Saturday, 11 December 2010

Scoops Reports 2010 - 11 December Shenanton

Wigtownshire Ramblers 11 December Shenanton

 Jim, demonstrating how he can walk on water!

Eighteen ramblers - Cath, Frances, Isobel, Jim, Duncan, Irene, Ken, Richard, Andrea, Peter Reid, John Smith, Mary Mitchell, Mary Sloan, Jack, Elaine, Marilyn, ‘arry and Catherine -     took advantage of the mild weather and enjoyed a leisurely walk from Shennanton to Penninghame this Saturday.

After leaving the cars at the lay by on the A75 there were two bridges to view. The old bridge is now a romantic ruin but when built in the early eighteenth century it used cutting technology to carry the Old Military Road across the Bladnoch, providing an eight foot wide carriageway, granite cutwater angles and segmented spans. In the mid nineteenth century this was superseded by Shennanton New Bridge which in turn has been replaced by one across the modern A75.

A quiet country road was followed to the entrance to Shennanton House where the entrance railings with grouped arrowheads and cyclopean support walls are listed buildings designed along with the house by Henry Clifford in 1908. A walk along the driveway and then by an enclosed track bordered by a beautiful beech hedge gave good viewing of the arts and crafts style house, where the cyclopean walls of the gateway were echoed on the house front.

Soon the tarmac road was replaced by a very straight track which led over the Bladnoch once again by a bailey bridge. The river was still frozen along the edges giving a cold paddle for the heron whose contemplation of the waters was interrupted by the walkers. A flock of goldfinches swirled above whilst the waters washed over a set of stepping stones which no one braved in this cold weather.

The track led over the moorland to lonely Loch Eldrig, a fishing loch, where the forest was entered, the ground hard with frost and the sun appearing to give good views of the near hills as Glengrazie was approached.

The high point of the walk was reached, a hill of just 116metres where the OS trig point was hidden in the woods and covered with moss but the ramblers sought out the flush bracket here for their records. 
Lunch was next on the agenda, taken by Penninghame ponds. These ponds have been made accessible for wheelchairs with car park and picnic table. The water was only half frozen and so there were wonderful reflections from the trees to enjoy whilst lunching.

When we got to Penninghame Ponds the reflections in the water were good despite the still frozen sections of it.  Cath had given me my birthday card in the car on the way there and I showed it to everyone, much to their delight AND horror!  I had brought along a box of chocolates and shared them out amongst everyone.   

Sulwath Connections and the Fisheries trust have worked on the Castle Burn, which flows from the ponds, creating a fish ladder for the ascending salmon to spawn and planting trees alongside to protect the banks.

The walk continued along the river to Castle Stewart the home of Dr Kenneth Delbray of the Hope and Kindness Trust, a charity involved in education projects for Tibetans. The castle was built in the sixteenth century by Sir William Stewart but is now only a shell surrounded by some extraordinary buildings which caused much interest amongst the walkers.

The last leg of the walk led across the fields and through a ford to where cars were waiting to enable the group to return to the start after an easy but interesting walk on a pleasantly mild and sunny day.

The walkers went off in different directions but some of us headed for Newton Stewart and the Riverbank Cafe.  Ken was pleased to have his latte with cream while Isobel, Cath, Frances, Mary, Andrea and Richard enjoyed toasted teacakes and other drinks.

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