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Cairnharrow and the Cairnholy tombs

Cairnharrow and the Cairnholy tombs

Postby McMole » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:13 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cairnharrow

Date walked: 30/08/2020

Time taken: 1.8 hours

Distance: 4.5 km

Ascent: 300m

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Cairnharrow route s.gif
I wasn't going to make this public, but Cairnharrow has very few reports and I saw that Fife Flyer's has now lost its photographs. I thought it worth sharing it for the parking if nothing else, since for many hills finding a suitable start point is the main difficulty.
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Loking back down the road from the parking
The last section of road is rough, has zero passing places but no deep potholes and shouldn't trouble most vehicles unless they have low ground clearance. If sleeping policemen trouble your motor don't attempt it.
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Parking at the end of the public road
There is room to park for a couple of cars, but keep them well clear of the track. I did and was grateful when I saw what came towards me after my walk. More on that later. There's one gate I had to open half way to the parking spot where the next gate had a notice that so far and no further for vehicles.
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Walking uphill through bracken beside the wall can lead to wet legs (Fife Flyer's findings)
Forewarned by Fife Flyer's account, I kept to the left of the bracken as I started uphill and found a track that led helpfully through the next two walls.
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Looking down the ATV track to the barn and my start point
It took me to near the crest of the ridge then I headed through the heather to the wall and followed it to the trig point and summit cairn.
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Following the wall to the summit
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Summit cairn from trig point with Cairnsmore of Fleet beyond
It was a clear day and I spent some time trying to identify the surrounding hills. One lump on the horizon I decided had to be Ailsa Craig.
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Cairnsmore of Fleet with Corserine to Meikle Millyea in the far distance above the summit cairn
Cairnsmore of Carsphairn in the far distance with Fell of Fleet closer and to the right
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Larg and Lamachan Hillls beyond the masts on Cambret Hilll with Cairnsmore of Fleet to the right
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Ailsa Craig 67km to the NW with Grey Hill to its right
Spotting another ATV track I followed it when I started down, and eventually arrived back at and reversed my uphill route.
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Another ATV track heading downhill
With no fences or walls to climb and no tussocks to struggle through it had been easier than the usual Galloway terrain. There had been a few midges on the summit but DEET and a cool breeze kept them away. Back at my car a very large blue tractor appeared heading for the gate.
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The tractor heading north to deliver its load
I opened it to let it through and repeated the process some ten minutes later when it returned with the driver giving me a cheery wave as he headed back downhill. I quickly drove after him and as he passed through the now open gate I wondered if I should close it or not. I decided I would and caught up with him as he turned into Barholm. I reflected that the timing had been just right as I would not have liked to meet him coming towards me on that road. One of us would probably have had to reverse a l o n g way.

It was only mid-afternoon so I visited the nearby Cairnholy neolithic tombs before heading home. The road up to them is shorter and does have some passing places, but could still be a challenge if meeting oncoming traffic. There was one other vehicle in the parking when I arrived. The tombs are well worth visiting.
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Cairnholy I Chambered Cairn - the more upmarket of the two
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One of the information boards on the site
They are far more elaborate than any other chambered cairns I've seen. They are usually insignificant clusters of rocks poking out of the ground.
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Cairnholy II Chambered Cairn 4000 to 6000 years older than the buildings behind it

A long drive for a short and enjoyable hill with an archaeological dessert, but not enough time to add my one remaining unclimbed mainland Marilyn south of the Highlands I left that for later when good weather coincides with a free day.
Posts: 182
Munros:141   Corbetts:50
Grahams:40   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:143   Hewitts:25
Joined: Mar 25, 2016

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