Saturday, 2 April 2011

Scoops Reports 2011 - 2 April Glenwhan

Wigtownshire Ramblers 2 April Glenwhan

The weather forecast was not promising but 18 Ramblers assembled at the forest gate at Glenwhan Forest for a new walk over the woods and fields to the south. Cath, Frances, Allan (who was leading the walk), Jack, Carl (NOT Carol!), Susan, Audrey, Duncan, Irene, Richard, Jim, Ken, Mary, Peter, John, Sue, Margaret and Mike set off in sunshine along a forest road.  The sun broke through the clouds as they set out along the forest road.  After passing 2 locked gates they ignored the Southern Upland Way path along the forest boundary and carried on along the forest road.  On their way they passed one of the deer controllers carrying his equipment back to his car.  Apparently he had had no success that day.
The group followed the road to the North side of Craig Fell where they paused to admire the views up the Luce valley towards the moors at the head of the valley.  The walk leader commented that, apart from a few small woods in the lower valley, there had been no trees visible around the valley when he was young.
From the end of the road the group went into the trees and climbed round the western side of the hill.  The ground was very slippery in places and one unfortunate member slipped on the moss covered stones as she crossed an old dyke, breaking her glasses and sustaining a couple of small cuts.  After first aid, administered by another member, she was able to carry on.  The group continued through the trees until they reached the next forest road.
When we were going along a track and crossing over an area of fallen down stones from a dyke, Susan went headlong, crashing on to her face, her glasses saving her eyes but the left side pressed hard into her eyelid and below it, cutting her badly and breaking the glass. She looked pretty awful, especially as the lid started swelling and closing over her eye, giving sight in only one of the them but she insisted that she was OK to carry on and there was not one whimper of complaint from her the whole of the day.
The sun had now cleared most of the clouds and as they followed the road eastwards there were lovely views southwards over the young woods and fields towards Luce Bay with the Isle of Man silhouetted on the horizon.  They followed the road for about a mile then turned southwards through the younger trees along a rough path.  The path had been well used by the local roe & red deer but none of these animals were seen.  Small amounts of bark stripping of the young trees by the deer were observed all along the path.  The path emerged near the end of another spur road.  The ramblers followed it to its terminus and continued through the recently planted and well nibbled broadleaved trees to the boundary of the forest. The group then zig zagged up and down the fields using the various field gates and finally climbed up to the small copse on the summit of Challoch Hill.  From here the views were spectacular in all directions.  There was a wide panorama over Luce Bay with the sun sparkling off the water between the Mull of Galloway and the Machars peninsula.  Further round Stranraer was visible at the end of Loch Ryan and Kirkcolm nestling in its small valley further along the loch as it sheltered from the westerly winds.   This was probably why both Orange and Vodafone had chosen to place their telephone mast there.  In the middle of the wood there was a derelict wooden lookout tower which at one time was manned each spring to spot forest fires in the many forests to the north and east.  The walkers went round to the north side of the wood to get shelter from the keen breeze while they ate their lunches. The views in this direction were also magnificent with the moors of Wigtownshire and the Galloway Hills all bathed in sunshine.
When Cath, Jim and Frances tried to get over the dyke to join the other walkers who had taken another route around the dyke enclosing a wooded area with a wooden watch tower in its middle, John was helping Frances over the wire fencing when she got an  electric shock!  He had put his foot on the top of the wire so did not get a shock so I did this too and jumped down the other side, after some trepidation, landing OK.  Cath got over without the same hesitation and then Jim took the fence from a different direction and jumped backwards!  He then fell heavily, almost bringing Frances down with him and lay there for enough time for us to start worrying.  However, he was OK, thank goodness!
After lunch they set off down the hill towards Dunragit Estate, once the seat of the Dalrymple Hay family.  They joined the end of a new stone track and descended into the policy woods.  When they reached the main drive they turned up the hill and passed the entrance into the Glenwhan Gardens.
The route followed the old track which led from the home farm to the moors.  The track led around the western edge of the Glenwhan Gardens, across a couple of fields and back through the forest to the forest road.  The group then followed the forest road back under darkening skies to the cars.
Allan was pleased that we were only 10 minutes past his estimated time of arrival and reminded us that he had forewarned the people running the tea room at the Glenwhan Garden that a party of Ramblers would be making the most of their refreshments.  However, he didn’t join us when we went in convoy to the tea room, ten of us arriving to spend a lovely hour + and Cath and Frances both had huge pieces of carrot cake which was brilliant!  Richard, Jim, Mary, Ken, Duncan, Irene, Sue and Susan seemed pretty happy with their choices too!

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