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Whinnds of Squellch

Whinnds of Squellch


Postby iangpark » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:06 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Corserine

Donalds included on this walk: Cairnsgarroch, Carlin's Cairn, Coran of Portmark, Corserine, Meaul, Meikle Millyea, Milldown

Date walked: 12/08/2017

Time taken: 26.5 hours

Distance: 37.5 km

Ascent: 1745m

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I decided on this walk as I wanted a big group of Donalds out the way before the onset of uni. stress kicks in and takes up the rest of my year. There was a good 2-day window of decent weather so this seemed like the perfect chance. I had spied the Rhinns of Kells from Cairnsmore of Carsphairn about 2 months ago and thought that Carsphairn was as good a start as any. Once again, my amazing girlfriend being my taxi service, she dropped me off just at the start of the CofC trail. (In hindsight, this may be the last time I visit Carsphairn - if it is, I'd like to thank it for it's picturesque service and excellently remote setting in-between the Rhinns and Afton Donalds).


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[My full galley from today is available at: http://ianparkphotography.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/rhinns-of-kells-august-12th-13th-2017.html ]

The sun was out and beaming down onto me as I walked along the trail to Garryhorn farm. The sight of Brockloch Tower always makes me laugh.

Along the path:
1 - Garryhorn Path.jpg


I spied the farmer and his son out painting the barn - these would be the last people I saw until 12pm the next day. The path to the picturesque disused mine buildings was a gentle incline. The views to Coran of Portmark, Bow and Cairnsgarroch opened up here too.

Old Mine Chimney:
2 - Old Mine Chimney.jpg


After jumping the dry stane dyke behind the buildings, I made my way to the fence and followed it up - the terrain was appalling and I would meet it once again on the way down to Loch Dungeon. I was already breaking out into a full sweat - the chinese we had last night coupled with the 5-hour sleep wasn't doing me any favours. I took a break at the W slope of Knockower before pressing on to the top of Coran of Portmark. This was easily the most difficult part of the day.

Raven on the CofP cairn:
3 - Crow on CoP Cairn.jpg


It was an hour and 40 minutes from the road to the top of CofP. The views along the ridge and over to the Dungeon Hills, Merrick Range, Arran and Ailsa Craig were excellent. In contrast, Bow was an absolute doddle - I occasionally forgot I was even going upwards.

Over to Bow, Meaul, Carlin's Cairn and Corserine:
4 - Over to Bow, Meaul, Carlin's Cairn and Corserine.jpg


Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and her many bumps:
5 - CofC and its Bumps.jpg


Cairnsgarroch from Bow slopes:
6 - Cairnsgarroch from Bow Slopes.jpg


Meaul was much further ahead than I thought, but I pressed on and was soon at the first of the 3 trigs I would meet on the day. I had a bite to eat and dumped my stuff at the trig to make my way over to Cairnsgarroch. I had sweated through my first two layers so was now having to wear a shirt, fleece and jacket to keep warm - as well as a hat!

Meaul trig:
7 - Meaul trig.jpg


The long and steep saddle leading to Cairnsgarroch:
8 - Steep Saddle over to Cairnsgaroch.jpg


The way down was painful on the feet but the ascent wasn't too bad - although there's no way I could have gone down and up then down and up the col with my backpack. The distant views over to Screel (D&G's equivalent of Suilven) and Bengairn (still the worst weather I have experienced on a hill) were hazy but defined.

Conspicuous horizon of Screel and Bengairn:
9 - Distant Screel and Bengairn.jpg


I finally made it back to the trig where I took another well-needed rest and then pressed on to Carlin's Cairn. It seemed even further away that Meaul did to Bow, but as the 8th highest hill in southern Scotland, I can't complain. The rain from previous nights had meant that all the paths had water flowing straight down them, so I was sticking to the edges of the paths. The terrain was worst on the way up Carlin's Cairn though.

