Saturday, 31 March 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 31 March Beneraid

31 March  Beneraid – Big Fell  Report by Gordon Phillips

Frances, Thomas , Rachel, Catherine Makepeace, Debi and Allan Topping met the rest of the Ramblers, 18 of us in all at Ballantrae Cemetery (Peter, John, Alex, Allan, Richard, Sue, Linda, Leslie, Mary (Cairnryan), Jacqui, Gordon (our leader) and Carl who had walked down from his caravan, nearby.
Eighteen walkers met at the Ballantrae Cemetery for an 11 mile walk up Benneraird which, at 439 Metres high, is the highest of the hills on the south side of Glen App. The leader explained the route before leaving the start.
It was a lovely clear sunny morning as they left the road and followed a grassy track up to the A77.  The group crossed the main road and followed the newly tarmacked road to Auchairne and Kilwhannel.  The woods were showing signs of early spring. The group were especially surprised to note some bluebells emerging into full colour. On the way they were greeted by a lively spaniel that had to be persuaded not to join the group. Beyond Kilwhannel they followed the old drove road which at one time took you all the way to New Luce, 19 miles away. The route continued as a steady climb and they stopped briefly at a spot marked on the map as "Hut Circles".  They had to use our imagination to see what was probably an ancient settlement. The views northwards took in much of the Firth of Clyde bathed in sunshine.
We stopped for a short while and admired the views down to Ballantrae with Ailsa Craig settled into the blue sea, behind which we could clearly see the Mull of Kintyre and Arran.
The track started to rise a bit more steeply here as they made their way on towards the summit of Benneraird.
The track deteriorated soon after, with huge ruts hewn out of it by vehicles which had obviously come this way when the weather had been so much wetter.  We often had to bypass the track, making our way over relatively dry areas which would normally be very different, owing to a long awaited dry spell.
When they reached the top of the pass a small diversion was taken to the site of a war time air crash. The group followed the road down towards Lagafater Lodge and found a little wreckage in the trackside ditch. A short climb up the fell reached the crash site where the leader explained what had happened in 1945 when an American Liberator aircraft crashed here with the loss of 17 lives. One airman did survive to make his way to the lodge to summon help but it was only when he arrived there that they realised he had been unconscious for two days. Not a lot is known of what happened after this.
Once back up on Benneraird the walkers had a lunch break basking in the glorious sunshine looking out over the Solway Firth to the Isle of Man.  Once they were suitably refreshed they headed down over the moorland towards Big Fell.
Climbing over a fence nearby we turned northwards and dropped down off the hill, crossing moorland (where I, not looking where I was going, managed to put my left foot down in a moss covered bog, fell forward onto both knees and had to tug my leg back up!) before once again making our way upwards, this time to reach the summit of Big Fell.  My trousers were quite wet but they soon dried in the sunshine and light wind.
Parts of the moor were under a controlled fire with lots of smoke billowing about the sky.  A small detour to avoid the smoke took them on to Big Fell where they had another short break to take in the views over the Clyde to Arran and all the way up towards the mountains in the distance known as the Arrochar Alps.
From there the ramblers descended over some fields which were full of sheep grazing with their new born lambs and reached the old coach road which runs past Crailoch House on its way to Smyrton.  Along the way the track passed through an avenue of gnarled beech trees which provided attractive dappled shade along the open hillside. Once at the village they recrossed the A77 and made their way down the paths following the burns down the glen below the grounds of Glenapp Castle Hotel to the cars parked near to the hotel gates to end a magnificent day in the South Ayrshire hills.
Most of us went to the garden centre for drinks and cakes, sitting outside to enjoy the rest of the day’s sunshine.  Those who did not join us were John, Peter, Allan and Alex.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 24 March Glenluce Circular

24 March Glenluce Circular Report by Cath Birkett

Cath, Thomas, Frances and Isobel met the other walkers at Glenluce in the car park of the County Golf Course.  We were amazed to find the crowd of walkers there, with only one of the 35 of us being a new one – Heather, a friend of Rachel’s.  In addition to the six of us there were – Richard, Andrea, Jim, Mary , Catherine, Ken, Margaret, Audrey, Irene, Duncan, Shona, Peter, John, Alex, Tom and Audrey Proudfoot, Mike, Florence, Linda, Leslie, Jacqui, Mary (Cairnryan), Carl, Marilyn and Jim Sime, Charlotte, Christine (Portpatrick caravan) and Forbes.  That made a total of 34, can’t work out who the 35th walker was!  We made sure the managers of the clubhouse were aware of how many walkers would be in there later!

