Sunday, 28 September 2014

Wigtownshire ramblers. Glenapp to Cairnryan. September 2014

Leader explaining todays route.

This guy came down to see us.

Jackets were soon being packed away as it got warmer.

A lot of the forest had been felled improving our path.

Todays group

plus our leader.
Yesterday Saturday September 27th I journeyed by bus to Cairnryan to meet with Wigtownshire ramblers for a 8 mile walk starting at Finnarts Bay . It was a pleasantly cool morning once we had taken another bus to our start point at the head of Loch Ryan. A good track saw us all heading up the glen towards Glenapp Church before carefully crossing the main A77 onto an old drovers road up onto the hills with its panoramic views across the Irish seas to Northern Ireland. Our leader had found an excellent spot for lunch in an area which had been recently felled providing us with tree stumps to sit on and also superb views.Crossing over the moorland we arrived at the dis-used world war 2 gunnery perched high above the loch giving our troops plenty of opportunity to scare away any potential invaders.At this point the teacher and I left the group to make a hurried descent down to the village where we caught the earlier bus home to end a nice autumn walk. Thanks to the leader for showing us a slightly different route today to the one most of us had done in our rambling careers.

Footnote: Scoop will provide me with more photos and the press report of the walk later on today which I will publish on this post.
Extra photos are shown first .

Here's Scoop's report
Twenty three walkers, many making use of their precious bus passes, helped to fill the bus which took them from Cairnryan to the turnoff on the A77 to Finnarts Bay.  After introducing a new walker and welcoming back one who had rejoined them after an enforced absence, the leader gave a brief description of the walk before setting off down towards the bay.
After passing what used to be a fish factory and using the beautifully restored bridge over the Water of App, the group walked along the hard track beside Garry Wood, the trees in which are starting to wear autumnal colours.  A few moments were taken to admire a magnificent bull amongst a field of cows before they passed Finnarts Farm and continued on along the tree lined road track to reach the Bridge of the Mark, re-crossing the river to gain the A77.  The traffic was braved for a hundred metres before turning into the track leading up towards Wee Leith Hill. This is the Glen App to Stranraer section of the Mull of Galloway Trail.

Now the walking became harder as the zig-zagging climb began, frequent stops for breath, drinks of water and photo taking essential. Gaining height, we were soon able to look back down to Glenapp Church and the rhododendrons on the opposite hill. The rhododendrons once spelled out ‘Elsie’ but now only the odd letter can be guessed at.  An information board told us a little of the life of Elsie Mackay, daughter of the 1st Earl of Inchcape, who found fame as an actress and who became a very competent pilot.  She was lost over the Atlantic on her bid to become the first pilot to cross it, east to west.  The view across Glen App was a spectacular one over heather, bracken and trees with their changing colours, while the entrance to Loch Ryan and the Mull of Kintyre showed pale blue to the west.
Our track now became a forestry one with much evidence of the massive cull of Larch trees owing to widespread disease.  However, the views have now opened up to give us a bigger perspective of the area.  Logs were piled high beside the route and tree stumps were in abundance – giving the Ramblers perfect seating for lunch as they neared the edge of Low Marsh Forest.
Blood sugar brought back to satisfactory levels, the group started their descent, turning westwards above Old Park of the Gleick, looking across the loch to the North Rhins of Galloway.  A farmer had expressed his opinion on Scottish independence with a resounding ‘NO’, ploughed into a field.  After crossing the almost dry Galloway burn and looking down on the ferry terminals of Cairnryan there was a last uphill trek to the Taxing Stane  where once travellers had to pay to use the road crossing between Wigtownshire and Ayrshire, and to the Gcon gun battery of Little Laight Hill.  An information board informed us that this marked the burial-place of Alpin, the King of Dalriada and father of Kenneth McAlpine, King of the Scots, killed in 741 in Glenapp.
Turning away from the track near Little Laight, the walkers descended to pass through Meikle Laight and were delighted to watch while sheep were having their toe nails clipped – lying on their backs, on a table, feet upwards!   An offer was made to the group to have theirs done but they were on the move again, heading for the reservoir and weir close by.
From there it was a lovely descent through woodlands, following the course of Glen Burn, to reach the cars in the north car park of Cairnryan.  Most of the group gathered again to enjoy the excellent refreshments provided at the Merchants House – they are highly recommended by the Wigtownshire Ramblers!
The walk on Saturday 4th October is an 8 mile C grade figure of eight walk at the Mull of Galloway.  Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9am, at Port Rodie, Stranraer or the walk start at the Mull of Galloway (NX 154 304) at 10am.  For further details or if going to the start please phone the walk leader on 01776 840636. New members are always welcome.

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