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Monday, 8 December 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers Stranraer Castle Kennedy December 2014

7th December
It's a Sunday outing for us for a change.
Our walk leader is the 'Weaver' and her report will follow the pictures.
It's a walk we've done with variations previously.

The walk started at the car park on a windy Loch Ryan.

We disturbed a flock of Oystercatchers.

Road to High Balyett

Road to Garthleary

Leaving Garthleary

View north to the Fell of Craigcaffie

In the grounds of the Stair Estate through Kennel Bank Wood.

Lochinch Castle 

Crindil Bank Wood

Sheuchan Hill

Bamboo and a passing dog (with owner of course).


Heron Isle on Black Loch.

East Lodge and entrance gate.

More fungi and bamboo.

View across White Loch to Lochinch Castle.

I zoomed in....................

.........................and again.....................

......................and once more. 
(I listened to a programme about photographic drones today, talk about big brother watching you !)

Castle Kennedy road crossing.

I hope it doesn't spiral out of control !

Castle Kennedy Primary School mural.

Lunch in Long Planting (old military road)

Lit up tree at Limekiln Lodge. (the window rail matching the grid spacing is purely coincidental)

A muddy Southern Upland Way.

Power lines.  

Sweetie distribution at Guyon's Brae Wood.

All that remains of Culhorn House

Industrial Estate view from Witches Howe

Commerce Road crossing.

Even more fungi.

Westwood Avenue to Ladies Walk.

Loch Ryan.

Cairnryan Road.

Loch Ryan Swans.

A sandy walk back to the cars at the Balyett picnic site.
A lovely walk with only one little drizzle of a shower.

Here's the 'Weaver's' walk report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Castle Kennedy walk.

For a change the Ramblers met on Sunday for a 9 1/2 mile circular walk around Stranraer and Castle Kennedy, a walk of woods and water.

Seventeen members set off from the parking place on the cockle shore, along the edge of Loch Ryan with high tide water splashing ferociously in the bitingly cold wind. A lone goose sheltering in the undergrowth was sent flapping into the choppy sea as the unexpected invaders passed.

Once over the coast road, High Balyett farm road was followed, crossing the old railway line to Cairnryan, only shown now by one rail in the road and a depression across the adjacent field. The next road crossed was the A751 and another farm lane taken, leading after a short while to a grassy field with a good view down Loch Ryan, though the wind was so cold that very few people climbed the small hill to get the best view. The policies of Stair Estate were entered by a tree lined road alongside a small burn which, by a circuitous route, connected the Black Loch with Loch Ryan.

The shelter of the trees now meant that the biting wind ceased to chill the walkers and the milder climate here was shown by a pretty azalea bush covered in tiny mauve flowers. The Black Loch was spanned at a narrow point by a rustic wooden bridge and the north side of the loch was enjoyed with views over the water to the manicured lawns around the castle. In the 1730's these gardens were made by the second Earl of Stair. They are said to be inspired by the gardens at Versailles and the hard work of shifting soil, in order to build terraces, was done by the Royal Scots Greys and the Inniskilling Fusiliers.

The geese and ducks which usually frequent the loch were nowhere to be seen until the Southern Upland Way was joined at the end of the Black Loch. Now the geese were spotted far away near the castle, resting on the grassy banks. Coots and ducks swam out from the reeds at the side of the White Loch and a buzzard soared overhead mewing. Loch Inch Castle was picturesquely situated on the North bank of the White Loch, with the remains of the old church and graveyard on the West bank and the ruined Castle Kennedy, built in 1607 and burnt down in 1716, on the East bank. This driveway to the A75 is a glorious spot to traverse in all seasons.

The walkers soon passed through the village of Castle Kennedy and onto the wooded track which was once full of wartime buildings conveniently situated alongside the railway. Now there are only the foundations of huts and the odd shelter to be seen. Lunch amongst the trees brought a welcome rest for everyone.

The walk continued along the tree lined track until it reached a deviation of the old road caused by the building of the railway, which was crossed under a bridge near Loch Magillie and picked up again after a stretch of the Old Military Road, by a lodge and gate. A boggy piece of ground at Lime Kiln alongside the path had been transformed into a small loch and soon Culhorn Loch was also seen, making a total of six lochs passed today. The archway into Culhorn House is all that is left of the old Stair residence for about 150 years, after Castle Kennedy was burnt and before Lochinch Castle was built.

The last section of woodland was now walked, leaving the Southern Upland Way and heading through Big Plantation and Witches Howe, crossing the Industrial Estate road and following the Approach into town. Now that the trees were not so thick the biting wind reappeared with a spattering of rain which thankfully lasted no longer than a few seconds. The walkers were reunited with their cars along the A77, helped along by the wind behind them, some taking the easy path along the roadside and others venturing onto the cockle shore to crunch their way back.

Refreshments at Craignelder were a welcome end to the day’s walk with great service and comfortable surroundings, whilst a very black cloud built up over the loch. This was a well-timed finish for a fresh but enjoyable walk.

Next Saturday’s walk will be a circular from Ballantrae to the summit of Knockdolian returning along the river Stinchar. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 09:00 am, the Breastworks car park, Stranraer at 09:30 am or the walk start at Ballantrae Shore car park (NX 082 825) at 10 am.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01988 700553 for full details.


  1. Looks a nice place. First snow on the hills here along with that bitter wind. Hope you are all well wrapped up.

    1. I got a couple of pictures of a white topped Cairnsmore of Fleet Bob, but since then it's been shrouded in cloud and mist.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks LInda, I hope Montreal's a good place to be this festive season.

  3. wonderful post
    would love to take that walk
    would also like to go on the islands
    always enjoy seeing your fungi and wow bamboo, such an interesting plant
    thanks Jim

  4. Power lines and mud - great additions for a fabulous walk. With so many lovely images I thought I'd try and choose a favourite and with my love of buildings and architecture I thought I'd choose Lochinch Castle, but no, Heron Isle on Black Loch wins hands down and that's because the image contains so many colours and shapes and elements. It's really quite lovely and would look nice mounted on canvas, but then again so many of your images would and I'm completely unbiased, of course.


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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