Devil's-Bit Scabious:
10 - Common but unidentifiable flower.jpg


I took a small detour to the smaller cairn just before the real top. Only after arriving at the true summit did I realise how fitting the hill's name is. "Bloody hell!" was my initial reaction. The wind had become quite strong by now so I hid behind the cairn for a well-earned rest above 800m.

Carlin's Cairn's Cairn:
11 - Carlin's Cairn's Cairn.jpg


Lonely Corserine:
12 - Lonely Corserine.jpg


The bealach over to Corserine was gradual and had good terrain, but it was a much bigger drop than I had thought - the base of the col is hidden from every angle; even Cairnsgarroch. Corserine had one of the steepest ascents of the day but it didn't last any longer than 20 minutes. The wide plateau-like expanse of the summit is unlike any other hill I have visited - even compared to Donald standards!

Carlin's Cairn from Corserine:
13 - Carlin's Cairn from Corserine Trig.jpg


The bumpy ride over to Millfire and Milldown:
14 - Bumpy ride over to Millfire and Milldown.jpg


I am still in confusion as to whether the Rhinns encompasses the entire ridge or just the hills south of and including Corserine. The latter is deserving of it's own name regardless as the terrain completely changes as you reach the base of Millfire - crags and scree line their way for the rest of the ridge. This is unlike the Dungeon Hills and Merrick Range as they are either craggy or smooth respectively.

The ascent up to Millfire was steep and long, but other reports had made this quite clear. Certain parts were also quite boggy but nothing too bad - my hopes of keeping my feet dry throughout the trip had been dashed hours ago.
The summit was nothing special, but the view down to Loch Dungeon and the vast expanse that is the Forrest Estate was delightful. Milldown is similar to Millfire in both it's name and ascent. Neither were too much trouble.

Down to where I would be camping:
15 - Loch Dungeon.jpg


Millfire summit and Corserine from Milldown:
16 - Looking back to Corserine and Millfire cairn.jpg


Down to the Lochans of Auchniebut, the ground was intent on breaking my ankle. I fell a good few times due to the slippy crags and hidden dips. Once past the bogfest, I started the slow slog up to Meikle Millyea. The trig eventually came into view, but I knew it wasn't over as I had decided I would visit both tops, despite repeating to myself that I wouldn't bother earlier.

Meikle Millyea trig and cairn:
17 - Meikle Millyea trig and cairn.jpg


Finishing my last hill on the Rhinns for the day, I steeply descended down to Loch Dungeon. This is where I learned how bad tussocks can be. Thigh-high grass, hidden burns and water passages, slippy rocks, weak mossy hummocks and a calf-hating decline had me furious by the time I eventually reached the loch. It took a good 40 minutes to get down, although it had given me the time to spy out the best camping spots.

Where I decided on, out of the wind, and arms-length from fresh water:
18 - Campsite for the night.jpg


While on the way to the Point of Ringreoch searching for some bonfire wood, I came across a family of Ospreys - there was at least 3 of them, but I am guessing more. This was the first time I have seen them with my own eyes.

Osprey:
19 - One of many Ospreys above Loch Dungeon.jpg


I tried my hand at a bonfire but it didn't go very well so I retreated to the tent for my 2nd ever solo camp, almost 11 months to the date since my 1st. I had heard that the Perseid's were meant to peak on the night so I stayed up a bit late to try spot some. Unfortunately, tiredness got the better of me and I reluctantly tried to get some kip. I woke up at 11:30pm for the toilet and saw something catch my eye. I waited for only 45 seconds with my head tilted upwards before I saw another one. A very magical sight, considering I haven't seen a shooting star since I was about 10. I'd have loved to have got a photo, but I was just too tired and didn't have a tripod.

Sunset:
20 - Sunset.jpg


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next day dawned at 9:30am after a solid 5-hour sleep at best, and a night of constant tossing and turning. I was on the move half an hour later, back into the agonising depths of the tussocks along the shore. I made it to the forestry and followed what was essentially a burn straight up to the corner of the forestry. I was sweating so profusely that I had to remove my fleece; much to the delight of the cleggs who had formed a type of buzzing halo around my head, which lasted for the next hour. As I got to the top, however, and began walking down, I was suddenly greeted to a huge population of Scotch Argus butterflies; another 3 or 4 appearing every few paces. It was a warming feeling that soothed my increasing impatience.

