Sunday, 4 November 2012

Wigtownshire ramblers. Beneraird to Smyrton Hills Glenapp. November 2012

At the remains of the plane crash.
One of the "Hut Circles"( see text)

Making our way in the mud!

Lunch on the hillside

She had a lot on her mind today.

Today's group

Leader has to make an appearance.
Yesterday Saturday November 3rd I was honoured to be the walk leader for Wigtownshire ramblers on an 8 mile circular route up the summits of Beneraird and Smyrton two of the highest hills in this part of south west Scotland.As leader it is also my duty to write an article for publication in the local press so I will use it as my text for this blog.As usual my learned colleague will be producing a more detailed blog accompanied by some fine photographs,this can be found on the link to the Newton Stewart Blogger.

Press Report.

On Saturday November 3rd Wigtownshire ramblers did an 8 mile circular route up Beneraird and Smyrton Hills which are just two of the many hills situated in the Glenapp area.20 walkers met at the crossroads just off the A77  where there is ample car parking for the cars that came from the South Rhinns and Newton Stewart. The leader welcomed and introduced three new members to the group and hoped they would enjoy today’s walk. Setting off on a clear sunny cold morning along an old farm road we pass the  electricity convertor station which takes the power to Northern Ireland. After all the recent heavy rain that has fallen  recently in this part of Scotland the going was very muddy  slowing our progress until we reached the path that takes you from Ballantrae to New Luce a distance of some 19 miles . As this was a road that once carried horse drawn traffic many years ago the ground was somewhat easier to walk on. Our first stop was at an area described on the map as hut circles where we learnt that these were small dwelling places with low earth sides  and a timber structure was erected above this . Today all that is left are several circles where the houses once stood.Making our way up to Beneraird we met the farmer on his quad bike taking  feed to the animals grazing on the hillside which was a relief to some of the group as the beasts turned their attention to the food and ignored us completely.Once on the summit  the leader pointed out several hills visible today mainly towards the Galloway ranges. Heading on the road towards Lagafater Lodge the leader took the group to the remains of a Liberator aircraft which crashed on the hillside in 1945 resulting in 17 deaths out of the twenty that were on board on that dreadful day. The plane was on it’s way from Northern England to Prestwick when in thick fog and perhaps the lack of reliable navigation aids the plane hit the hill. One of the survivors crawled to the lodge to raise the alarm and when the rescue services finally got to the site they discovered two of passengers were still alive made even more remarkable that two days had passed since the accident happened. A lunch stop was taken here beside the wreckage whilst we remembered all who had perished on that fateful journey. Next we crossed over a grouse moor to take us to Smyrton Hill with it’s panoramic views of the Clyde and Loch Ryan with  the ferries making their way to and from Ireland.From the summit it was a very steep descent down to Smyrton Bridge and the track back to the start . The group thanked the leader for an excellent walk in the autumn sunshine before retiring to Stranraer for coffee and scones in Stir It one of the many fine tearooms to be found in the town.

 Next Saturday November 10th the walk is a 8 mile circular route from Castramont to Loch Whinyon. Please meet for car sharing at Breastworks car park, Stranraer at 9.00AM and Riverside ,Newton Stewart at 9.30AM. If going to the start at Knocktinkle please contact the leader direct on 01776 840226.


  1. A well led walk Gordon, or should I say 'Gopher'. To other blog readers I'd like to explain that this is the new nickname for Gordon because if he's given a challenge or difficult task he'll 'Go For' it. Enjoyed the walk, and I'd never before been to the crash site.

    1. Virgin experiences at your age James must be quite unique.