|Newton Stewart blogger complete with cameras and poles.|
|First hill was Kirriereoch (786M)|
|Lots of dark clouds with thunder in the distance|
|Looking over to Loch Enoch|
|That is the Merrick up there|
|Climbing up the Spear|
|Me with the bear and the deerstalker|
Wigtownshire Ramblers Report 25/05/14On Sunday 17 ramblers met at Kirriereoch car park for a 9 mile circular hill walk. The turn-out was higher than expected because many of our members had just returned from the group’s annual walking trip, this year to Wales. Heavy rain was forecast but visibility in the hills was good.
After moving cars to the point where two forest roads meet just past Kirriereoch Farm the ramblers set off along the forest road taking a left fork after nearly 2 miles. Following this track to its conclusion led to a path leading straight ahead through the trees. Down a slope, through a grassy clearing, some overgrown sheep pens mark the way to the Crossburn. Here the water level was reasonably low and the stream was easily crossed.
A steep pull up towards the Carnirock stone, following a line of old metal fence posts, was quickly rewarded with fine views to the west where Knockdolian near Ballantrae could clearly be seen. Ominous black clouds hovered over the Bennan to the south, and further north Shalloch on the Minoch was obviously undergoing a drenching. It was time to move on.
A shallower gradient and grass eaten down by sheep made the next 1.3 mile walk to the top much easier walking. Stopping only to don waterproofs when light rain started and experiencing relief when the promised deluge failed to materialize, the ramblers soon found themselves at the summit cairn. Views were temporarily obscured by a thick mist swirling over the top and a light breeze made it too cold to stop for long. When the way ahead became visible the group made their way down Kirriereoch towards the ridge leading to the Little Spear where a useful wall provided shelter for lunch.
Refreshed the group were ready to tackle the steep rocky slopes of the Little Spear. On reaching the top of this conical shaped hill, some paused to enjoy the views, but others chose to immediately tackle the final pull up the Merrick where once again mists blew over to spoil the scenery.
A gentle descent along the finger of the Merrick, first above the Black Gairy, then following a dry stone wall and finally the ridge leading to Kirriemore Hill found the ramblers at the final summit cairn for the day. A quick descent past recently felled forestry took the now tired walkers to a forest road and eventually their awaiting cars.
The next walk, on Saturday the 3rd of August, is a 7.5 mile C grade, Dunskey circular. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9.00 am and Stranraer Breastworks at 9.30am or at the walk start at Dunskey Tea Room car cark ( NX 003 561) at 10.00am. New members are always welcome but must contact the walk leader on 01776 700707.