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Rig of the Jarkness

Rig of the Jarkness


Postby nxmjm » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:36 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Craiglee (Galloway)

Date walked: 06/10/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 642m

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9.1 miles 5h 55m ascent 642m

Image

Loch Trool-Gairland Glen-Rig of the Jarkness-Craiglee-Glenhead

Best done during a hose-pipe ban. I started with a stroll up to Bruce’s Stone overlooking the loch. From there I could see the white water of the Gairland Burn which worried me since my route would entail its crossing but the weather looked great with sunshine and some wisps of morning mist, and autumn’s colours filled the glen.

Image
Gairland burn in the distance

My first section would take me up the side of Buchan hill to the Gairland Burn and when I set off it was with the enthusiasm of the seven dwarves singing on their way to work (hi ho, hi ho, etc). Once I left the road however, the mud required all my attention, silencing my inner voice. This section hadn’t been this muddy the last time I was here, and the higher sections even then had been a quagmire. What lay ahead?

Anyway, I picked my way along the muddy track congratulating myself on the decision to wear gaiters when one muddy section proved surprisingly deep, my leg sinking to well above boot top. Beware here, there is a temptation to step to the side of the boggy path, but the whole section is terraced, though hidden below undergrowth, so it is easy to take a tumble. Perhaps I should have unstrapped the trekking pole, but that would have impeded my sudden arm waving when trying to maintain balance.

The plan was to cross the Gairland Burn at the section marked “ford” on the OS map, but I can only presume the ford has been washed away. The burn was not in spate, however, but neither was it in drought. There is a section where the burn splits forming a small island but the water either side was rather intimidating so I chose a spot immediately downstream of the island where there is a large boulder midstream.

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Gairland Burn crossing

The rocks were wet and slippery and crossing did require the use of some submerged rocks, but at least that washed the mud off my boots. I had hoped for best but planned for the worst, putting all my possessions into waterproof bags before the crossing, but made it across in one piece. Amongst the things I packed away was my watch, which was to have an effect later in the walk.

Once across the burn there was a flat area of boggy tussock grass which looked as though it should be easy walking but wasn’t, and then the climb up to the Rig of the Jarkness, which in places required the use of hands. I hesitate to call it scrambling when it is on vegetation.

Once up on the Rig the views were fantastic. I slowed to a snail’s pace looking around at the Dungeon Hills, Merrick and Curleywee. The terrain here is granite blocks embedded in boggy grass with numerous scattered erratics. Looking southwards, in the direction of the sun, the ground sparkled with reflected sunlight, as if someone had sprinkled glitter over the entire hill. I found myself just stopping to take in the view and listening to the silence. In fact it wasn’t silent. Just at the limits of hearing I could hear a waterfall. Wonderful.

Image
Merrick from the Rig of the Jarkness

I had read that ten lochs can be seen on this walk so I was keeping a count. The most I could see at any one time was six, but throughout the walk, ten it was (Lochs Trool, Dee, Clatteringshaws, Long Loch of Glenhead, Round Loch of Glenhead, Dow, Narroch, Valley, Neldricken and Enoch).

Wandering along the Rig of the Jarkness I would sometimes come upon a track but none that persisted. The ridge undulated and required some care in picking a route around water and over rocky knolls. The Clints of the Buss are a shoulder of Craiglee and mark a change from the relatively flat Jarkness to a rocky climb with a significant worsening in the bogginess. This is particularly bad around the Dow Loch and the small lochans nearby. Some of this mud is deeply churned and had deep round prints reminiscent of the mud near farm gates and much to my surprise I spotted four cows grazing at about 500m.

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Dow Loch

Once at the Dow Loch I was beginning to feel a little weak and decided to stop early for lunch. The original lunch spot was to be Craiglee’s summit, still over a kilometre away. As I was getting the sandwich out however, the rain started so I took out my jacket instead and carried on in the hope that the rain would soon stop.