A record number of ramblers turned out on a beautiful morning at the County Golf Club, Glenluce. Thirty five walkers set out round the 18 hole links course to the shore, skirting the northernmost section of Luce Bay. The route was to be a leisurely circuit of the Luce valley, taking in Glen Luce Abbey, the woods of Castle O’ Park and St. Helena’s Isle.
We set off across the golf course, much to Shona’s dismay – I am not sure whether this was in horror at our bravery, stupidity or lack of sensitivity!  There were not many players on the course at the time and we got to the beach safely.

As the tide was out along the first section along the shore, there was a good view of the meandering course of the Piltanton Burn as it gained the freedom of the bay. The beach here is deep in shells and the walkers crunched their way along over razor, cockle, oyster, mussel, tellin and whelk shells, some members collecting the skeletons of sea urchins as they went along. After crossing a soft and spongy section covered with decaying seaweed, fields led the way, across the A75, to the quiet country road which would take the ramblers to Glen Luce Abbey.
Promises of many flowers to come were seen along the verges, but the sunshine had not yet tempted any to show their faces. The road led by the former Challoch junction of the Paddy line. The disused railway stretched away to the right, and the line from Stranraer to Barrhill wound its way across and back on bridges over the route of the walk. Soon there was a view of Glen Luce Abbey in the rising heat haze, quietly contemplating its position, a splendid ruin set amongst perfectly calm and peaceful Arcadian surroundings.
After crossing the Water of Luce, an early lunch stop was called for, in order to fully appreciate the work of the early monks who toiled so hard to build their magnificent place of worship. The abbey was founded in 1192 and survived, as a Cistercian monastery, to the sixteenth century, when alterations enabled it to become the home of the Commendator, who administered the abbey estates. One of the more unusual features of the ruins is the water- supply system of clay pipes interspersed with circular clay inspection units. It was only just after 11.30am when we reached the Abbey but most of the walkers sat down to enjoy their lunches while others of us wandered around with or without Cath who was passing on some of the information she had gathered about the derelict buildings.  We sat in gorgeous sunshine, all the benches were taken but there were ample spaces for ample backsides on the lower remains of the building.  When we set off once again, those who had not done so already, started to wander around to explore the area!
As the walk continued back towards Glen Luce, the source of the abbey water, St. Margaret’s well, was pointed out, now an insignificant spring, emptying below a tree clad bank alongside the road. This bank was climbed, the only hill on the walk, and continued as a farm track, giving wonderful views over the valley below. Next, the route took the walkers to the Viaduct, down a back road, where a bank of celandines glowed in the dappled shade of trees lining the accompanying steep sided burn.
Castle o’ Park, a seventeenth century tower house now administered as a holiday let by the Landmark trust, was found at the end of its service road from the viaduct. This was built with stones from the abbey, by the son of the last abbot, Thomas Hay. The castle was then circled through woodland – some broadleaves, which enabled wood sorrel, wood anemones, stitchwort and dandelions to brighten up the new green growth, and then tall, straight pine trees giving little light to the woodland floor, but providing a soft surface for the tiring feet of the ramblers.
Dog’s mercury flowers decorated the banks of the disused railway line which was the return route to the viaduct where the pre-bypass road led to a path by the river, under the A75, and back to the shores of Luce Bay. Gulleys were gradually filling as the tide had turned and a broken, but safe bridge was crossed by the 11th hole of the golf course.
St. Helena’s Isle was supposedly named by Admiral Hay, when he brought back cuttings of trees to plant here from the island prison of Napoleon. It is nowadays, rarely if at all, an island, needing a very high tide to cover the surrounding salt marsh.  The sea was now advancing across the sands, giving a totally different view of the shore than at the outset of the walk with the monks fish trap at the outflow of the Water of Luce, barely showing above the water.
The closing section of this week’s walk led along the edge of the golf course before the cars and the Club house beckoned with a warm welcome and delicious refreshments waiting for the weary foot soldiers. It had been a glorious day, a hopeful foretaste of good weather to continue into spring.
The only walkers not taking advantage of the hospitality at the golf club were Shona, Tom and Audrey, Mike, Marilyn and Jim, the last three having left us in the woods to cross the A75 earlier.  Our hosts had laid out tea and coffee, cakes and scones to which we helped ourselves. As always, our refreshments were accompanied by much noise and laughter but the other occupants in the clubhouse seemed undisturbed by us.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 17th March Black Laggan Burn, Millfore

