|Courtesy of the Newton Stewart blogger.|
Circular walk from Stranraer to Castle Kennedy and back.
A dismal, misty day still brought forth twenty stalwarts, on Saturday, for the Rambler’s weekly walk, an eight mile stroll around Stranraer and Castle Kennedy.
Parking at the Breastworks the group first negotiated the town streets, following the Coast Path, and on the way examining art work, depicting the closeness of the people of Stranraer with those across the North Channel. This is a triptych in the form of pages from a book, now looking quite dilapidated after spending over twenty years on the walls of North West Castle. Next to this is the town’s friendship garden, with a plaque telling of its history, and last renovated by the Beechgrove Gardens some years ago.
Soon the hard path changed to a softer surface when the ‘Approach’ was reached along Westwood Avenue, and a tree lined route was negotiated, a favourite of the town’s dog walkers. The way led past the remaining archway of Culhorn mansion, where the Earls of Stair lived for over a hundred years when the old castle at Castle Kennedy burnt down. Along here the Coast path was abandoned and the Southern Upland Way was followed to Castle Kennedy.
Part of this route is along the Old Military road which enables walkers to cross the railway line by Loch Magillie. The blackthorn in the hedges was well out, a wild cherry tree prettily decorated the path to Castle Kennedy, geese rested in the fields, the first of many seen in the day, and a fox ran across the road. The drizzle the walk had started with now dried up, and although paths remained muddy, and the mist remained ever present, it began to feel like spring, with birds accompanying the party with their mating songs.
Once in the grounds of Castle Kennedy gardens, the drive was lined with daffodils and rhododendrons were beginning to come out; splashes of colour enlivened the whole of the route from now on. Geese once more clanked their presence on the White Loch, and formed a spectacle for the walkers as they lunched by the side of the Black Loch.
The grounds were left after crossing the road to Balker, and the only hill of the day brought the company onto a minor road where remains of the Second World War still survive in a gun emplacement and Nissan Hut. From here the main A751 was crossed to gain a farm road through High Balyett and the ramblers were delighted to be shown a shed full of sheep and lambs, including triplet lambs just born; the lambing process was explained by a most welcoming shepherd.
Now it was only a short stroll to waiting cars which transferred most walkers back to the Breastworks, though some hardy souls opted to walk the distance. Refreshments were enjoyed at ‘Stir It’ in the town, a well-earned reward for a misty but most satisfying walk.