Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday 26 April 2024

Friday 26 April 2024 - Cairnsmore (Black Craig of Dee)

11 of us drove up to Clatteringshaws Loch visitors' centre and set off to the radio mast on Benniguinea Hill.

Here's the view to today's main objective, Cairnsmore (Black Craig of Dee). 531 metres. An apt subtitle would be 'Tussocks'.

After climbing through the tussocks, lunch on the summit was most welcome. 

The descent started with some convenient granite slabs.

It soon degenerated to deep tussocks, a test for all our knees. 

A short stroll along the quiet main road took us past the Clatteringshaws dam - a larger structure than appears at first sight.

Today's walk was 11km with 500 metres ascent, taking a shade over 4 hours. Here's our route:

Thursday 25 April 2024

Thursday 25 April 2024 - The Mull of Galloway

Eight of us enjoyed a 10km stroll around the Mull of Galloway, which claims to be the southernmost tip of Scotland, with views towards the Lake District as well as the Galloway hills with which we are becoming familiar. 

Pictured above are Jenny and David, near the start, on their way to a lovely section of coast. 

Elevenses were soon taken, then Sue, Tom and I went ahead.

Spring squill is abundant on this section of coast.

The lighthouse at the tip of the peninsular was quiet today, with the nearby café closed, as a cattle grid on the road was being replaced, thus closing the road at Mull of Galloway Farm, where we had parked.

The western side of the peninsular had dramatic cliffs, infested with a selection of seabirds.

We finished our walk just as some familiar looking cyclists flew past.

Sue and I then had time to visit Logan Botanic Garden. A lovely place. More pictures may follow.

Then it was back to base for birthday celebrations for Robin.

Before heading off to Cree Bridge Hotel for more birthday celebrations and a nice meal.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Wednesday 24 April 2024 - Craiglee

Today's 13km walk with Keith, Carol and Julie took us on a circuit from Bruce's Stone, over the 531 metre summit of Craiglee.

The view from Bruce's Stone (top picture) towards Loch Trool seems better than yesterday's, but the rest of the team at the stone is very similar.

After a short descent on a track, we headed off in a contouring fashion then beside Gairland Burn, towards a low col.

The wide ridge that we followed in an easterly direction is called 'Rig of the Jarkness'. A wonderful place with great views and not a few tussocks.

There were fine views across to Merrick, where at least 9 from our party paid their respects today.

A little further on, the ridge changes its name to 'Clints of the Buss', where green lizards were dodging my feet and Keith kindly posed as foreground for another picture of Merrick, behind Loch Valley.

Eventually our tussocky route took us to the 531 metre summit of Craiglee, below which we found a spot sheltered from the cool breeze, where we enjoyed our picnic lunches.

The descent back to Bruce's Stone was uneventful - a steep descent over more tussocks, then a gentle stroll on a forestry track, where we had our only encounter of the day with a lady hiker.

Near the end we took a path to a footbridge. It had been washed away, so that was a futile diversion, albeit through an area of pleasant birdsong, before a bridge over the Gairland Burn with a small waterfall.

Here's our route - 13.5km, 500 metres ascent, taking just short of 6 tussocky hours. A great little walk in fine company.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Tuesday 23 April 2024 - A Bike Ride from Penninghame

Today's 56km bike ride started from Penninghame, so Richard, Jenny, Tove and I enjoyed a leisurely start whilst many of the others set off earlier on a trip to Ailsa Craig.

We started along the road that took us as far as Bruce's Stone, which is said to mark the spot from which in 1307 Robert the Bruce watched his band of outlaws successfully ambush English soldiers on the other side of the loch, which is pictured above from the stone outcrop where (below) Jenny and Tove are sitting.

Beyond Bruce's Stone we left the tarmac for several hours. After a steep climb we gained views down to Loch Dee, above which a piece of modern sculpture is situated.

We lunched near a milepost above Loch Dee, in view of swans on the loch and cuckoos in the woods behind us.

After following Sustrans route 7 and the Southern Upland Way past Loch Dee to Craigencallie House, we turned right up a rough track that led eventually to Auchinleck. The track passed Murray's Monument and another recent sculpture.

The track to Auchinleck was a delight, with a final swooping descent that had my old mountain bike registering nearly 30 mph on the rough surface.

The light breeze helped us fly down the last few km of tarmac to Newton Stewart, where a convenient footbridge got us back on the A714 for the last 5km to Penninghame


This was an excellent 56km ride, taking less than 6 hours, during which we ascended over 850 metres.

Then a fine meal from Richard, involving sausages.

Monday 22 April 2024

Monday 22 April 2022 - St Ninian's cave, a coastal walk to Whithorn, and Cairnharrow


18 of us set off through lovely woods on Robin's excellent 10km coastal walk to celebrate his birthday, starting from St Ninian's cave. 

There were lots of flowers on view today - see below.

The route took us over Burrow Head, shortly before which everyone paused in memory of the Wicker Man (1973), which was filmed nearby.

Views extended to the Isle of Man and many other landmarks.

Lunch on Burrow Head, then, after more lovely coast, teas in the Isle of Whithorn café before nine of us headed up to Cairnharrow. This was a nice summit after a short, steep climb, with extensive views, in continuing fine weather. A 50 minute ascent.

Heading back down, we reached the cars at 6:10 and were back at base by 6:40, in time for a quick wash before enjoying a selection of risottos prepared by Heather and Roger. Delicious.

In the woods:
Bluebells, Lesser Celandine, Wild Garlic, Great tit, Blue tit, Chiffchaffs 

On the coast:
Spring squill, Meadow Saxifrage, Gorse with a strong smell of coconut, Stonecrop, Sea Campion, Red Campion, Common Dog Violet, Thrift, seals, nesting tufted ducks.

On Cairnharrow:
Primroses, wood anemone, wood sorrel.

Plus much more...

Sunday 21 April 2024

Sunday 21 April 2024 - Cairnsmore of Carsphaim

Here's Stewart House, our quirky abode for the week. The fire alarm woke anyone who might have thought of sleeping in, and the power surge that caused that also turned the heating off. And Richard's bed broke! All sorted by a maintenance man from Dumfries.

A 35 mile drive took us to the hamlet of Carsphairn. Then a path past the Green Well of Scotland saw us admiring the feats of Sand Martins in a sandy bank above the Water of Deugh.

For a while the weather was fine, though the Highland cattle seemed dubious.

Light rain started, and lasted for the rest of the day. After a couple of hours we reached the summit of Cairnsmore of Carsphaim, where my five companions, Sue, Phil, Jenny, Richard and Sue duly posed on the summit before donning waterproofs and tucking in to their lunches.

After that, plenty of 'down', eventually being released from the mist and our unexpected need for warm winter gear.

The birds were active on the descent - oyster catchers, wheatears, sand martins, and a variety of small tweeting treasures.

Sue, Phil and Jenny took a longer route back, leaving Sue, Richard and me to admire the sand martins again. 

Here's our route - 12km with 600 metres ascent, taking 4.5 hours.

Dinner involved a wrestling match with cooker and ingredients, eventually resulting in a just about acceptable beef and Guinness pie for the ten of us in Stewart House.