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Rhinns of Kells

Rhinns of Kells

Postby lenster » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 am

Route description: Corserine and the Rhinns of Kells, Forrest Lodge

Corbetts included on this walk: Corserine

Donalds included on this walk: Corserine, Meikle Millyea, Milldown

Date walked: 30/10/2011

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 15 km

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The night before this route I enjoyed some amazing star gazing in the 'dark skies' of Galloway Forest Park. Would the clear skies at night lead to a delightful day following the Rhinns of Kells?. I awoke to a beautifully haunting ground mist pierced by sunrise. It started to clear on approach to the Forest Estate and the half expected ground frost failed to show. I arrived just after 9am. It looked like it was going to be a lovely day.

My plan was to tackle the ridge from Meikle Millyea across to Corserine. The initial walking follows gravel roads within the estate. The roads all have people names with a hint of Scandanavia about them. It's probably relations and friends of the owner of the estate. However, a grand chance to get your imagination working. My own daydream was about inventors and nobel prize winners. The Dr Frans Heiberg Road was all the more interesting for a few minutes as I dreamt of him in a lab coat making steps towards the cure for polio. I have no idea who he actually is but It wasn't a bad mind distraction. The route; until you can see the ridge for the first time, hasn't much in of itself to remember.

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Dr Frans Heiberg Road

However, seeing Meikle Millyea about 30 minutes in did start to get me excited. It looked a rugged enough adventure. Was there even some scrambling potential that I hadn't read about? A corner later there was a viewing platform. Tempted to scale its ladder I thought of Kerouc writing 'on the road' from a fire tower. I never did rate the book so decided to just keep on with my own road for the day.

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On the Road to Meikle Lump

Getting up onto the ridge is not too bad. There's a wooden stake that marks a short path to a stile. From there it's 20 of those one leg in front of the other minutes. Some reports suggest a bit of a squiggle left to the Rig of Clenrie to avoid the steepest of this rise. If you don't mind grabbing onto a grassy bank or two it's not too slippy going straight at Meikle Lump. You rise quite quickly and the views start to emerge. It looked great. I could now see a line of viewing towers heading towards the horizon.

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A stake marks the way through the forest to the ridge

From here the ascent to Meikle Millyea involves finding the stane dyke and following it. In my case that was into cloud. I was quite surprised. It had been so clear. Of course with cloud coming in any rise in height was also met with a rise in wind. By the time I reached the trig I was being buffeted about like a ping pong ball in a tumble dryer. I was delighted. Really. My new primaloft hadn't been tested properly yet even with a trip or two to the shops in the wilds of Glasgow.

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the stane dyke to Meikle Millyea

With the jacket on I was toasting nicely as I made my way towards the Lochans of Auchniebut. What a lovely part of the walk. There's something soulful about water in the hills enveloped in cloud. I wandered on towards Milldown and had my first sandwich of the day at the cairn for Millfire. I didn't stop too long. The wind wasn't as strong but it was still giving it a good puff.

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Lochans of Auchniebut

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Millfire - sandwich stop

As I started towards Corserine I met two gents going in the opposite direction. We remarked that we'd both wondered if we would see anyone else. Walking these Galloway hills really is a pleasure if you like people free rambling for the majority of time. As far as i could tell I was making good time. 30 minutes later having got my first view of the dome that is Corserine itself I stopped for a second sandwich having seemingly wandered into a wind free zone. At this point two guys who had come from the same direction appeared. It's always interesting that when you think you are plodding along at a fair old pace there's always someone else whose trot is your canter. Lovely guys they were. I followed them towards the summit trying to catch my breath as they chatted effortlessly all the way. It was a windy peak, so after we did a photograph exchange, we quite quickly said goodbyes and I left them as they headed onto Carlin's Cairn.

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Feeling toasty at Corserine summit

This is the only bit of the walk where I'd suggest any 'note to navigate'. There seems to be two more obvious routes down. One is to follow the buttress that goes to North Gairy Top and and look to head into the woods to the south of Loch Harrow. The other, following Polmaddy Gairy, was my option and was a straightforward descent to Folk Burn where I picked up a trail and then the forestry tracks back to the car park on the estate. For me, the decision to take this clockwise route was justified at this point. The final road was long, straight and featureless. I was now glad I'd done the the walk-in from the other side. As a descended it started to clear again. It took me about 5 hours 45 minutes to complete the loop. Once you are past the forestry tracks this is a wonderful walk. Highly recommended.

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Last edited by lenster on Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 37
Munros:152   Corbetts:12
Fionas:2   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:15   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:15   Islands:15
Joined: Feb 3, 2009

Re: Rhinns of Kells

Postby BoyVertiginous » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:26 am

Nice report, lenster. Been down to the dark skies of the Galloway Forest Park but haven't done this walk, noted for future reference.

My old man wrote a tune for the bagpipes called "Rhinns of Kells", must remember to ask him the story behind it.
User avatar
Posts: 1327
Munros:254   Corbetts:75
Fionas:28   Donalds:11
Sub 2000:49   Hewitts:34
Wainwrights:64   Islands:18
Joined: Jun 14, 2011
Location: california

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