17th March Black Laggan Burn, Millfore  Report by Cath Birkett

Frances, Thomas, Cath and Rachel drove to Clatterinshaws where Rachel and I took photos after we persuaded Thomas to stop a few times for us to try to capture the wonderful reflections shimmering in the still water.  I would have loved to have just been left there to spend the day walking beside the loch taking photos but, since I was supposed to be the leader of today’s walk that was not to be!  We caught up with Florence and Allan who were taking care driving along the rutted road and after we arrived, Richard got there with another car load.  Florence had brought Linda and Leslie, Allan was accompanied by Duncan, John, Charlotte and Alex and Richard had given a lift to Jim and Sue - Debi came on her own.
Spring was definitely on the way as sixteen ramblers walked along the forest road from Craigencallie, looking forward to a glorious day in the hills. The route was to take in the Black Laggan Burn and Millfore, returning via the White Laggan Burn and bothy.
The forest road to Loch Dee gave a good warm up for those unused to hill walking, passing the memorial seat dedicated to Dr. Robert Donald Borthwick of Dumfries, which is well placed for a panoramic view of the loch, with a background of the northern Galloway hills and Silver Flow. Both gates were unlocked so we could have taken our cars down the 5 miles which we then had to walk, but the day was sunny and the wind light as we set off and seemed to cover the distance fairly quickly.  I was leading but, as usual, had to run occasionally to keep to the front (rarely) as I was taking photos of course.  The group stopped once for sweets which I dished out to them to aid their energy levels along this route and then we had another stop as we left Loch Dee to follow White Laggan Burn for a while before it branched off into Black Laggan Burn.
The walkers turned off the forest road to examine the ruins of Black Laggan, a small shepherd’s cottage where McBain, the doyen of Galloway walking books in the early 20th century, tells us that 16 people once stayed.  A range of rain gauges were a subject of interest, used in a long study by the James Hutton Institute of Aberdeen, considering the effects of forestry and atmospheric pollution on stream water quality,  in the water catchment area of Loch Dee. It was here that Richard handed over the walkie-talkies to me and to Florence as leader and backup, with a quick explanation on their use.  I put mine in my pocket and then was inundated with noises from it as I kept touching the knobs and dials.  By this time the group had moved on ahead and I had trouble in catching up.  When I did I handed the contraption to Cath telling her she could be better with it than I was and she and Florence had a practice at contacting each other which was hilarious as they could hear each other anyway! 
 The Black Laggan Burn was now followed upwards along a black mossy track beside the tumbling water, which periodically plunged over boulders, twisting between the steep banks and providing spectacular waterfalls, perfect excuses for resting whilst viewing.

