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Cairnkinna ideal short winter day walk

Cairnkinna ideal short winter day walk

Postby desmondo1 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:26 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cairnkinna Hill

Date walked: 13/12/2018

Time taken: 2.31 hours

Distance: 7.31 km

Ascent: 469m

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A good hill for my winter collection although the conditions are still more autumn than winter so far. However the biting wind later was no autumn breeze. A typical day for this time of year. When the sun shone the grassland was an amazing burnt colour and when it went behind the clouds lots of grey.
It is a contrived drive to get here through a twisting myriad of one track routes. I am told Joanna Lumley has a property around here but no sign of her today.

The start via the path through the field
We almost drove past the starting point but edged in and parked beside the entrance. I followed the route as per ‘25 Walks Dumfries & Galloway HMSO’.

Woodend cottage ahead
A short but steep walk through the woods then out into open land and we soon reached Woodend cottage. The book describes it as abandoned but it has clearly been worked on, maybe a shooting bothy now? Also a sign on gate ‘private’.
We went up the side of the stone wall and climbed at the junction, this is a climb for the agile but from here we could not see a gate. Looking back down there is one but set within the cottage grounds.
ridge 2.jpg

Point 488 on the left cairn in middle of ridge
We then just picked a spot and headed Woodend Hill to point 359 before then heading in the direction of the top at point 488. There are some ATV tracks and a fence if weather is poor but really just pick your line. The going underfoot spongy but not too boggy.
The huge cairn of Cairnkinna can be seen on your right along the ridge. Indeed the cairn is so big you can identify the hill by it from far and wide.

Rolling isolated scenic hills
There are lovely views ahead and on your left of rolling hills and countryside rarely tramped or seen.

Frozen trough
As you can see from the water trough which is solid ice it is very cold up on the ridge.
Turn right and go up the saddle of the hillside heading for the cairn you saw earlier although it is out of sight at this moment.
t & c2.jpg

Huge cairn for a sub 2k
The wind is blowing strongly and now it is side on rather than behind, the wind-chill must be bringing it into minus temperatures so were glad to get some shelter from the wind beside the huge cairn.
Red kites gliding in the sky seem unbothered by this wind as they search for food.
Glorious views of the Lowthers and Durisdeer hills on this beautiful day.

Tree plantation and Scaur valley
A short food stop and more layers donned and off we headed, initially following the fence before angling down the steep grassy slopes to a gate. The tree plantation the guide. Better if you can stay high but that wind was just too cold. The winter sun was low and on a better light day the views down the Scaur water valley would be more picturesque.
We walked behind the trees to their far end before heading back to Woodend cottage. A huge tup has a good look at us but runs away, not a day to fight.
c from trees 2.jpg

Looking back from trees
This is the wettest ground of the walk, zig zagging required to keep feet dry. Another good option would be to stay high over Merkland Hill and drop down to the cottage from there.
Back at the car to find another one is parked beside us. Looking up I spot a couple of figures on the ridge heading for point 488, I presume that is them.
An excellent short winters walk on a beautiful day, even if biting cold up top. The stunning views of undisturbed and relatively uncovered landscape does Scotland’s landscape proud.
A great place Joanna if you still come here.

Wildlife: Chaffinch, Red Kite, Jay, Pheasant,
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Re: Cairnkinna ideal short winter day walk

Postby PeteR » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:15 am

Would agree that this is a good little hill. Always good to see the border sub 2000s getting walk reports too
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Posts: 2073
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Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

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