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The Rhinns of Kells

PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:31 pm
by nxmjm
A retrospective from 2010

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The forest tracks in this estate all have road names and as usual many are not shown on the OS map. There is a map at the car park with the named roads on but I had not paid quite enough attention to it.

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Burnhead, Meikle Millyea just visible

Starting at Forrest Lodge car park I set off along Prof Hans Heiberg Road through pine forest past Burnhead farmhouse in tee shirt weather. This is a gentle rise and perfect to warm up the legs. When I was becoming concerned that I might have missed my turn I noticed the observation post which is close to where I was to leave the path to find my way up the hill.

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Lochans on Meikle Lump with Millfire and Corserine beyond

Meikle Millyea has a staging post called Meikle Lump so there is a climb interrupted by a relatively flat part. This was the main climb but not too bad, with only a few stops to take in the vista or snap some pics while getting my breath. The views were excellent due to the clear weather and height gained. I had heard there were lots of feral goats up here but didn’t see any. The ground here was more dry than boggy for once, perhaps the goats were thirsty and had gone elsewhere. It took 1h 50m from the car park to the top of Meikle Millyea (which has a trick trig point which is not at the summit). Once on the ridge a tee-shirt was not enough (I’m no geordie).

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Lochans of Auchniebut

From Millyea I followed the ridge north down to the Lochans of Auchniebut (what a name) and over Milldown and Millfire before climbing up to Corserine. I took banana and coffee on Millfire. Hardly a traditional Scottish repast, but haggis are not shot on the sabbath (I’m told).

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The Awful Hand, Dungeon Hills and Silver Flowe from Meikle Millyea

The views were great and I spent some time with the map identifying the hills in each group. Cairnsmore of Carsphairn was visible to the east. To the south-west the hills around Loch Dee, and west the Dungeon Hills, with the Nick of the Dungeon, were bathed in sunlight. The hills of the Awful Hand came in and out of shadows, their silhouette changing as I moved further north. This was the first time I had seen the Silver Flowe and I was a little disappointed that it was not glimmering in the sunlight, but I suppose if it was wet enough for that I would not have been able to see it.

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Loch Dee with Curlywee, from Milldown

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Loch Dee with Curlywee, from Milldown

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Craignaw and Dungeon hills, the Silver Flowe with the awful hand behind, from Milldown

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Silver Flowe, Dungeon Hills, and Awful Hand, from Millfire

The last few metres up Corserine seemed quite hard though the ground was firm and the contours not too close. I presume this was a combination of tiredness, walking into the wind and that optical illusion of multiple false summits. It had taken an hour and a half to walk from Millyea to Corserine (including my break on Milldown). Once on Corserine, Ayrshire came into view with some large hills to the far north, presumably those north of the Clyde. Much closer, about a mile away, was Carlin’s Cairn and I was tempted to carry on and visit it, but being unsure how long it would take to get back to the car I stuck with the planned route. For once I got a picture of myself on the hill thanks to another walker.

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Corserine summit

Heading off east along the ridge of the Polmaddy gairy I looked for signs of a path down. There was a path heading north east then more north but none to lead me east down the slope. I knew that if I followed the Folk Burn down it take me close to the stile and forest path, but I had walked further than I thought and the burn I found was that beyond the one I needed.

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Rock skull on Polmaddy Gairy

I could actually hear running water which was much louder than the burn I was near should have been but I thought it was a trick of the weather or rock formation. Presumably I could hear the Folk burn or one of its linns. As I made my way down I could not find any form of path. I was not alone in this. I saw another pair of walkers climb onto a rock outcrop to look for a way. There was an unusual rock formation looking like a skull which you can see.

Having reached the tree line I found the expected stile, but it was not the stile I should have used. I didn’t know this until perusing the map later. As it was I set off along a fire break which I thought was a path. This gave me time to contemplate the triad of curses placed upon SW Scotland: midges (not present today); boggy ground (in abundance in this fire break); and tussocks (damn them, damn them to hell). I mused on why, in the descriptions I read about this route, none mentioned this horrible section. There did seem to be a route through the tussocks but it wasn’t wide enough for a two legged being and led me regularly into the middle of marsh hidden like tiger traps beneath a thin layer of dead grass.

Then ahead I saw a rise in the ground and hoped it was the expected path (large enough to be on the OS). But no, it was a burn. But not just any burn, one at the bottom of a dip that was deeper than I am tall. So why didn’t they mention this? If it had been raining hard it would have been impassable. I walked along it until I found a tributary and climbed down into that before crossing and climbing up the other side. Had I had more time to contemplate these natural features and their absence from descriptions perhaps my ire would have been incarnated to roam the world destroying the authors of route descriptions. But, luckily, the road was just a few metres away. This was the correct road, albeit in the wrong place, so initially the roads crossing it didn’t fit with the map (because I wasn’t where I thought I was) but eventually it all fell into place.

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Folk burn

The walk back from there was on good paths and the red marker signs showed me I was on the correct route. 30 minutes later I was back at the car, having past Fore Bush house with its carved tables and chairs.

Near the car park is a figurehead from the ship Black Watch which was sunk in a fjord in WW2. The final strange sight was a building with a turfed roof on the way back to the main road.

Overall a good walk. Certainly one I would do again providing the weather was clear. Now just one D&G Corbett to do, Shalloch on Minnoch.

A great walk in good weather. 11 miles, 862m ascent, 5h 30m.


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Re: The Rhinns of Kells

PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 5:04 pm
by litljortindan
Lived at Dukieston once upon a time so must visit these hills at some point.