|This bridge is for cyclists only|
|Some of us preferred dining al fresco|
|whilst others chose the cafe|
|Lots of bikes for hire|
|The sun eventually shone on us|
|Another tree lined avenue to add to my large collection|
With thanks to the Newton Stewart blogger..
Wigtownshire Ramblers April 12th 2014 Creetown to Newton Stewart
“By bus to Creetown”, was the instruction to Ramblers this week and consequently eighteen members boarded the bus in Newton Stewart. Alighting near Adamson Square where our walk was to begin two more walkers joined the group. We set off in good spirits over the Money Pool Burn and along tracks to Barholm Mains Farm where we watched frisky lambs and protective mothers grazing in the fields. Crossing the Creetown Road the group climbed the short path up to the disused railway track. The track has been tarmacked and is now part of the national Cycle Route 7 as we discovered from a newly painted fossil tree sign, created by Jon Mills, along the way.
Spring was in the air with a profusion of wild flowers blooming in the verges – primroses, celandines, stitchwort and speedwell to name a few. A family of cyclists waved cheerfully as they passed by. At the Cairnsmore Viaduct the Ramblers turned right heading up the valley towards the new centre at Kirroughtree where our lunch break was to be taken. Along the road we were met by our Ayrshire walker who had come to join us. Now we were twenty one. The centre was very busy as spring celebrations were taking place. Some walkers elected to picnic on the benches outside while others went in to sample the food provided by Cream of Galloway who now run the café. All enjoyed a visit to the new restrooms which were voted a huge improvement over the old ones. The group were delighted to meet Alan Hall, editor of the Wigtown Free Press, who faithfully publicises our weekly articles. Also on site was Lucy Hadley forest ranger and Helen Fenby from Cream of Galloway, both of whom have encouraged and assisted Ramblers in past walks
After a most enjoyable break the walk resumed along the blue trail which took us under the new and impressive wheel bridge “Standing at five-metres in diameter and with a 12 metre ramp on and off, the new bridge was designed and built by Andy Hopkins, 7stanes Technical Officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Alasdair Rennie of Sustainable Scotland and other Forestry Commission Scotland staff." A pause was taken for photographs before walking on to the Bruntis Loch where some walkers took a short detour to view the polished pink quartz gemstone, a feature of the Kirroughtree 7 Staines route.
A short walk later and the group abandoned the blue trail crossing the dyke and fields of Larg Farm. Here we viewed Larg Tower now a heap of stones but once the seat of the McKie family who were granted the lands about by Robert the Bruce. Crossing the Queensway the group entered the Doon Wood via a new forest road created to remove the disease ridden larch trees. After a steep climb up Parliament Knowe the group paused for sweeties and a short lecture on how it got its name by becoming a meeting place where lead miners could discuss their grievances against their employers. Later it was used by tinklers as a summer camp for many years.
The walk now took us up a beautiful tree lined path and into Bower Wood. A sharp wind had arisen and we were glad of the shelter of the trees. As we topped a rise in the path we looked straight down into a field, the hollow centre of which was filled with a herd of about thirty fallow deer, some brown, but mostly white, who were sheltering from the wind. They gazed at us in some alarm but we moved on down the path which eventually lead us through Minnigaff, along riverside road and back to our cars. The now customary refreshments were taken in the Belted Galloway café where Gordon was awaiting us with freshly baked scones and a cheery service.
Next week there is an eleven mile walk around the coast and countryside near Portpatrick. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9am or the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.30am for car sharing. The walk starts at Portpatrick South car park at 10am. Thinking of going straight to the start or of joining our group? Please phone the walk leader on 01581 200256 first.