Saturday, 5 May 2012

Scoops Reports 2012 - 5 May West Ardwell Figure of Eight Walk

5 May West Ardwell Figure of Eight Walk  Report by Richard Kay

The group took a more leisurely walk this week.  Nineteen ramblers met at West High Ardwell Farm in bright sunshine though with a keen easterly wind keeping the temperature down.
Jim and I got to Isobel’s cottage 2 minutes late to find lots of cars and no people!  Then Elaine turned up.  As she is the deputy leader I thought we would now be OK and then we saw all the walkers coming from High Ardwell Farm, Isobel leading Mike, Audrey, Tom, Audrey, Margaret, Mary x 2, Richard, Andrea, Peter, Irene, Duncan, Susan, Jim and Marilyn.
They set off southwards over a rough track past the now empty East High Ardwell farm which featured in the television series “Two Thousand Acres of Sky” when a burnt out building was required. Several brown hares were seen cavorting through the fresh grass in the adjacent fields.  This proved to be a theme of the day as numerous hares were seen throughout the walk.  At the end of the track they took the edge of a field of young barley to the Drumbreddan Road.  On reaching the road they turned westwards round the farm steading, past a line of derelict farm cottages and then descended towards Drumbreddan Bay.
The sea sparkled with shades of blue in the sunshine but the view was spoiled by the masses of rubbish washed in by the tide and spread into the base of the cliffs by the winter winds.
We continued southwards around Drumbreddan Bay and I stopped to take photos of the rocks, in out of the sea and of its clear green water, thankfully with little of the litter seen elsewhere.  I caught up with the others as they were negotiating a barbed wire fence and a tiny burn near Parker’s Point.
The group turned south again and followed the coast over rocks and through whin bushes until they reached Port Gill.  A fishing station consisting of a caravan and an old railway wagon stood on the seashore. It is amazing how these old wagons are spread around the district, so far from the railways.
The ramblers then climbed the track past Port Gill farmyard with its flocks of hens, ducks and geese which regarded the group with baleful eyes.  The group then turned northwards along the line of an old grassy track through the fields.
We turned on to the track which ran from Port Gill to Drumbreddan, once a decent one but now much deteriorated with the help of cattle and we reached the derelict cottages and farm buildings and climbed over another farm gate.  Jim and Marilyn left us there and continued on the track which would take them back to Isobel’s cottage and the rest of us turned off to the left to once again descend towards the Bay.
On reaching Drumbreddan they turned down to the beach again and then followed the coast northwards round Grennan Hill.
After making our way gingerly down the steep hill and across boggy ground, avoiding the litter strewn puddles we got to the northern side of Drumbreddan Bay.
Lunch was taken among the rocks and grassy patches bathed in sunshine with views over the sea to the Irish coast.  The entrance to Belfast Loch was clearly visible and the Mountains of Mourne provided a jagged outline above the horizon to the south.  Yellow primroses and blue Spring Squill speckled the grassy areas. Patches of pink thrift were just bursting into flower among the rocks. Marsh Marigolds and violets completed the colourful scene.
With some reluctance the group then continued northwards above the rocky coast.  Several fishermen were seen trying their luck at the edge of the rocks but, apparently, they were having little success with only a few Pollock being caught.
A little further up the coast they came to the ruins of Doon Castle, a broch perched on the rocks above the sea and reached by a narrow ridge from the path.
Brochs are more usually associated with the Northern and Western Isles and it is thought that the Galloway Brochs may be copies of those further north with the design brought south by sea traders. This castle was constructed between 100BC and 200AD and had two entrances and two internal rooms, somewhat different from the northern brochs.
Shortly afterwards the group reached the pale sands of Ardwell Bay.  The car park was busy and one brave group was picnicking on the sand.  The ramblers crossed the beach and then climbed the road past the amusing wooden sculptures outside a roadside cottage and soon reached West High Ardwell again. The day was concluded with excellent tea and cakes provided by the walk leader; a service well beyond the call of duty and greatly appreciated.
Isobel treated us to an amazing array of wonderful cakes and our cups were constantly replenished with tea and coffee. I had enjoyed the walk today even more than I had anticipated and look forward to doing it again in a future programme – with or without Isobel’s generous refreshments! 

1 comment:

The Glebe Blog said...

Another lovely walk I missed.