Sunday, 7 October 2012

Wigtownshire ramblers. Newton Stewart/Minnigaff circular. October 2012

Girvan harbour. (Iwas waiting here for the bus)

Leader's briefing of the intended route.

Kirroughtree House hotel.

A doocot (see text)

Waiting on the golfers to finish the hole.

Still waiting!!

The old millhouse.

Ramblers making a wish in the pool below.

Minnigaff church.

Old ruined Minnigaff church

Sheltering from a brief passing shower.

Panoramic view of Newton Stewart.

Today's group on the River Cree suspension bridge.

Newton Stewart blogger was our leader.
Yesterday Saturday October 8th I travellled by bus to Newton Stewart to meet my mother group for a 7 mile circular walk around the outskirts of this beautiful town in the county of Dumfries and Galloway .Today's leader was my old friend "the Newton Stewart blogger" who will as usual provide all readers with a much more professional blog complete with some wonderful photos. Meeting at the car park in the town centre 18 ramblers set off in the glorious autumn sunshine to cross over the River Cree and take the road that took us to our first stop at the very posh Kirroughtree Country House Hotel where we were treated to a reading of a poem by Scotland's national bard Robert Burns  supposedly written on the steps of the hotel,recited by our leader.From here we followed a path to Newton Stewart Golf Club complete with it's doocot perched on a small hill,this is where the landed gentry kept their doves in days gone by and how today we finished up with the word "dookit" meaning a place mainly used in offices to leave messages and mail for colleagues.Lunch was taken on the banks of the Cree where the observant walkers spotted a salmon leaping out of the water presumably on its way up river to spawn. Passing an old mill we were shown a small pool where legend has it that if you drop a pebble down into a small rockpool your wish will come true.A lovely walk through some fields took the walkers to the summit of a small hill overlooking the town with a wonderful panoramic view of the Galloway Hills and the Cree estuary making it's way to the sea.Once back at the start most of the walkers went to a little cafe for coffee and scones to thank the leader for a most memorable walk in his own home territory.
Here is the walk leaders press report of yesterday.

Wigtownshire Ramblers Report for Saturday the 6th of October 2012.

On a bright morning with a decent weather forecast, eighteen ramblers met at the Riverside car park, Newton Stewart for the walk.

The walk began by crossing the Cree at Sparling Bridge, and following the river up to Creebridge. It's recorded that Robert the Bruce forded the Cree at this point in 1329 on a pilgrimage to St Ninians.

From here the route went through Minnigaff to Kirroughtree House. A short stop was taken for the walk leader to read out some of its history and association with Robert Burns and the Heron family.

The perimeter path of Newton Stewart Golf course led up to the tenth tee where Wild Wood was accessed. The walk continued along the sometime muddy track to Bower Wood and the Old Edinburgh Rd at Minnigaff.

The group now made their way to the Queen Mary Bridge, the site of the old Cumloden Woollen Mill. Now converted to upmarket flats, a millstone is still visible through one of the windows on the Penkiln side. On the bridge attempts were made to secure a wish by cleanly dropping pebbles into the wishing pot. A cheer would accompany a successful drop.

The next point of interest was Monnigaff Parish Church. The 900 year old Yew tree and the listed Heron memorial were among the many points of interest. Here the walk leader set the group the task of finding the headstone depicting an arrow piercing two ravens. This is related to the legend of the three brothers, McKie, Murdoch and McLurg trying to impress Robert the Bruce. One of the brothers shot two ravens with one arrow. The search was successful.

A lunch stop was taken on the banks of the Cree by the King George V and Queen Mary suspension bridge. A light shower saw a number of umbrellas produced.

After lunch the group made their way over the bridge and up to King Street. Here they learned that when the mills were in production, King Street and Arthur Street went by the names of Cotton Mill Row and the Gorbals.

A left turn at Duncree led to the old coach road which originally went from Old Hall Farm to House O' Hill. Here panoramic views of the Galloway hills were enjoyed.

The route now took a ninety degree turn south. Following drystone walls and crossing excellent stone stiles, fields of various sheep were crossed above Old Hall farm and Douglas Ewart High School to reach Corsbie road.

After entering Blairmount Park, an unexpected diversion took the group up to the trig point on Doon Hill. Very few people knew of the existence of a trig point in Newton Stewart. After encircling Blairmount Pond, the Barnkirk road and the A75 were carefully crossed.

Open fields were now crossed to begin the ascent to the mobile phone mast above Barrhill Wood.

Arriving at the mast a tea/coffee break was taken. The view of Newton Stewart from this point truly shows the town to be the Gateway to the Galloway Hills. The good weather allowed most of the hills of the Minnigaff range to be identified.

The descent eastwards afforded wonderful views of the Cree Valley. After crossing the embankment of the old railway line into Newton Stewart, an old metal gate was climbed and the riverside walking and cycle path accessed. From here a lovely riverside stroll brought the group back to the start point.

Tea, coffee, scones and other culinary delights at the Belted Galloway completed a very enjoyable day.

The next walk, on Saturday the 13th of November is a 10 mile section of the Mull of Galloway Trail. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart, 8.15am or at the old Stena Car Park at Port Rodie for the 8.55am bus to Sandhead (bring your bus pass if you have one). The walk starts at Sandhead (NX 097 498) at 9.30am.

If going straight to the start please phone walk leader 01776 700707. New members are always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Gordon.
    Enjoyed your input as always.
    Have a nice week.