch we carried on up to the forest road on a recently strimmed path – our thanks to those who maintain these paths as it would have been a more arduous route. Once we arrived at the forest road we divided into two groups – those who wanted to tackle Criffel (570m) and those who a less demanding walk.  Consequently 13 members set off towards Criffel having been well briefed by the walk leader that it is a deceptive hill.
As promised the initial path up is a good, clean path alongside Craigrockall burn.  However, this lulls one into a false sense of security as the path abruptly stops at a gate and one has to tackle the slithery, slimy, heathery gradient in order to reach the summit.  The hill is taxing because of the combination of the gradient and the mire underfoot.  We picked our way up slowly and carefully taking plenty of ‘view stops’ to look back over the Solway Firth.  Our tenacity was well-rewarded and we had spectacular panoramic views once we got to the trig point.  Visibility was near perfect and we had uninterrupted views of the Nith Estuary and across the water to Blencathra and Skiddaw in the Lakes as well as the Lowther Hills and the Isle of Man. This was to be our picnic spot although when the midges joined us we decided to move on. 

Leaving Criffel we headed down along the ridge to Knockendoch which was a comparatively easy walk affording a different vista of the Solway as the tide was on the turn.  As we headed down the weather changed, becoming much colder and we could see rain clouds all around which fortunately avoided us. Magically we saw below us an intensely coloured rainbow which arced just below the Waterloo Monument and lingered long enough for the photographers in the group to capture the phenomenon.   The group found their way down through the woods and then headed back into the village along a minor road which brought us back alongside the village mill pond, the corn mill and back to the Abbey.  We had been blessed with good weather and some wonderful vistas and felt that it had been a worthwhile effort to go to pastures new.

Waterloo Tower report.
Nine low level walkers detached themselves from the main group and set off along the well-made, recently upgraded forest road. This soon deteriorated into a green track and then further deteriorated into an overgrown tangle which had to be fought all the way to a gate, giving access to an old quarry road. The remains of old quarry buildings provided some interest and amongst the bracken and brambles could be seen great granite slabs, left at the quarry face when it was abandoned.
A raised causeway took the walkers to what was obviously a favourite basking place for adders and they were lucky to catch sight of a sluggish snake laid out on a warm stone.
Forest paths and roads were now followed to a secluded residential area, with the track running alongside the pleasantly bubbling Glen Burn, to a bridge and fingerpost marking the way to the only climb of the day for this set of walkers.
And what a climb it was! A series of seemingly never ending uneven steps leading ever upwards, past what could have been a civil defence underground shelter, to the Waterloo monument. This is one of many built to celebrate the victorious battle which at last defeated Napoleon in 1815. At 184 metres the tower itself had a 360degrees vista, covering the woodland to the west and north, the estuary of the Nith and the Lake District hills to the south, and directly below New Abbey itself, with the ruined red sandstone abbey standing proudly above the pretty little village.
After a lunch stop, with the opportunity to climb the narrow steps to the top of the tower, the descent was made to the north, through blooming ling and bell heather which filled the air with their delicious perfume. One walker arrived at the bottom with a lunch box full of chanterelle mushrooms. The threatening black clouds at last broke, and in a heavy shower of rain Carsegowan farm road took the ramblers back to the village, past the enormous wood yard of Townhead Saw Mills, and further on, by the beautifully kept water mill and mill pond of the village.

Whilst awaiting the return of the hill walkers there was time for a leisurely exploration of the village and welcome refreshments at the Abbey Tearoom.

The next walk, on Saturday 30th August will be a level C 8 mile Glenwhan circular. Meet at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9.15 or Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.30 for car sharing. The walk starts at Glenwhan Gardens NX 152 585 at 10am. New members are always welcome but must contact the walk leader on 01776 700 707


  1. Great selection of photos Jim. I've never been above a rainbow like that. Very unusual. Nice purple heather and adder shots. Sweetheart is the one with the gushing tribute on a gravestone from a wife to a dead husband if I remember along the lines of
    "Perfect father, superb and loving husband, great in bed, master of weapons, expert horseman, excellent commander of armies and all round good guy, etc. etc....

  2. Lucky you-even a tea room love them- your great picture if the rainbow looking down on it made me think what a cool title for a book :)


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Morning deer

Morning deer
is someone watching me