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Monday, 15 December 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Knockdolian December 2014

This leading image was taken on a recent recce to Curleywee by the 'Musician'.

 It shows the atmospheric phenomenon known as the Brocken Spectre

Saturday the 13th of December
There were many pictures taken on this walk up Knockdolian. I've tried to include a fair mixed selection. I'll also be including pictures from the recce we did on Thursday the 4th of December.
The walk leader was the 'Musician' and her report will follow my pictures. A selection of excellent photographs from my fellow snapper and rambler 'Scoop', will follow that.
This is one walk we do quite regularly and links to previous posts can be found here.
Knockdolian Walks
There's also another post on this walk at Gordon and Anne's Blog my blogging buddy from Ayr 

A cold but lovely sunrise at the Riverside car park, Newton Stewart

There are twenty three of us today

These two quadrupeds called Cassie and Ebony had a fabulous day on the Thursday recce.......

............and even met a few other canines along the way

The volcanic plug of Ailsa Craig was well photographed as usual.
Many other 'finds' were made on the beach.

Seagulls and Bennane Head

The breaking rollers were very watchable

Scoop chose this spot for a group photograph

Fishing boat remains

My learned friend the 'Boatman' has sent me the above two images and provided me with the following information. 
"Sailing Ship Richard a Danish 4 mast schooner wrecked October 1926. It was built in the USA and was returning to Denmark empty having dropped a cargo of timber in Newry, Northern Ireland. It was only 4 years old"

A last look at the waves before we head inland

The climb begins
(We have to climb a drystone dyke and barbed wire fence while all the time making sure of causing no damage to either the farm property or the person, Scoop likes to be on hand to record the crossings. Watch out for a collage in her batch of pictures)

I zoom in for my umpteenth fhotograph photograph of Ailsa Craig
(fhotograph looks a more attractive spelling I think)

Another zoom to where we left the beach

It was overcast on both the recce and the walk, but the camera kept working

Our illustrious recce group 
(there's a rare patch of sunlight behind)

More memorial plaques and a small solar light have been added since our last visit

Shorty and A'OK at the windy summit

Sallochan Farm, Knockdolian house, the Stinchar Valley and Bougang dam

Down to a sheltered spot for lunch. Evidence of wintry weather lay below rocky outcrops.
Playful ramblers made a snowball or two.

On the move after lunch we take a break at a rocky outcrop

Both the Teacher (and Ebony), Scoop and myself pose for pictures.
Bottom right is Duniewick Iron age fort 

A tricky slippery area is descended with care

Another obstacle safely surrmounted
Notice how diligently Scoops records the crossing

Knockdolian House
I had some false information where I was wrongly pronouncing Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington deceased. 
Earlier this year, a month before his 99th birthday, he attended the Order of the Garter investiture, 16 June 2014.

The old Knockdolian Castle, one time home of the McCubbin family

On recce day we were allowed a walk past the house.

As a one time employee of British Steel, I'm always looking for a makers mark on iron and steel.
Dorman Long, became Redpath Dorman and Long before becoming part of British Steel.

The river Stinchar flows through the Knockdolian estate

Capturing moving subjects

The riverside walk and a fisherman's hut.

An edgy riverside path leads to another minor obstacle

Spreading fungi and a strange submerged drum

A field crossing before a mischievous leader managed to fool a few walkers into thinking she'd lost her way

The back markers

A Picture for Rose
Whether a heathen a Christian or whatever religious beliefs one follows, the words are just beautiful.   Trees - Written by Joyce Kilmer 1886 - 1918
I THINK that I shall never see  
A poem lovely as a tree.  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest  
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;  
A tree that looks at God all day,         5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;  
A tree that may in summer wear  
A nest of robins in her hair;  
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;  
Who intimately lives with rain.  10
Poems are made by fools like me,  
But only God can make a tree.

A favourite group of mine was the Platters and their musical rendition of this can be found on
There's also a lovely version by

Beyond Balnowlart we took the riverside path back into Ballantrae and the cars.
We then made our way to the Kings Arms Hotel where we pushed tables together in one long row as the proprietor and staff brought out the scones, butter, jam, tea and coffee. It was like a mini banquet.
A fabulous end to a lovely walk.  

Here's the 'Musician's report followed by Scoop's pictures..

