Friday, 24 December 2010

Scoops Reports 2010 - 24th December 2010 - Stroan Bridge Circular

Wigtownshire  Ramblers 24th December 2010  - Stroan Bridge Circular

Seventeen walkers (Cath, Thomas, Frances, Rachel, Jim, Marilyn, Jim, Douglas, Christine, new walkers Julie and Stuart, Duncan, Irene, Hilary with Curly, Margaret, Josie and Ray) met at Stroan Bridge on Boxing Day to walk off the excesses of Christmas. New walkers were given a warm welcome.  I asked Jim if he would lead the walk as he had done the recce and taken loads of fabulous photos then and I wanted to do the same!  I took quite a few from the bridge etc. before we set off and continued snapping away as we walked to Loch Trool.  I walked and talked a lot to Julie who moved to the area with her husband very recently – mostly because of the clear skies as they are both keen on astronomy. 
Due to road and weather conditions the original planned walk from Bruce's Stone had been rerouted.  They began by following the path south alongside the Water of Minnoch.

Prolonged below zero temperatures and very little rain have caused much of the river to freeze. Frozen waterfalls and odd shaped ice accumulations have made the river resemble an arctic backwater.  Icicles hang like organ pipes, and what water is flowing create shadowy movements below the ice before emerging in a bubbling frenzy to continue in zigzag channels on its way south. That’s really poetic, Jim!
They continued south till reaching the Water of Trool where the path turned east. After crossing the new footbridge at the Black Loup they now followed the route of the Southern Upland Way. Snow and ice underfoot is slowly thawing.
 Along here a couple of roe deer were spotted taking cover in the woods.  On the river the frozen theme continued.  Different hues and shades on the ice created colourful pictures. 
Reaching the woods at Caldons, a slight detour was taken to look at the Martyrs Tomb. History tells that this was a particularly savage killing with six covenanters being disturbed at prayer, and shot and buried where they were slain.  After crossing over Caldons Bridge they now made their way to the lochside where lunch was taken. A festive bottle of homemade wine was shared out.  Close to shore the thickness of the ice was tested. 
Before we got to Loch Trool my stomach had started to hurt and I was unable to eat any lunch or even to share the wine that Douglas had brought!  However, I did manage to walk on the frozen loch quite a bit, following in Jim’s footsteps!
 After lunch they continued along Kenmure Moss to the woods from where they made their way to the tarmac road.  From here they turned back west, carefully crossing a very icy stretch of road before reaching the yellow trail way markers opposite the Caldons road.
 A steady climb brought them up through the woods to the Torr Lane burn and the Spout Head waterfall. As the water flowed underneath, vertical sheets of ice reached up to the top of the falls.
 Continuing on they passed by the old sheep pens above Stroan House before reaching an area where trees had recently been felled.  Large stacks of Sitka and Norway Spruce lined the roadside.  The last stretch brought them back to Stroan Bridge and the end of the walk.
 The meeting wasn't quite over yet though. The group now made their way back to the group secretary’s house in Newton Stewart where she and her husband had laid on a festive treat with Mulled Wine, Mince Pies, Christmas Cake, Tea, Coffee and other delicacies. It was a fitting end to a lovely walk. 

I was SO looking forward to enjoying the festive fayre and company at Andrea and Richard’s home but was unable to eat anything!  Maybe next year?!

No comments: