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Taking it easy in Galloway

Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:31 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Merrick, Shalloch on Minnoch

Grahams included on this walk: Lamachan Hill

Donalds included on this walk: Curleywee, Kirriereoch Hill, Lamachan Hill, Merrick, Shalloch on Minnoch, Tarfessock

Date walked: 05/10/2014

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 43 km

Ascent: 2708m

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Having had surgery to the back of my left hand on Tuesday I needed something with no "hands on" scrambling, somewhere not too far to drive to, in fact an easy weekend all round if I was going to get away into the hills. So why not choose Galloway - I could get the one Corbett remaining in the Borders area and some of these Donald hills too. Should be easy enough - well that was the plan anyway. Couldn't get away from work before 5 and set off for Glen Trool Campsite under heavy skies then rain. Never mind, I thought, the forecast told me it would stop by 6pm. Hmmm. Down through Girvan then the wee roads to Barrhill and beyond, managed to get the tent up before it was completely dark and before the heavens opened. Note - this campsite is really stony under the pitches, watch you don't damage your pegs. Otherwise it is really nice and welcoming. Rain thrummed down on the tent all night long.

ImageP1040020 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Pretty campsite pond
ImageP1040021 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Saturday morning and everything was wet. I was hoping we wouldn't have much in the way of river crossings today - ha! if only I'd known :lol: Off quite late, waiting for the chance to get a hot shower without getting a rain shower. Arrived at the Bell Memorial carpark and got set off at around 10.30, conditions showery and the view to the hills suggesting clag might be the order of the day higher up. Good track to begin, reached the derelict Shalloch on Minnoch farmstead with curious cut outs in the bricked-up windows which looked like they might be used for shooting - we saw numerous bullet cases on the track up to the buildings. Started up along the Shalloch burn which was quite fast flowing - luckily didn't have to cross at the metal girders which would have tried my skills with one arm in a sling. kept on along the Shalloch burn a little too long and had to cross it and cut through the dense plantation of pines to the Shiel Rig burn. The path was boggy, moving in and out of the treeline and it was some relief when we got into open ground at about 450m and started up the grassy back of Shalloch itself. There was lots of weather around - bright sun to the north, a rainbow to our left and a chill breeze blowing us up the hill. As we made it to the cairn, hailstones started pelting against our waterproofs, stinging like a swarm of hornets. Hid in the shelter by the cairn for lunch and sanctuary.

View from carpark
ImageP1040022 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040024 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We didn't cross here :wink:
ImageP1040025 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Following the Shalloch burn
ImageP1040026 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We did cross here
ImageP1040027 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Nice clear easy paths...
ImageP1040028 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eventually out of the treeline
ImageP1040030 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mixed weather
ImageP1040031 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to Tarfessock
ImageP1040033 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit, Shalloch on Minnoch
ImageP1040034 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After the hail I felt really cold, my injured hand in its poly bag to keep dry was seriously chilly and fortunately I managed to ease a Dachstein mitt over the bandage. Ahhh warmth :D We pressed on to Tarfessock enjoying the views to the lochs over to the east. Onwards to Kirriereoch Hill, which looked steep in its final approach but was easy enough even with only 1 working hand. Allison was struggling by this point, not feeling great. We looked over to the Merrick - which I'd done but she hadn't - and she was for giving it a bye and heading back to the car. Looking to the west I noted that the weather was about to improve and reckoned that we should just go for it - we could be there and back in an hour and I knew she'd thank me when it came to ticking her hills off on Sunday night. To her credit she didn't moan that much as we set off down to Red Glen, past Fang of the Merrick and toward Little Spear. We spotted an orange apparition - well it would be hard to miss this one - coming towards us. "Some nutter in shorts" I commented - who does it turn out to be but Mr Kiltedbiggles in person. Had a good blether - he was down with some other WH's and planned to be at our campsite later that night, having sampled the hospitality of Newton Stewart first. As it happened we didn't see them at the campsite, so I'm assuming the pull of Newton Stewart proved too strong. We bundled up Little Spear and onto the Merrick itself - still in clag but beginning to clear as we descended and headed back up to Kirriereoch, with blue skies and sunshine now the order of the day.

View back to Shalloch
ImageP1040036 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lochs to the East
ImageP1040037 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top, Tarfessock
ImageP1040039 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040040 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Tarfessock & Shalloch
ImageP1040042 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040043 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040045 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Leaving summit Kirriereoch
ImageP1040047 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to the Merrick
ImageP1040048 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Solway Firth
ImageP1040050 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Orange dot and Little Spear
ImageP1040051 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Imagine meeting this out on the hills!
ImageP1040052 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Enoch
ImageP1040055 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top, Merrick
ImageP1040056 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Protective arm bag :lol:
ImageP1040059 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Kirriereoch and descent route
ImageP1040060 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Little Spear/Merrick
ImageP1040061 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A pleasant walk down the back of Kirriereoch followed, keeping to the line of an old wall. We came to Cross Burn, which we had to cross, naturally - fortunately only knee height and with a line of fence wire to hold onto. Squelching on across more boggy terrain, it seemed we still had a fair way to go and it was now after 6pm. Glorious sunset and the rising of a waxing moon helped keep us from wearying and a good track underfoot made progress quicker. Even if it got dark we had headtorches and the moonlight would see us home anyway. That was until we came to the Water of Minnoch which we were going to have to cross. The map says "ford" and although there's evidence of the foundation of an old bridge on one side, there ain't no ford. I crossed the deep, swift flowing water, which came up to my groin. Allison was uneasy about following me and searched up and down the bank for an easier place. There wasn't one- anywhere the river was narrower the current was substantially stronger. I crossed over to half way and bullied her a bit to get on with it, which she finally did. Did leave me a little shaken however, as if crossing hadn't been possible we were stuck out in the wilds in what was going to be darkness very shortly, though I guess we could have headed north to the derelict farmstead and crossed over somewhere there. After the river we were onto proper road and it was a mere 3km back to the car park. Bats flitted round our heads in the twilight and it was some relief to get inside the Yeti, put on the heated seats and fire up the headlights to drive back down the 10 miles or so to the campsite. A warming curry was most welcome in the tent as we slowly dried out and warmed up. Not the easy day I'd been expecting!