Scotch Argus underside:
21 - Scotch Argus underside.jpg


I had planned to skirt the side of the forestry but realised that I was probably going to end up screaming at the top of my lungs if I was to stay in these tussocks any longer. I escaped into the forestry and curved a detour round the edges instead, the first time on a path since 11:30am the day before. I made my way through and down to the perpendicular Southern Upland Way, which took much longer to get to than expected.

Clenrie Farm on the SUW:
22 - Clenrie on the SUW.jpg


After that it was a long and painful but picturesque stroll back along the road to the SUW turnoff, which was to take me up Waterside Hill. As I left the road, I realised that the whole path was completely flooded and would require some careful manoeuvring involving clinging to barbed wire fences. A French troupe passed me 5 minutes after and I told the leader about the incoming wet-shoe extravaganza. He didn't seem too bothered. The ascent was very steep and I couldn't be bothered to visit the cairn as it was a while off the track. I sat on the rocks and relaxed with my destination in clear view.

Off the road:
23 - Off the road.jpg


Saint John's Town of Dalry:
24 - Saint John's Town of Dalry.jpg


It was a pleasant walk down the hill and along the water's edge, over the flexing bridge and into Dalry, where my good friend, uni. acquaintance and hillwalking buddy Jack was kind enough to pick me up. The buses were off on Sundays, which had nearly destroyed my plans the night before. The pleasant journey back was sunny and clear.
Last edited by iangpark on Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 61
Munros:1   Corbetts:6
Grahams:10   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:28   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: D&G/GLA/GRNK

Re: Whinnds of Squellch

Postby desmondo1 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:16 pm

Hi good report, underfoot typical of the Galloway forest walks. We did some of that walk from the same start earlier in year but crossed over to Cairnsgarroch and descended from there, very tough underfoot as well. Doing Corserine this weekend but after all the rain expecting a bog fest.
I have never seen the Argus there before so well done and I will keep an eye out. I believe that there are now 6 breeding Osprey pairs over the forest park and are now fairly 'common', the tourist nest is at Loch Doon so yours might be from there.
I'm no expert but also spotted and looked up a flower very similar to yours. My deduction from Scottish wild flowers research was that it was 'Sheep's-bit. Look it up you might agree or differ but nice colour.
desmondo1
Wanderer
 
Posts: 94
Munros:6   Corbetts:15
Grahams:7   Donalds:17
Sub 2000:38   
Joined: Nov 6, 2012

Re: Whinnds of Squellch

Postby iangpark » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:53 pm

Hi good report, underfoot typical of the Galloway forest walks. We did some of that walk from the same start earlier in year but crossed over to Cairnsgarroch and descended from there, very tough underfoot as well. Doing Corserine this weekend but after all the rain expecting a bog fest.
I have never seen the Argus there before so well done and I will keep an eye out. I believe that there are now 6 breeding Osprey pairs over the forest park and are now fairly 'common', the tourist nest is at Loch Doon so yours might be from there.
I'm no expert but also spotted and looked up a flower very similar to yours. My deduction from Scottish wild flowers research was that it was 'Sheep's-bit. Look it up you might agree or differ but nice colour.


Thanks for the informative comment! Good luck with Corserine - the weather really has not been on anybodies side recently! I have very rarely seen Argus so I did have to look it up just to be sure. Nice to know that I've seen at least one of the 6 Osprey pairs too, both were quite a spectacle. I had a quick check there and I would agree that it's definitely a Scabious, although I am siding more with Devil's bit - I have heard my mother mention it a few times and she is quite the wildflower expert - I'll need to check with her!
User avatar
iangpark
Wanderer
 
Posts: 61
Munros:1   Corbetts:6
Grahams:10   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:28   
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: D&G/GLA/GRNK

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