Ramblers report. December 13th 2014

After a rough week of windy weather the ramblers were pleasantly surprised to have a relatively calm day for their walk up  Knockdolian near Ballantrae. This hill is not a Munro,or a Corbett or a Graham but a very striking Marilyn being only 265 metres high rising abruptly out of surrounding flat landscape easily seen from the A77.
The 23 ramblers met at Ballantrae shore car park and started their 8.5 miles walk along the beach northwards.The tide was low so we had plenty of choice of pebbles, sand or Red sandstone rock in places to walk on. We passed an old shipwreck probably a fishing boat stranded on the beach and plenty of interesting pieces of driftwood ,an artists delight.  After about a mile we turned right and headed inland crossing the A77 onto the Colmonell road for a short stretch. At Corseclays Farm we took a right up a track and then left into fields to ascend Knockdolian. This was a gentle climb at an easy gradient going up the west side of this fell also known as the False Craig. You could imagine how it could be confused with Ailsa Craig by those at sea heading for the shore. The views on the way up were much admired especially by those catching their breath. The trig point at the top once reached gave us tremendous views in all directions,out to the coast,as well as up the Stinchar valley to snow covered mountains further East.
       As the wind was a westerly, we took shelter dropping down a little way down the East side and found a good picnic spot. After fuelling up we continued down a narrow grass path and passed east of the Fort and and headed towards the burn between Knockdolian castle and Bougang farm. After crossing the burn and a couple of fields we reached Knockdolian Estate. Here we could see the original castle and the mansion house that was built in1842. The estate has accommodation available as well as 3 miles of double bank fishing.Unfortunately we missed any salmon leaping,any dippers dipping and any kingfishers which had been seen on previous walks. A couple of buzzards circled overhead.
    We returned to Ballantrae mostly next to the river Stinchar. We passed a couple of fishermans huts which offer good shelter on a rainy day. The riverside walk varied considerably from a single path with tricky slippery areas to a track across flat fields and some parts on the road. Where a ford used to be is now a wide area of river looking like a weir and no evidence of stepping stones or possible vehicular access. Soon after the weir  the water of Tig enters the river Stinchar from the East.The ruins of Balnowlart were noticed and the 15th century Ardstinchar castle was eventually reached and we walked under the old bridge to Ballantrae. We had a leisurely and varied walk that all seemed to enjoy  and we were welcomed at the Kings Arms Hotel for very good refreshments.
Next Saturday’s walk will be a circular from Knockman Wood to Garlies Castle with mince pies and mulled wine to follow. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 am, the Breastworks car park, Stranraer at 09:00 am or the walk start at Knockman Wood car park (NX 409 674) at 10 am.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01671 402733 for full details.

Here are Scoops cracking pictures.
(I'm in a few too)

To the Glebe Blog readers and whether your country celebrates this time of year or not you are most.......... 
to my pages.


  1. Dear Jim, what a happy group of people and such lovely views, once again. I love the welcome sign at the end of this post. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, my friend. :)

    1. We were all quite silly during the walk Linda. They're quite a zany bunch of folk.

  2. There were so many wonderful images one doesn't absorb it all in one sitting. I'm curious what camera Scoop has (have I asked this before?) It amazes me how a similar subject can be captured so differently but just as effectively by each of you.
    I had to follow the link for the Brocken Spectre - what an amazing phenomenon.
    Wonderful to see dogs enjoying these rambles as well, and it's always pleasing to see that Scotland has a healthy share of Angus cattle (although where sheer cuteness comes into play, then Herefords are my personal favourites!)
    Kilmer's 'Trees' is simple but beautiful, and you well know I would have put Mario afore the Platters :) (instead of popular music of the times, the man should have been singing arias in the operatic world and little else) I digress, what a fabulous post, a great walk and superb images by you Mr DeanS, and Scoop.

    1. I think Scoop's camera is a Canon A-1 Rose. Agree'd the Brocken Spectre is quite amazing, I've come across a partially formed halo once before, but never the symmetrical finished article..
      Healthy cattle is a big part of the lifeblood of Scotland. I haven't been to a cattle sale in years, it's quite an experience.
      I knew Ms~from Oz that you'd plump for the Mario Lanza version.
      Thanks for your continued comments, they are appreciated.

  3. That looks a nice beach walk Jim. The last route in my Firth of Clyde book although I've only climbed it twice from the road as I,m not down there that often. Local knowledge goes a long way as I didn't know that way up existed and didn't want to encourage folk to walk over farmers fields at random without a path to follow. Good set of photos as usual. I expect nothing less :o) Have you ever been in Sawney Bean's Cave? One of the caves at Bennane Head is supposed to go back into the hillside a good distance but it's probably a caving job and tight passages. I was thinking of paying a visit to check it out.

    1. I discovered that way up a couple of years ago Bob. I called in on the folks at Corseclays Farm who had no problem with us walking up from his fields.
      However there is one farmer around Knockdolian who doesn't have much time for walkers.
      Aye, I've been down to Sawney Beans, but have never been as far back as it goes. I had no torch that day.

  4. another excellent walk.

    that leading photo is so interesting with that rainbow.

    that spreading fungi might be a slime mold, there are so many forms of them
    they use to be considered a fungi but no longer are. they are interesting to find.

    good holidays to you Jim.

    1. Hi Tammie, I came across this blog post last year and thought of you.
      The Brocken Spectre seems to be quite common in the rockies.
      So slime molds are no longer classed as fungi. I'll try to remember that.
      Happy holidays to you Tammie, enjoy your wilderness winter wonderland and keep posting those awesome images.

  5. Thanks for sharing another set of excellent shots. I can see a must go to spot, the fishing boat remains if the tide reaches that far, perfect for a long shutter speed shot. I could see the tramps cave in one shot so assume its between there and Ballantrae. :)

    1. Aye, Mook. It's probably around 500 metres south of the B734/A77 T junction. If you parked by Snib Scott's cave it's somewhere between half and three quarter mile south. I'm quite sure the tide gets to it since it's often got bit's of seaweed clinging to it. Hope you get a good one.


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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