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Craiglee and the Glenhead Lochs

The final half mile to the summit involved crossing several rocky ridges. These were a little like false summits except having reached the top of one of these ridges I had to climb down before climbing the next, and all this on an empty tank.

At the summit I dug out my watch and realised I had been walking for 3h 45m without a break other than my pauses on the rig. No wonder I felt washed out. Lunch certainly revived me. Craiglee’s trig point sits on a pile of boulders and has excellent views. I could even see the Silver Flowe glittering, living up to its name.

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Coffee on Craiglee

From the summit I intended to head directly down to where the SUW crosses Dargall Lane near the Giant’s Axehead. I took a bearing and found that I could use the the burn coming off Curleywee as my target.

Unfortunately I could not find a safe way off Craiglee in that direction and had to backtrack a good 250m to avoid the bluffs. The rest of the descent was mostly boggy tussock and hidden watercourses. I came across several deep holes with water cascading down them and even more areas where I could hear them but not see them. I presume one of these might be the Buck’s hole marked on the map. I would worry about this route in poor visibility. It was certainly a relief to reach the firm track of the SUW.

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Giant’s Axe Head and Loch Dee

Despite weary legs I detoured to the Seven Stanes’ Axehead and used it as an excuse for a quick break. from there I just followed the SUW back to Glenhead (downhill) then the road back to the car (uphill).

The Rig of the Jarkness is a beautiful place, a secluded wilderness with wonderful views. The routes to it are not difficult but do exact a price in effort, but that probably contributed to the effect of the rig.

PS I’m annoyed that I can’t find a convincing meaning for the Rig of the Jarkness. It is suggested to mean the ridge of the turbulent waterfall, but the absence of a turbulent waterfall is a little odd if that were true. The best I have come across is [rig (angl.), "ridge, back"+dearg (gael.), (a specific shade of)"red"+ness, (norse/danish) "nose,promontory"].


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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby foggieclimber » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:53 pm

Nice to see a report of Craiglee via the Rig of the Jarkness. Really good pics.

I walked that same track from Glen Trool a couple of weeks back while doing a circuit of Benyellary, Merrick, Mullwharchar, Dungeon Hill and Craignaw. It was seriously muddy then too.

I also passed that large stone with the runes on it the following day while doing Lamachan Hill, Larg Hill and Curleywee. Didn't realise it was meant to be an axe-head.
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby nxmjm » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:13 pm

The Runes are supposed to be an ancient Irish Poem by Amergin, called The Mystery. It translates as

I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am a beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am a wild boar in valor,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance of battle,
I am the God who created in the head the fire.
Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun?
(If not I)
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nxmjm
 
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby foggieclimber » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:20 pm

nxmjm wrote:The Runes are supposed to be an ancient Irish Poem by Amergin, called The Mystery. It translates as

I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am a beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am a wild boar in valor,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance of battle,
I am the God who created in the head the fire.
Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where couches the sun?
(If not I)


Cheers :D
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:50 pm

nxmjm wrote:The Clints of the Buss are a shoulder of Craiglee and mark a change from the relatively flat Jarkness to a rocky climb with a significant worsening in the bogginess.

Great wee report with lovely photos :clap: . It's a nice area, this.
Truly, it's the Land of Strange Names, though - the "Clints of the Buss" sound like something that might feature on "Embarrassing Bodies" :lol: ...
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby mrssanta » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:42 pm

Rig of the Jarkness sounds like Narnia to me. fantastic.
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:26 am

mrssanta wrote:Rig of the Jarkness sounds like Narnia to me. fantastic.

Aye; "Jarkness" is sort of half-"darkness", half-"Jabberwock": very sinister :shock: .
The Gallloway hills really are full of great, strange names...
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Re: Rig of the Jarkness

Postby Graeme D » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:23 am

mrssanta wrote:Rig of the Jarkness sounds like Narnia to me. fantastic.


Or an episode of Doctor Who! :shock:

nxmjm, you're doing a good job of marketing the south-west as a walking destination! Keep it up! :clap:
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