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Bennan via the Covenanter monuments

Bennan via the Covenanter monuments

Postby wjshaw2 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:36 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bennan

Date walked: 21/11/2014

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 7.67 km

Ascent: 279m

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We parked at the entrance to the track into Craigadam Woodlands, near where the 1:25000 map says Bloodmire Moss, surely a reference to the killing of the Covenanters buried just a little way into the woods. They have a monument and a burial site. These unprepossessing hills harboured real hatred at one time, a real disregard for life, and also real convictions that there was something worth living and dying for. The mucky woodland setting hardly does this justice, but perhaps it also shows the very ordinariness of such conviction.

Bads Knowe monument

Finger to heaven.jpg
Finger pointing heavenwards

Grave poem.jpg
Poem on the grave. I think the Duke de Alva's men refers to a Catholic army oppressing Dutch protestants and they obviously had no time for the Turks either...

From the grave we headed roughly along the ride marked on the 1:25000 map towards Craigelwhan. It wasn't really there on the ground, but there was plenty of mud and windblown and felling to get in the way. It may well have been a better idea to go back to the road and up from there instead.

Is this a good idea.jpg
Is this a good idea?

It just looks like mud to us, but to these guys, it's home.jpg
It just looks like mud to us, but to these guys it's home

A few diversions.jpg
A few diversions

But there's light at the end of the tunnel.jpg
But there's light at the end of the tunnel

But whilst it was slow progress choosing our way around the various obstacles we made it out to the edge of the forestry and eventually found a way to escape onto the open moors.

The gateless double fence-wall combo.jpg
Over the gateless barbed wire fence/wobbly wall combination

From here on it was tussocks and grouse. The tussocks occasionally tend towards the deep, dead-grass covered ones characteristic of the higher Galloway Hills that make for quite hard going. The bog on Lochenkit Bennan was a good one with signs of being used for peat cutting in the distant past. But it's a straighforward wet and bumpy few kms over Craigwelwhan towards Bennan. There's no gate in the wall at the edge of the forestry near Bennan summit, but there was an interesting stream that seemed to run directly beneath the wall, making a noise but never appearing. The streams on the map near the woods are marked strangely - they seem to run uphill at a few points...

Nearing Craigelwhan top looking towards Bennan.jpg
Nearing Craigelwhan top looking towards Bennan

Across the tussocks and a new pipeline-cable.jpg
Across the tussocks and a new pipeline/cable route

Enormous slug with foamy tail.jpg
Enormous slug with foamy tail

The monument topping Bennan is pretty big and has a pretty tall tale associated with it. It commemorates a traveller who made horn cutlery and who predicted his own death. For a good telling of it and a transcription of what it says on the monument see here:


Sheltering behind the John Turner monument.jpg
Sheltering behind the John Turner monument

We don't do graffitti like this any more.jpg
We don't do graffiti like this anymore

We came down the hill to the south and then south west, heading for the track that runs along the wall. There is actually a wee path that runs from 823765 towards this track, but beware - it has at least two snares on it set at dog level. Is this legal?

Mind your feet.jpg
Mind your feet

Bye bye Bennan.jpg
Bennan disappearing into the gloom

We didn't hang around long on the way down as we'd had our usual late start, but managed to get back to the car just before torches became necessary. I'm sure the views across Dumfriesshire and Galloway would be good from here on better days.
Last edited by wjshaw2 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mountain Walker
Posts: 114
Munros:100   Corbetts:62
Grahams:57   Donalds:75
Sub 2000:160   Hewitts:25
Joined: Feb 16, 2013
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Bennan via the Covenanter monuments

Postby kev_russ » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:05 pm

Nice wee report. Never knew about the monument. Like a wee bit o scottish history. Cheers :)
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Posts: 391
Munros:173   Corbetts:59
Grahams:26   Donalds:33
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:7
Joined: Mar 17, 2009
Location: Edinburgh

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