Saturday, 6 April 2013

2013 - 6th April 2013 – Glen App Circular

6 April Glen App Circular  Report by Richard Kay
 Twenty-five ramblers met at the entrance to Dupin Farm, just off the A77 in the upper reaches of Glen App.  Thanks to the farmer they were able to park their cars each side of the track and away from the main road.  The sun shone brilliantly from a clear blue sky and the fierce easterly wind had moderated to a gentle breeze.  Although there were still remnants of snow scattered around the hills it seemed that spring might finally be arriving.
 I drove Cath and Thomas to Stranraer where we met other walkers, including Rachel and Catherine who came with us in my car to Dupin Farm, in Glenapp.  There were 25 of us in all, the others being Allan (who led the walk), Ken (back-up), John, Peter, Audrey, Irene, Duncan, Jimmy, Mary McC, Graham, Alison, a language teacher who walked with us once before, David Pride, Jim, Christine, Richard, Andrea, little Mary, Carl, Hilary and a new walker, Robin.  Allan gave a short description of the walk and we set off, in sunshine.

 The group set off past the farm and up the forest road which climbed the steep sides of the glen to reach the woodland.  They were relieved when the slope eventually levelled off and the road turned south-eastwards through the forest around Muillbane Hill.  A few geese took off over their heads, honking loudly and most of the walkers took a short diversion to view a duck pond which had been constructed in the forest.  A pair of Greylag Geese were practising sedate synchronised swimming on the peaty water unfazed by the appearance of the brightly clad ramblers.

 The ramblers returned to the road and followed it through the forest and out onto the open moorland below Drumdowns.  Sunshine through the trees brightened the forested section of the walk and we soon reached open moorland where remnants of snow still lay beside a fence.  I have no idea what Jim was trying write but I bet whatever it was has gone now!

  From here we had good, open views, especially across to the distinctive summit of Carlock Hill.

 The track then turned downhill above the Altimeg Burn and the walkers soon found themselves back on the valley floor.

 On reaching the Water of App they found that the footbridge marked on the maps was in a ruinous state.  Some paddled over the shallow ford but others found a new footbridge a little further down the river. 
 A good wide track brought us down to the Water of App where I could remember the bridge being in a state of disrepair.  It was beyond that this time and many of us forded the river without difficulty, only to find that others had discovered a newly built bridge close by – they would not have had as much fun using it as we had in burn-hopping though!

 Beyond the river they passed the pheasant rearing pens, empty at this time of year.  A little further on a pet Magpie was fluttering up and down a pen, its feathers shining blue, black and white in the bright sunshine.  The route then started to climb the northern side of the glen.  As they rounded the bend they had a view of Carlock House, the Scottish home of the Earl of Inchcape.  The house is sheltered by magnificent conifer woods but maintains fine views down the valley and across the hills to the south.

 The ramblers followed the road up to the A77 which they crossed carefully and took a further forest road which climbed through the forest on the slopes of Carlock Hill.  They walked along the road and came in view of a large dead tree which reminded them of the cacti in the Wild West.  This area was chosen as a lunch stop with its numerous tree stumps providing ideal seats.
 After a short walk beside the A77 we crossed the road and entered Aughtshillan Wood and followed the forest road until we reached an area which had been deforested, providing us with tree stumps upon which to sit and have our lunch while looking over to the other side of Glenapp to where we had just been walking, and beyond, to the snow speckled Altimeg Hill.

 After lunch they carried on along the track which followed the contour high above the main road.  The track became more and more overgrown and the ramblers had to weave among the fallen and regrown trees.  These hampered our progress but all the while the sun shone through, casting shadows across our path and providing a beautiful foreground for the views we could see below us, in Glenapp. Suddenly, there was no-way to go but down! 

 Eventually they reached a point where they had to descend to the river.  The route chosen was steeply down through some scrubby woodland and bracken.

 This was taken slowly and with a variety of techniques; some proceeding boldly straight down, others sitting down and sliding on the steepest sections.

 They were all delighted to find small primroses flowering shyly amongst the dead bracken.

 To me this was the most exciting part of today’s walk, sometimes keeping myself upright as I slithered from tree saplings to tree trunks and trying to avoid the occasional brambles, or deciding that the closer to the ground I got, the shorter the fall!  Apart from a few minor scratches, we all reached another forest track where we were rewarded with extra sweets for our efforts!

 Eventually they all reached another forest track which led them southwest above the river amongst regrowth of larch and sharp whins.

The route passed the cars, inaccessible on the other side of the river and continued down to the Bridge of Mark near Glenapp Church.

 They crossed the bridge and the main road and entered the churchyard where they viewed the impressive memorials to James McKay, 1st Earl of Inchcape and his family.

 The track brought us out onto open ground and we followed the Water of App to the Bridge of Mark before crossing the A77 and going to view Glenapp Church and its graveyard.  

  After stopping to view the numerous memorials and headstones of the McKay family, we took the track ahead of us, going northwards though attractive woodland, back to our cars. 

 Beyond the graveyard they followed a farm track, which ran parallel to the main road, back to the cars.
 After thanking the leader for creating a most interesting walk most of the ramblers proceeded to the Craigiemains garden centre at Ballantrae for tea and scones which they enjoyed sitting on the terrace in the sunshine.
 Allan, John and Peter took their leave of us and the rest of us went to Craigiemains Garden Centre in Ballantrae where we sat outside in the sunshine (bit windy though!) enjoying our refreshments before heading home.
 Next week’s walk, on Saturday 13th, will be a moderate five mile walk around the hills above Creetown.  New walkers are always welcome but please contact the walk leader before joining.  Meet at 09:00 at the Breastworks Car Park, Stranraer or at 09:30 at the Riverside Car Park, Newton Stewart to share transport.  The walk will start from Adamson Square, Creetown at 10:00 (Grid Ref: NX 475 589).  If going direct to the start or for any other queries please contact the walk leader on 01988 840268.


The Glebe Blog said...

Some lovely pictures here. That old boy with the short cropped hair looks an interesting character !

Louisette said...

Nice place for walk, greeting from Belgium