Saturday, 24 September 2011

Scoops Reports 2011 - 24 September 2011 Ballantrae – Glenapp

Wigtownshire Ramblers 24 September 2011 Ballantrae – Glenapp

A lovely sunny morning saw eighteen walkers gather at Ballantrae Cemetery Car Park for the walk. Isobel, Frances, Duncan, Forbes, Audrey, Carl, John, Florence, Linda, Leslie, Paul, Jim, Ken, Peter Duncan, Irene, Douglas, Mary and Christine Sloan met for another Ramblers walk.  This was to be on the section of the Ayrshire coastal path from Ballantrae to Glenapp. The walk began by heading back towards Ballantrae before turning south by the standing stone at Garleffin.

Along this first tarmac section, ornate griffins topped the gateposts of Kinniegar farm, white cockerels strutted at Downan farm and sheep grazed lazily at Langdale. A gradual rise saw the end of the tarmac.  Looking back, Ailsa Craig, Knockdolian, Bennane Head and Ballantrae created a wonderful watercolour backdrop.

A kissing gate now gained access to the slopes of Downanhill.  A sign on the gate read poetically:
Be ye Man - or Bairn – or Wumman,
Be ye gaun – or be ye comin,
For Scotland’s Pride – no Scotland’s shame,
Gether yer litter – and tak it Hame!

Distant views were affected by solar haze, but the outline of Ireland could still be made out.
After rounding Downanhill the path now crossed Wilson’s Glen. A few late wild flowers still added a little colour.   Cattle grazed unconcerned by the trespassers. Here and there were patches of various fungi.

Out in the busy North Channel ferries were in constant view.  Two ramblers spotted a marine mammal breaking the surface.   The possibility of it being a whale was discussed, but no further sightings were made. 
A long stretch of undulating slopes now saw the group reach the rocky hill known as Donald Bowie. The path now went inland for two hundred yards to reach the track hewn out of the rock that leads down to Currarie Port.  This is where the Moyle Interconnector, an undersea cable links the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Auchencrosh converter station is close by.  Back in the 18th century, tea and brandy were amongst the goods smuggled ashore here. In this tranquil setting amongst the rocks a leisurely lunch was taken.

After lunch the path now led inland along the flow of the Shallochwreck Burn.
Looking back to the hill Donald Bowie, an intriguing maze like pattern had been cut out of a large patch of gorse. A number of theories failed to resolve the reason for this ‘Artwork’. 

A ruined cottage below Craigmore Hill led to Craigans where a farm track was followed. The track now circled Penderry Hill crossing in turn the burns of Black Glen, Nickalogie and March.  Views over to the North Rhins opened up where Milleur Point and Corsewall lighthouse could be easily identified.  Fast ferries made sweeping wakes entering and leaving Loch Ryan. 

After passing between the hilltops of Blarbuie and Sandloch a long downhill section followed.  Steadily turning north east and following the Water of App, the Bridge of Mark heralded the end of the walk.

 A perfect walking day was topped with tea and cakes at the Ballantrae Garden Centre café.  Isobel, Duncan, Forbes, Audrey, Carl, Paul, Jim, Ken, Peter Duncan, Irene, Douglas (?), Mary, Christine Sloan and I sat outside in the sunshine (disappointingly, there was no almond slice so I had a scone instead!).

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