A herd of goats stood watching from above, blending in with the cleared forest wreckage, while the company passed by, bog hopping among the tufted grasses, but enjoying the warm sunshine on this side of the burn.
Further up amongst the trees a tributary was followed which was to lead to the top of Millfore, the path now edged with the furry buds of goat willow. A lunch stop was called before the open hill was reached, beside the bubbling burn and amongst more rain collecting instruments.  I asked Cath officially then if she would take over the leading as I could not keep up with the quicker walkers.
Refreshed and rested, the most testing part of the walk now stretched ahead. The steep open hill provided ever widening views of the hills behind, needing frequent stops to enjoy the soft colours and scenic beauty of the landscape. The quicker walkers surged ahead and, since they could see our objective, the summit of Millfore, were able to make their own way there, albeit in a slightly more circuitous route than Cath’s easier one.  Occasionally there were attempts at using the walkie-talkies!
The seeds of bog asphodel, left from their starry flowering of August, contrasted nicely with new green shoots of fir clubmoss, as the walkers climbed over the often boggy and pathless ground to the cairn and ordinance survey post, marking the summit of the hill.
A wonderful panorama was spread before the eyes. There are not many summits where such a spectacular view is obtained of complete ranges of hills. In the north the Silver Flow divides the Rhins of the Kells, with Backhill of Bush bothy standing out amongst trees, from the Dungeon range. In the northwest the Merrick range stands out and behind the White Loch of Drigmorn, Curleywee and the Lamachan range are close by. The far views southwards reach from the Mull of Galloway past the Lakeland hills to the Glenkens.
After a lengthy stay in the sunshine, the return route took the walkers to a wide grassy ledge below the White Loch, skirting the boggy beginnings of the Black Laggan Burn. The ridge leading from the Gairy of Pulnee was crossed and a wet, steep descent was made to the White Laggan Burn, with a clear view of the bothy and its red door - the next target.
 Cath led us down and I am sure that our route was slightly different from that taken by us on Tuesday as it seemed much easier – maybe this was because I had borrowed Andrea’s walking pole as I had forgotten mine and this helped to give me balance as we went over the wet and slippery terrain.  This brought us to the bothy which was investigated by some walkers while others found a place to sit, have a drink, biscuits and the rest of my sweets were distributed.  I removed my waterproof trousers which had alternated between being too hot and then useful when we walked through boggy bits and slipped over a few times.  My leggings underneath were really wet but they soon dried.  I shan’t wear the over trousers again unless it is going to be a much colder day.
The burn was followed until it reached the even boggier pony track from Drigmorn to Loch Dee. Another rest was in order at the bothy, before steps were retraced along the forest road where the sunshine had opened the flowers of coltsfoot, bright yellow blooms welcoming the spring sunshine still accompanying the ramblers back to the cars.  It was starting to get cold by the time we got there and it was good to jump into the relative warmth of the cars and set off for Richard and Andrea’s home in Newton Stewart.
Astonishingly, the road back to Newton Stewart was awash with sleet. The fields were white and in places deep tracks were left along the road surface. Luck had been with the ramblers on their warm sunny outing. As the usual watering places were by now closed, the company were generously invited to cream teas at a member’s home and energy was amply and deliciously replenished.
We all had the choice of apple, fruit and treacle scones baked by Andrea this afternoon, plus tea or coffee.  I was full to bursting after devouring an apple, then a fruit and then half of a treacle scone, the last two with jam and clotted cream.  These were the best scones I have EVER tasted!  I was totally unable to eat more than a Clementine later!  Great day - took 270+ photos!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 10 March Corsewall – Kirkcolm

10 March Corsewall – Kirkcolm  Report by Jim Deans

Thomas was driving the Discovery when he and Cath picked me up at the crossroads at 9am and we collected Isobel at Sandhead from where he drove directly to Corsewall.  His car was the best one for the purpose – others who arrived a bit later got a bit bogged down on the soft ground and had to have help in getting extricated!  I was too late to take photos as I had immediately set off to take photos around and about as the waves were crashing over the rocks throwing up some very photogenic surf!
A dry but slightly overcast morning saw 21 walkers gather at the parking area by Corsewall lighthouse for the walk to Kirkcolm.  It was a good crowd who had turned out for today’s walk, including Catherine Makepiece, Carl and Shona who had not walked with us for months, Jim, who led the walk, Richard, the backup leader, Mary, Alex, Peter, Ken, Margaret, Audrey, Rachel, Linda, Leslie, Mary (Cairnryan), Duncan and Charlotte. Although there was little wind, the incoming tide created spectacular waves to the delight of the group’s photographers; this was a feature for much of the walk.

From the walk start to the entrance to Loch Ryan at Milleur Point the going was varied and testing. Though designated as a coastal walk, there is no apparent path. Muddy cattle tracks, rocky clambers and scrambles, steep grassy inclines, burns, and bogs were the order of the day and progress was steady. Picturesque waterfalls created a pleasant diversion from the rough terrain.  

Iron Age forts at Dunskirloch and Caspin were passed en route. Also en route at Port Mullin, was the now derelict cottage once occupied by Bernard (Barney) McGhee. An item from the Free Press 12th of January 1905 read "Death of Nonagenarian. Kirkcolm has lost its oldest inhabitant by the death of Bernard McGhee which took place at the Old Mill Port Mullen, on 2nd inst. Bernard had reached the advanced age of 95, and died on his birthday within a few yards of where he was born. For 42 years he occupied the Old Mill and acted as assistant keeper at Corsewall for 28 years. The deceased had been over 70 years a member of Kirkcolm Parish Church which he attended regularly as long as he was able to walk. He was much respected in the Parish."

At Port Leen, the cart track used for transporting sea kelp was easily identified. Here too, a well built stone wall at the end of the track caused speculation as to its use.

Celandine, primroses and coastal lichens were among the flora and fauna that added colour to the walk.  Among the sea birds spotted were gannets, shags, herring gulls, oyster catchers and curlews. Fox, deer, hare and rabbits also made an appearance.

