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Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Wigtownshire Ramblers Leswalt to Larbrax January 2015

Saturday the 24th of January 2015

This walk is one that's been quite popular in the past.
Here's a couple of links.
Though not the same walk, this 2009 also covers much of this ground.
Today's leader is Miss Goodnight, with the Curler as back up.
As always on Rambler's walks there will be a selection of photographs by Scoop.
The report this week will be written by A'OK and will follow the pictures.
Walk leader's briefing

The damp streets of Leswalt
(We got lucky with only the odd spot of light rain)

There's more walkways since our last visit

Entrance to the bird hide

The bird hide

Snow drops opening

Wild garlic pushing through 

 Pausing for  a moment

An undulating path before the uphill climb of Aldouran Glen

Moss, waterfalls and the only Woodland Trust sponsored post in Scotland belonging to

A happy smiling group of like minded people

Entering the Lochnaw Estate

A long zoom in shows the open topped jeep is just a log

Walk the walk and talk the talk

There's a twist in the tail (tail or tale?) of this tree

Approaching Lochnaw Castle

The Kinsale Hounds

The Kinsale Tower

The castle
Anyone interested in the Agnew history can read a free online book entitled the

Our group admiring the castle.

One of a pair of rooftop Griffons

The present castle owners are certainly making their grounds a great place to visit.
There's a lot of work gone on since we last visited

Carpeted snowdrops

The Steading, Home Farm, riding school

You can own one of these for around £6000/8000

Approaching the Graham Plantation

These sheep were anything but shy

The Larbrax road

A humorous sign

Steers or Heifers?

Approaching Larbrax

Lunchtime beckons

White horses abound

Hungry hoofers.......

..........a birds eye view

A nearby cave

Ferry heading for Cairnryan

Start of the return leg

Atop the promontory fort

Ramparts are clearly visible atop Kemp's Walk
We disturbed a couple of hares

One of today's walkers, the 'Captain' was raised on this farm

A few of the quadrupeds we encountered on the walk

Approaching Home Farm

Future equestrian champions training

South end of Lochnaw Castle with Mr Smiley and Mr Grumpy

Overlooking Lochnaw Loch

A pleasant sounding outflow

The castle from across the loch

A trunk, a 'gander' and some geese

A strange find in the woods

Through the gate

Belted Galloways and foxes at Glenhead

North Aldouran

Back into Leswalt with a view of Loch Ryan and also the Agnew Monument at 'The Tor of Craigoch'

Here's a selection of pictures from 


A fine walk with a great get together at Soleburn Garden Centre cafe for refreshments and an afterwalk chinwag

Here's A'OK's report.

Wigtownshire Ramblers Saturday 24th January 2015
Aldouran Glen and Larbrax

It was the turn of Leswalt to receive an invasion of twenty six Ramblers on a morning which threatened sunshine and showers. No-one was taking any chances and waterproofs, boots and gaiters were donned as our walk leader outlined the route to us. We set off in a westerly direction out of the village and Aldouran Wetland Garden was our first point of interest. The garden consists of a series of raised beds linked by all ability paths with an exit into one of only a handful of ancient semi natural woods left on the Rhins peninsula. The narrow beaten earth path winds its way up through the wood in parallel with the burn. As we walked up the glen the first green leaves of wild garlic were emerging beside the path, soon followed by the occasional clumps of snowdrops not yet quite fully open but heartening signs of early Spring. At the top of the glen a break was taken to catch our breath and sample the selection of sweets on offer.
After walking along a farm track the ramblers entered the grounds of Lochnaw estate and followed the edge of the loch until the castle came into view. Two imposing statues of hounds gazed disdainfully at the group as it was observed that much work has been done to improve the building and the grounds since we first walked here in 2009. This castle was built in the 15th century by the Agnew family. The original four storey tower house was extended three times over the following centuries but these have all since been demolished, the last one coming down in 1950 and a rose garden planted in its place. Our walk leader had obtained some interesting information from the son of the man who had been Head Gardener on the estate before the Second World War. Evidently the tower to be seen at the top of the hill overlooking the castle is named the Kinsale Tower and was built for Martha De Courcy who eloped with Andrew Agnew. From its top it was possible for her to look towards her homeland of Kinsale in Ireland. The Lady Louise Agnew had created an Italian garden beyond the castle which is now overgrown but contains a memorial to her. Perhaps the new owners will eventually get around to restoring this area as well as the beautiful formal gardens they have already laid out beside the castle.
Further on the walkers’ attention was drawn to the various ruins of buildings which had been erected during the war when the estate was used to station airmen and women who were based at the castle. The remains of a pumping station used to supply water were observed and the concrete flooring of a hospital which was designated for officers only was visible underfoot. Passing a steading the walkers received a stern warning from the guard dogs that let us know by their combined barking that we would be wise not to linger. So we crossed the B738 and took the farm track down to the shore of Larbrax Bay where the waves were dashing tumultuously on the shore. Seeing a ferry boat in the distance all agreed that we were glad to have both feet on the ground and not be sailing that day. A bracing lunch break was taken overlooking the sea with the sound of the breakers crashing all around, but the sun was shining and spirits were high.
After lunch a choice of routes was available, over the top, which was a bit muddy, or back the way we had come. The group was fairly evenly split – those taking the high road climbed up to the Sea Kings Camp fort and benefitted from wonderful views out to sea before re-joining the rest at Meikle Larbrax. We now retraced our steps to Home Farm where young riders were being put through their paces at the riding school. After a short road walk Lochnaw estate was re-entered and a path around the west side of the Loch was followed. Mr Smiley and Mr Grumpy, carved faces on nearby trees, were spotted and caused much laughter. A large deer darted away at the sound and a short detour took us to the walled garden which had received a lot of care and attention since our last visit. The path around the loch had been cleared of undergrowth and this made walking much easier. Lines of flags segregated sections of the shore and it was speculated that this might be to mark out fishing areas. As we passed, some startled geese took off with much flapping and honking.
Leaving the estate grounds we took to the road then on to Glenhead of Aldouran, where, with views over Loch Ryan we made our way back to the picturesque village of Leswalt.
The Ramblers thanked the leader for a very interesting walk and then visited Soleburn Garden Centre for welcome refreshments before heading for home.
Next Saturday will be a short but strenuous walk up Curleywee and White Hill. Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 8.30am or the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9am for a 10am start at Craigencallie NX 504 781. New walkers are welcome but please contact the walk leader first on 01776 700926.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Looks very green and tropical down there. I,m in the wrong place. Didn't expect to see snowdrops flowering so soon as mine are barely sticking above the soil here. Nice photos.


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