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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Cairnharrow and Cambret Hills September 2014

Saturday the 20th of September
I took over as walk leader from Shorty for this walk as he and A'OK are away on holiday.
We recce'd the walk on Monday, and a few pictures from the recce will be included in the post.
We walked much of this route back in 2009.

The walk report will follow the images which include a fair selection from Scoop.
More pictures can be seen on the Ayrshire Blogger's page.
He, the Teacher, the Deerstalker, and four guest walkers swelled our number to a mighty thirty one, which for a hill walk was probably twice the number we'd normally expect.
Our guest walkers were two ladies from Port William and family members of one of our Portpatrick walkers. We'd love to welcome you back.

The walk start at Kirkdale Bridge.

Uphill road walk towards Barholm.

The road to Clauchreid with a background of Wigtown Bay.

Cairnharrow's lower slopes.

A very interesting flat topped stone close to a gate

It's a steady climb............

................with some sections steeper than others.

The sheep and quad bike tracks are much appreciated.

The high point of the day.

The weather outlook was for the odd shower, thankfully they never materialized 

A short coffee and sweetie break at the summit.

The descent begins.

It's a spongy slippery climb down so great care is taken.

Excellent seating for lunch (I hope the ancients enjoyed our company)

The light wasn't right to show the rings clearly except when the sun fell on the rock. The pictures above are those I took on the 2009 walk.

A search on Google Images for the Cambret Penny Stone finds a number of clearer pictures.

Here's a passage from The history of Galloway: from the earliest period to the present time ...
 By William Mackenzie (of Galloway.), Andrew Symson
I wonder whether any one has looked ?

A short distance from the Penny Stone a keen eyed 'Weaver' spotted that this rock had been split by drilling. An unfinished stone lintel perhaps.

The steep incline to Cambret Hill

The bridge over the Englishman's Burn has seen extensive repairs recently.

Top left = the central granite boulder of the Glenquicken Stone Circle (full zoom)
Top right = Knockeans wrought iron sign
Bottom left = Grass of Parnassus
Bottom right = Sweet Chestnut

Creebaby sculpted in 2011
( a clearer picture from Scoop later)

Fungi in Balloch Wood.
( I may do a separate blog post with all my fungi pictures)

A standing stone but not on the OS map. Approaching Creetown.

The Haiku Stone Circle also called Creehenge

Last leg of the nine and a quarter miles. Tea and scones await.

Here now is a selection of

Scoop's Pictures

We're on the way

The climbing starts here

We made it to the top

Take one of me please !

The blooming blinking bloggers

Watch out for potholes

Late for lunch again

Mishaps recorded for posterity

A leap of faith

Barbed wire crossing safely navigated

At the 'Penny Stone'

Portraits to order

A breather, then onwards and upwards


Haiku and home
A great set of pictures Scoop.

After ferrying drivers back to Kirkdale for their vehicles, most walkers were tempted by the tea, coffee and scones of the Prospector's Pantry Cafe at the Gem Rock Museum. 
A refreshing finish to a gratifying walk.
Here's the report.

Walk Report
Thirty one walkers  assembled at the Robert Adam designed 18th century bridge at Kirkdale for the walk.Unfortunately a short way into the walk, one of our seasoned members turned back when she realized that the viral infection she was carrying wouldn't get her over the hills.
The first section took us past the 18th century Kirkdale water driven sawmill, one of only a few left in Scotland. 
A steady incline on the tarmac road took us past the entrance gate to Barholm Castle, a onetime stronghold of the McCulloch Clan,and a hiding place of the reformist John Knox.
Just beyond Barholm we turned north. With Cairnholy Glen below us to the west we continued along the potholed road leading to Claughreid.
A holiday cottage belonging to the actor Martin Shaw was pointed out.
After road walking almost two kilometres we gained softer ground entering the lower slopes between Barholm Hill and Cairnharrow. Now the incline became steeper and we were soon gaining height.
Behind and below us Wigtown Bay and Fleet Bay would occasionally stand out in the patchy sunshine. 
A zig zag climb on sheep and quad bike tracks eventually got us to the 1500 ft summit of Cairnharrow. With low lying cloud over the Galloway hills views were in limited supply, but across Wigtown Bay landmarks in the Machars and the South Rhins could be identified.

We took a short sweetie break at the summit of Cairnharrow before making a careful descent to the col between Cairnharrow and Cambret.
During the descent we disturbed quite a number of black grouse. A full sized red deer was also spotted running away. Bright purple heather was in full bloom. 
At the remains of a stone circle and a large round Neolithic burial tomb cairn we stopped for lunch. The cairn made for great seating.
After lunch we crossed the Cauldside Burn, barely noticeable because of the lack of rain, a drystone dyke and a barbed wire fence.
On the lower slopes of Cambret Hill we viewed the cup and ring marks on a slab of rock. The markings were barely perceptible until a ray of sunshine highlighted the the rings.
A steep climb took us up to the masts and satellite dishes atop Cambret where we regrouped ready for a length of road-walking.
Now we descended to the Corse of Slakes road. Harebells and Grass of Parnassus were among the wild flowers spotted on the verges.
Now a fair distance of road walking took us across the Englishman's and Billy Diamond Bridges passing the extensive plantations of the Garrocher Christmas tree farm.
At Garrocher ponds we paused to look at the wooden roundhouse and the wire man, Creebaby. It was created in 2011 by sculptor Alex Rigg and originally had roses and clematis climbing the frame. It's bare now, but is still an impressive sculpture.
Our route now took us through Balloch Wood where various fungi grew in abundance.
We emerged from the woods at Creehenge, the stone circle featuring seven large illustrated blocks of granite. Here we took a moment to read some of the inscribed Haiku verses compiled by the pupils of Creetown Primary School under the guidance of the Galloway born poet Lucy Burnett. 
Now a short walk through Creetown brought us to the Gem Rock Museum and the walk finish.
After car drivers had been ferried back to collect their vehicles, we gathered in the Gem Rock cafe for after walk tea, coffee, scones and other delights. A fitting end to a cracking walk.

The next walk, on Saturday the 27th of September will be a 7 mile, C+ linear walk from Finnarts Bay to Cairnryan.
Meet at the Riverside car park Newton Stewart at 8.45 am, the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9.15 am for car sharing, or at Cairnryan for the bus (NX 060 697) at 9.45 am. Remember to bring your bus pass.
New members are always welcome, for more information or if going to the bus stop in Cairnryan, contact the walk leader on 01581 200256


  1. As always, beautiful! And how nice to see a cat, too! :)

  2. Thanks once again for a great day .31 ramblers out on the walk can only be attributed to the charisma of the leader ,well done Sir.

  3. A good turn out and an interesting looking walk.

  4. I think you all worked off the awaiting tea and scones.
    Fabulous images as always. Looks like everyone had loads of fun too!

  5. Thanks for your nice comments blogger friends, you are always appreciated.


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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