Ferries in and out of Loch Ryan were rarely out of the picture. Distant views were often non-existent, but at various times Ireland, the Mull of Kintyre, Arran and the Ayrshire coast put in an appearance.  Rounding Milleur Point, lunch was taken on a rocky outcrop on the shoreline of Loch Ryan, where pleasant views over to Finnarts Bay were enjoyed.
I constantly had to catch up with the others as I had to tear myself away from taking photos of the sea, surf and rocks.  It was the most amazing day during which I purred constantly.  The constant interest of the surroundings and the varying surfaces over which we walked kept me occupied for hours but it was a great relief when we did at last stop for lunch some time after 1pm.  Despite the occasional dishing out of sweets my blood sugar level got very low after noon!  The spot chosen for the lunch break was a good one from where to see the comings and goings of the ferries.
After lunch and with a close up view of the P & O ferry, the European Causeway, the cliff top path south was taken.  Crossing the geological features of the Beef Barrel and McMeckans Rocks, Lady Bay was reached. A large flock of noisy geese flew overhead.  A sandy beach, a track and a winding rocky path were now followed past the bothies at Portmore to reach Jamieson's Point and Portbeg.

Sometime during the day those of us trailing towards the back were delighted to see two deer chase between groups of walkers and fly over the dyke and bounce away up the field.  I was too slow to get a reasonable photo of them but we were rewarded very soon afterwards when another deer followed the first two and I got a couple of ‘so-so’ shots of it.
It was really good to cross the field cleared of last year’s maize crop – so much easier than going around the field when the crop is at full height!  We turned down into Lady Bay instead of up and away from it as we have done in the past and then crossing the bay over the sandy beach before leaving it for another track.
The walk was completed by road, uphill past Clachan Hill Farm, then downhill into Kirkcolm. Drivers were now ferried back to Corsewall to collect the cars.  A testing but visually delightful walk was topped off with tea and cake at the Soleburn cafe.  Some of us carried on walking, opting not to sit and wait for the drivers.  I walked with Isobel who was now struggling to walk with two very sore knees, brought on, she said, by the Country Dancing she had enjoyed all last weekend at Pitlochry.  She and I were delighted when Mary slowed down to pick us up, her car not having been needed to ferry any drivers and we got to Soleburn long before more of the party.  Then we were delighted to meet Irene who had been waiting for us.  We had not seen her for a very long time following an operation in February.  We sat with her, enjoying her company until the other walkers arrived and we dragged all the new tables and chairs together, making a jolly crowd with lots of noise!  We put all the furniture back afterwards and cleared the tables.  We complimented the new managers of the tea room on the quality and quantity of their cakes – we shall go there again!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 3 March 2012 Wigtown – Bladnoch circular

3 March 2012 Wigtown – Bladnoch circular  Report by Cath Birkett

(All captions welcome)

The promise of wet and misty weather did not put 16 ramblers (Cath, Frances, Richard, Andrea, Jim, Ken, Sue, Margaret, Audrey, Linda, Peter, John, Mary (from Cairnryan), Charlotte, Pam (WW’s niece) and a potential new member, Alex, who came with Pete) off their Saturday walk, and their constancy was rewarded with a fairly warm and sunny day.  We were joined for a short while by Mary Sloan who stayed with us until we reached the Old Station House. The weather was much better than that forecast and I soon regretted donning my waterproof trousers except that they did, at least, save my trousers from getting more mud added to that caked on them last Tuesday.  My jacket was removed for a while until we stopped for lunch when it was a bit exposed to the wind which stayed with us until we got back to the cars.
A circular walk around Wigtown began at the County buildings and proceeded down Bank Street, out through the portals of the old east gate, to the churchyard where many viewed the pre reformation church which was used until the mid-1800s. The inscriptions on the graves of the martyrs, Margaret Lachlane and Margaret Wilson, caused great interest.  They endured a watery death at the stake in 1685, for adhering to their Covenanting faith and refusing to swear allegiance to the king.
Interest on the opposite side of the road was found in a stone carved with a cross in the garden of ‘Croft-an-Righ’. This is thought to be the site of a Dominican monastery, founded in 1247 by the mother of John Baliol, Devorgilla. The only lingering memory of this now is in the names of the surrounding area - Friarland, Monk Hill, and Friar’s well.
Passing to the end of the lane, the walkers took the path by the former harbour, where a stone memorial was erected in 1936 to mark the spot where the martyrs died. This area is no longer subject to regular tides; the river has altered its course and the harbour is now situated further south. The route for the walk went along by the old railway line and past the site of Wigtown castle where eyes were strained to see the remains, in the lumps and bumps of the marsh grass.
Leaving the old railway track by the former station house, it was interesting to see a thermometer above the door; the warm day surely was not one degree above freezing!
A newly flooded piece of wetland provided good bird watching with swans, coots, moorhens and mallards in evidence and a great flock of geese which took to the air as the walkers passed. The path skirted the reeds and arrived at the river Bladnoch , where the high level walk along the bank allowed a good view of the flotsam left by recent tides, a pair of dummy legs seeming to have got stuck in the act of climbing over a fence.
The old Bladnoch railway bridge caused an obstacle in the river walk, but all negotiated it with alacrity, and the distillery was approached with many wishful thoughts of a dram. Although the building was closed, a fortuitous meeting with the owner, well known for his Irish hospitality, provided a warming taste of twenty year old amber liquid. We were especially pleased to see Cath’s two contributions to the ‘Aspects of Wigtownshire’ tapestry displayed in the visitor centre – the tapestry is absolutely wonderful.
The company now jollied along a narrow path between the river and the leat which provides water for the distillery. This leat allows sweet water, from above the tidal limit and therefore uncontaminated by the briny sea, to be brought about a mile and a half to the works. It was dug in 1830 by the same navvies who were also paving the streets of Wigtown.
Half way down the leat the ramblers crossed a narrow walkway and Cotland woods were entered. The promises of bluebells were much in evidence, but willow catkins were the only flowers seen here today. Not far from gate where the woods were left, some fallen trees provided a good seat for lunch, with a view back to the distillery and the surrounding countryside, pretty and green in the weak sunshine.     We would have been far too early getting there if we had not had the detour and distraction at the distillery!  

