|Starting off on the shore|
|Remains of a wreck.|
|Well earned teas and scones|
A full professional blog with the walk leaders report will appear tomorrow once they have been published.
Alternative blog from the Newton Stewart blogger
Ramblers report. December 13th 2014
After a rough week of windy weather the ramblers were pleasantly surprised to have a relatively calm day for their walk up Knockdolian near Ballantrae. This hill is not a Munro,or a Corbett or a Graham but a very striking Marilyn being only 265 metres high rising abruptly out of surrounding flat landscape easily seen from the A77.
The 23 ramblers met at Ballantrae shore car park and started their 8.5 miles walk along the beach northwards.The tide was low so we had plenty of choice of pebbles, sand or Red sandstone rock in places to walk on. We passed an old shipwreck probably a fishing boat stranded on the beach and plenty of interesting pieces of driftwood ,an artists delight. After about a mile we turned right and headed inland crossing the A77 onto the Colmonell road for a short stretch. At Corseclays Farm we took a right up a track and then left into fields to ascend Knockdolian. This was a gentle climb at an easy gradient going up the west side of this fell also known as the False Craig. You could imagine how it could be confused with Ailsa Craig by those at sea heading for the shore. The views on the way up were much admired especially by those catching their breath. The trig point at the top once reached gave us tremendous views in all directions,out to the coast,as well as up the Stinchar valley to snow covered mountains further East.
As the wind was a westerly, we took shelter dropping down a little way down the East side and found a good picnic spot. After fuelling up we continued down a narrow grass path and passed east of the Fort and and headed towards the burn between Knockdolian castle and Bougang farm. After crossing the burn and a couple of fields we reached Knockdolian Estate. Here we could see the original castle and the mansion house that was built in1842. The estate has accommodation available as well as 3 miles of double bank fishing.Unfortunately we missed any salmon leaping,any dippers dipping and any kingfishers which had been seen on previous walks. A couple of buzzards circled overhead.
We returned to Ballantrae mostly next to the river Stinchar. We passed a couple of fishermans huts which offer good shelter on a rainy day. The riverside walk varied considerably from a single path with tricky slippery areas to a track across flat fields and some parts on the road. Where a ford used to be is now a wide area of river looking like a weir and no evidence of stepping stones or possible vehicular access. Soon after the weir the water of Tig enters the river Stinchar from the East.The ruins of Balnowlart were noticed and the 15th century Ardstinchar castle was eventually reached and we walked under the old bridge to Ballantrae. We had a leisurely and varied walk that all seemed to enjoy and we were welcomed at the Kings Arms Hotel for very good refreshments.
Next Saturday’s walk will be a circular from Knockman Wood to Garlies Castle with mince pies and mulled wine to follow. Meet at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 am, the Breastworks car park, Stranraer at 09:00 am or the walk start at Knockman Wood car park (NX 409 674) at 10 am. New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader on 01671 402733 for full details.