Sunday, 30 March 2014

Wigtown ramblers. Lost villages of Ayrshire,Dunaskin. March 2014

The Dunaskin chimneys.

Climbing up the "brae"

Open cast mining has left this mess.

leader at Lethamhill store.

Houses are now just ruins.

perhaps this was the Main Street

now we are out on open moorland

keeping an eye on us!!

Steep climb to the war memorial

Reading the inscriptions

"Corbie Crags" remains

We see you!!

the bridge has seen better days

this was the alternative

For those that don't know her this is "SCOOP"

some of the gates have been padlocked

Could the owners not have found somewhere a bit more eco friendly for their vehicles.

Todays group

Our leader was the Newton Stewart Blogger.
Yesterday Saturday March 29th I joined my mother group at Dunaskin Mine works just outside Patna in South Ayrshire for a 7 mile walk to  what has become known as the lost villages. I am going to cheat a little bit as later today our leader and my good friend the infamous Newton Stewart Blogger will publish a full and extremely informative blog complete with press report which I will add to this post when available. Some of yesterdays photos were courtesy of Scoop so many thanks  for her contribution also to the leader who was armed with many stories   of the lost villages of Ayrshire.

Here's the report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers 29th March 2014  

Twenty one walkers gathered at the entrance to Dunaskin Ironworks for the walk. The weather forecast was for a good day.
Starting out in a north westerly direction, our first point of interest was the grade two listed building that is the Waterside Institute. Here we saw the first of three war memorial that we’d encounter today.
Now we climbed a few steps up to the disused rail line leading to open countryside. Here the open fields were dotted with odd brick buildings once associated with the mines and ironworks. At the Drumgrange burn a line branched uphill. This was the track of an incline drum and steel rope haulage system for raising and lowering rail bogies. A steady climb led us to the ruins of the drum housing. Open cast coal quarries lay abandoned to the west.
Here we saw and heard the first of the many skylarks that nest on these moors.
Now a level track took us past the second war memorial where those remembered were mostly conscripts of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. It was hard to believe that this was once a busy street separating the villages of Burnfoothill and Lethanhill. Further on, a large white painted stone declared 'Long Live the Hill'.
At the ruins of what was once the village store we entered the wood that encompasses the former village of Lethanhill. Here, thanks to an old map we walked along Whaup Row, White Brick Row and Briggate. The terraced houses now mostly reduced to rubble gave a fascinating insight to an age gone by.
Leaving Lethanhill we now headed east along a track. Only used by shepherds, walkers and wild animals these days, this track once carried bogies filled with coal and iron ore.
The track now took us to the edge of the former hill village of Benquhat.
From here we walked across a somewhat swampy moor to climb to our third war memorial, this one also remembered conscripts of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Wreath laying ceremonies still take place annually. A short break was taken to enjoy the somewhat misty views.
We now retraced our steps to Benquhat where we walked among the ruins of the school. Broken porcelain identified the toilet block.
Slag heaps and ironwork mounds are scattered across this area and it was between these we found a sheltered spot for lunch.
After lunch we made our way across more moor and old workings to the head of Corbie Craigs. With the sun now breaking through misty skies, we took our time to view the tumbling waterfalls in the deep gorge below.
A little lower down we came to Corbie Craigs Village. This was a single row of terraced houses built by the Dalmellington Iron Company in the 1850's. The village was abandoned in the 1950's and left to ruin.  A local man we encountered remembered visiting his grandfather here back in the nineteen forties.
Now we followed the Rough burn uphill to cross an old bridge where several initials were carved into the stonework. Once on the opposite bank, we followed the burn to where it converges with the Burnhead Burn to become the Dunaskin. Here we followed the undulating track overlooking the beautiful Dunaskin Glen. A disused rail track ran alongside.
At a high point where the burn turns sharply south we came to the site of Laight Castle, belonging to Alpin, King of the Scots. He was defeated and killed in battle in the 9th century; there are conflicting reports of where and when he died. He is our present queen's 34th Great Grandfather. Nothing remains of the castle, but we could imagine the drawbridge. We took another short break here to enjoy the ambience of the area. A peregrine falcon was spotted across the gorge.
Back on the move and with the giant chimneys of the Ironworks in view, we were soon walking into the grounds of the Dunaskin heritage centre.
Boarded up and abandoned were turbine houses, ovens, kilns, and a wonderful 1847 Italianate blowing-engine house. redundant relics of an industrial age that once was the lifeblood of South Ayrshire. There's still life here though, volunteers from the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group are always around preparing for the Steam Open Days in the summer.
Back at the cars, we now made our way into Dalmellington and the Eglington Hotel where we enjoyed scones, cakes, tea and coffee, an indulgence likely to counteract the good healthy work of the walk !

Next week walk; the 5th of April will be an 8 mile circular from Stranraer to Castle Kennedy. Meet at the Riverside in Newton Stewart for car sharing at 9.15am or the walk start at 10am. The walk starts at the 10am in the Breastworks car park in Stranraer (NX 059 610). New walkers are welcome but please speak to the leader first on 01776 840226.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your pictures and company Gordon, great to see you.
    Get your money out and buy Dunaskin !