Onwards and upwards the refreshed company strode, with ever expanding views over the water to the hills beyond.  A few days earlier this had been the route for the Junior Cross Country Championships for Dumfries and Galloway, and the way was still just as muddy as the runners had experienced, sometimes with mire oozing right over boots.
Not long afterwards, we came to a gate through which Cath was headed.  I told her that we had gone uphill here and she turned back, taking us the way I had said, then retracing her steps to go where she had been headed as I was wrong! Sorry Cath. 
Sheep and lambs were a distraction as fields were crossed, past Cotland Loch and over the brow of House Hill until at last the Kirkcowan road was reached, crossed, and a newly cleared lane taken, still deep with mud, skirting Kirvennie Hill and linking with Broadfield farm track over more muddy fields. By Hollybush house, Common Moss Lane was entered, a grassy track which soon brushed some of the mud from the boots.
After we had gone over the prow of the hill and headed for an ‘obvious’ gateway I suggested that we had headed to the right, sure that this time I had got it right, but I was wrong again!  There was no other gateway and we ended up at a dyke and a barbed wire fence!  We headed upwards again and went in a totally different direction from the one I had insisted was where we were to go.  I did not recognise the scenery around us, probably because we had not gone that way as this was a longer route!!  Cath was brilliant, as usual, in guiding us to the gateway which brought us out onto the Kirkcowan road along which we walked for a short way before turning off into the field and then the old lane, passing by the remains of an unfortunate sheep who had met his demise some time ago by the look of it!  Richard’s comment was ‘That’s what happens when Rambler’s can’t keep up’ – brilliant! 
The streets of Wigtown were found again via Lovers Walk and Kirkland road.  Wigtown Motor Company was the final place of interest to be passed, with its huge pile of spare car parts. This firm was originally begun as Wigtown Engineering Company, by Ronald McCutcheon, known locally as the ‘King of Speed’.  From 1946 onwards he won races on his motor cycle, including the Isle of Man TT races, he developed the ‘Buckler Special’ racing car, and also competed in power boat racing, winning the Daily Express Cup.
It was a relief to get back to the cars and removing our disgustingly muddy gaiters and boots.  Did you get your shirt muddy too Jim?!
Once back at the county buildings and boots changed, a warm welcome was given to the ramblers at Bay house where the company repaired for tea.  I had phoned ahead to the Bayview Bistro to let them know that 16 of us would be there about 2 – 2.30pm and hoped that they would have enough scones for those of us who wanted them.  The service was good (the waitresses brought a plate of sandwiches for us which, they said, would only have been thrown away otherwise – they were soon demolished by some), the natter and laughter flowed and we all seemed to enjoy yet another perfect end to a good walk!  Better than that, Andrea offered to make scones for us for after the walk in a fortnight’s time when it is unlikely that we would finish it in time for anywhere to be open for us as it will possibly be a long one (dependent on the weather).