Saturday, 11 February 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 11 February – Glasserton Circular

 11 February – Glasserton Circular  Report by Jim Deans

A dreich misty morning greeted the 15 walkers assembled at Glasserton church car park. The forecast was for much of the same throughout the day, but the group as usual were optimistic.  Cath, Frances, Isobel, Jim, Ken, Mary, Andrea, Richard, Audrey, Irene, Margaret, Florence, Leslie, Linda and Mary set off after Jim gave the group information on what was likely to be seen on the walk.

Blankets of snowdrops and a picturesque dead elm tree brought the group to Glasserton Mains cottages from where they headed north-west along the old drovers track.

The first point of interest was the row of derelict cottages by the Row plantation. Here the walk leader had a list of the names he'd found on the internet of the occupants of these cottages back in 1684. 
Continuing on, another old cottage complete with an old fireplace was explored. After passing Rouchan Pond the normally extensive views of the Machars were non-existent due to the mist.   Movement of cattle had muddied field entrances and mud became a prominent feature of the walk. 

I kept my camera in my rucksack all this time as the rain was light but continual.  However, I couldn’t resist using it again when we had to tackle the climb of our first gate.

Reaching Craiglemine the route now changed direction to the south-west and Carleton. Reaching Bessie Yon, another derelict house was explored. It contained a delightful old fireplace complete with pot hanger, pot, grate and oven, and although very rusty gave a glimpse of a long since past way of life. 

The track, deteriorating badly into mud, mud and more mud then led us to Bessie Yon and yet another empty cottage which we explored at length.  The kitchen looked like it might have been a later addition and the roof had been raised, evident by the addition of more levels of bricks in the chimney.  

Now an easterly route was taken over the rising undulating and boggy fells.  After carefully crossing a slippery stile over a drystane dyke the group continued upward to reach another drystane dyke. The trig point at the northern end of the Fell of Carleton stood twenty feet away, but only the intrepid few crossed the stile for a closer look. By now the rain had almost ceased, but the mist still had a damp feel to it.

Despite the slight rain the crossing of this section of moorland was still attractive but by this time my stomach was protesting and it was with relief that the Machermore’s Millstone was reached and we were able to use its surrounding rocks on which to sit and shelter and have our lunch. 

After crossing more rough undulating terrain the next objective of the Machermore's Millstone was reached.  Carved into a rocky outcrop almost a metre wide is an unfinished millstone.  

The walk leader had heard a story of its being unfinished due to the outbreak of war.  More likely is the local tradition that says the millstone was carved in the late 19th century by workmen rebuilding Carleton farm.  The outcrop of rock, known as Mill Stone Howe proved to be an ideal spot to enjoy a spot of lunch. Although the mist remained, the rough foamy tide at the Point and Lochans of Cairndoon could be seen clearly.

After lunch the outcrop known as Fox Hunt was skirted to reach Laggan Pond and Camp. Another drystane dyke was crossed to reach the top of this large promontory fort.
The amateur archaeologists in the group enjoyed identifying ramparts, ditches and the entrance.

The next section of the walk was along the cliff top overlooking Luce Bay. The unique shingle beach of Claymoddie came into regular view.  After more obstacles including barbed wire fences, dykes, burns and inoperable gates were negotiated, the farm track at Claymoddie was reached.

The route now took them inland to the crossroads of Claymoddie from where the estate road to Glasserton was accessed.  Reaching the site where Glasserton House stood, the group learned a little of its history and owners. To the rear, the outlines of the lawn terraces, blanketed by snowdrops, gave a good impression of how majestic it once was.

Now the group moved on to look at the 18th century Glasserton Home farm.  A new roof and wall have been incorporated with some of the original structure to create a grain store.  The surrounding cottages and a doo'cot also date back to the 18th century. 

We had another small peep at the past – seen inside one of the out-buildings.  From here it was a short distance back to the car park and the end of an interesting if somewhat misty walk.

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