ImageP1040064 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040066 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040067 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Cross burn
ImageP1040068 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to descent route
ImageP1040071 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Baby trees
ImageP1040073 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Evening sky
ImageP1040074 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040075 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our last obstacle - the Minnoch Water
ImageP1040076 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lowlying mist
ImageP1040077 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040078 by 23weasels, on Flickr

As for Sunday, I'd no real idea what we'd do. Planned to drive up to Bruce's Stone and do some hills near there - maybe a circuit from Curleywee to Larg Hill, or perhaps Milfore. We gathered up the tent and set off up into Glentrool park with an open mind. At the carpark I decided we'd make for Curleywee and see how it went. Weather looked changeable, but better than forecast (heavy rain promised all day) so we set off through pleasant oak woods down to Buchan Bridge and the cycleway past Glenhead, heading for Loch Dee. Rushing, cascading waterfalls plunged down the hillsides. Met a couple of guys from Stranraer, one of whom had climbed every hill in Galloway, and who were able to give some helpful suggestions about our route. Onto newly made track up into the Knowe of White Laggan then off the path and into tussocky grass to begin the climb up White Hill. Seemed to take ages to get any elevation - we both felt tired today. As we gained height the wind picked up in strength, flattening the grass stems and blowing little birds out of the sky. We could see the ridge taking in Curleywee, then onto Bennanbrack and Lamachan Hill. Looking back we could see the Merrick rising from dun coloured surrounds, finally shedding its cap of cloud.

Setting out
ImageP1040079 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040082 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040083 by 23weasels, on Flickr

White Hill
ImageP1040084 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Loch Dee
ImageP1040086 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up White Hill
ImageP1040088 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Curleywee to Bennanbrack
ImageP1040090 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040095 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View to the Merrick
ImageP1040096 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up the north side of Curleywee was easy enough and we looked over to the Solway Firth from the top. I'd decided tht we'd go on to Lamachan Hill but forgo Larg Hill to enable us to get home at a reasonable time. Coming down the other side of Curleywee we encountered Galloway's own version of the Great Stone Shoot :roll: Then onwards to Bennanbrack before the flat expanse leading to the top of Lamachan - this was more suitable terrain for me and my injured limb. Plodded to the top, then set about descending to the north, down over the Brishies to reach the track we'd ascended from. The last section of this was very steep and involved plunging through shoulder high ferns with little idea if one's feet were on solid ground underneath - not what I wanted in case I fell and burst my stitches. Managed to be careful enough to get back to the cycletrack without mishap and trotted back to the car before the heavens opened once again. So much for an easy weekend, thinks me on return from a rather more exciting time than envisaged.

Summit Curleywee - Solway Firth
ImageP1040097 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking to Bennanbrack & Lamachan Hill
ImageP1040098 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Scree run off Curleywee
ImageP1040100 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Lamachan
ImageP1040105 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Another view to the Merrick
ImageP1040107 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descent route
ImageP1040108 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040109 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Steep descent through ferns
ImageP1040111 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Bruce's Stone
ImageP1040112 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040114 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1040115 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:46 pm

I can't believe you did all that with a gammy hand. I hope it and you are none the worse! It just goes to show that the wee hills are tougher in many ways due to lack of paths and their wildness. Great photos.
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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby kiltedbiggles » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:34 am

Some of the characters you meet out on the hills, eh?? :clap: :clap: Made my day meeting you guys!! See you at the meet!!
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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby kaiserstein » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:35 am

I was one of the other WHers on those hills on Saturday. May have seen you in the distance (I was in a red jacket). We must have crossed paths at some point in the mist as I met that orange apparition as I headed up the Merrick.

The walk into Shalloch is an adventure. I crossed over the railway sleepers but it wasn't exactly a graceful crossing- sort of a crab-like shuffle using both hands.
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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby dooterbang » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:01 pm

Some serious river crossing there...and with only one arm!!

No stopping you eh :wink:
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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby Sick Kid » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:07 pm

I was one of the other WHers on those hills on Saturday. May have seen you in the distance (I was in a red jacket). We must have crossed paths at some point in the mist as I met that orange apparition as I headed up the Merrick.

I saw a red coat in the distance before being blinded by the orange glow! :lol:
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Re: Taking it easy in Galloway

Postby rockhopper » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:37 pm

a profitable weekend for the two of you :thumbup: have also been looking at the hills down this way, possibles for shorter winter days - cheers :)
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