Saturday, 25 July 2009

Coran of Portmark, Rhinns of Kells

Down to Galloway again today.It`s one of my favourite hillwalking areas in Scotland.It`s not as striking as Assynt or Fisherfield for example.....

Old scanned photo from Bob of John B.in Assynt....



Old slide of mine with Big George in Fisherfield with An Teallach in the distance..



It`s hard to describe exactly..it`s just "diferent". The Loch Enoch and Awful Hand areas are every bit as good as anything in the Highlands and you can still find solitude here.Very few paths,fantastic hill lochs with sandy beaches,great granite pavements littered with erratics and some of the weirdest names in Scotland.
Rig of the Jarkness,the Wolf Slock,Rig of Munshalloch,Little Spear and Neive of the Spit.The only other place that I can think of offhand that comes close is Pendicles of Collymoon.Google it and see where it is :)

We usually go out on a Sunday as this gives Bob all day Saturday to recover from his hard graft as an electrician during the week.the forecast for Sunday however was dire so Saturday it had to be.I had fancied the long walk in to Mulwharchar via Loch Enoch but Bob didn`t really fancy an early start so it was agreed I`d be picked up at 9am.This meant that we would have to find a shorter hill day probably in the northern Galloway area.I had 4 Donalds to tidy up in the northern Rhinns of Kells starting with Coran of Portmark and finishing with Cairnsgarroch and that made a nice circular walk that would fit the bill.

Parked the car at Green Well of Scotland,the usual jumping of point for the nearby Corbett of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn.A word of warning for access to Cairnsmore of Carsphairn here.There were access problems in the past which seem to have been resolved.The path after the farmyard though has been covered in 6 inch deep mud for a substantial length on two previous visits.I wonder why :)

Today however we took the road west to past Holm of Daltallochan and on to the old lead mines at Garryhorn.



There are substantial remains of the old mine buildings here but I was surprised to read that it was home in the past to 300 people,complete with it`s own school.



From the ruins we headed up an ATV track which snaked it`s way up to the col between Knockower and our first hill of the day,Coran of Portmark.We spied a cairn of to the north that looked like it would give a better view over Loch Doon and this proved to be the case.A fine spot for lunch.



Although a bit hazy the views to the north and west were excellent.The Arran hills and Holy Island,Cowal,Arrochar,Ben Lomond and various other hills of the southern highlands,the Ochils and surprisingly,The Lomond Hills in Fife.I had to take a bearing on them check when I got back home to confirm this.The usual culprit,Criffel,was prominent to the south and in the background the Lake District looked as if it also was enjoying a bit of sunshine.Off along the ridge we quickly passed over the second hill of the day,Bow.Carried on with a momentary stop to bag the summit cairn and continued south towards the days high point of Meaul.

Bob heading up Meaul with the Merrick as a backdrop...



For only the second time this year we met someone else on the hill,a father and daughter from Ayr who also expressed their surprise at meeting other folk on these hills.I hadn`t looked at the map all day so I had a great big smile on my face when a nice trig point was waiting on the summit to greet me.Only my second one this month but the 66th of the year so far.Still hoping to hit a 100 new ones before the end of the year :)



We hung around looking over to the inner sanctum of Galloway and back up to Loch Doon....



Gavin is the only person I know to have done a rock route in the heart of these hills and it was an epic day both in terms of hours out and route finding :) The Silver Flowe,a man eating bog,exists in the fold between these two ridges.It`s a listed UNESCO site of scientific interest and home to some rare butterflies and dragonflies.Golden Eagles are usually seen here as well hence the rock climbing ban during the nesting season.Didn`t see one today however,just ravens kawking all day.There is a hilarious photo of a couple of guys negotiating the tussocks and bogs on the excellent John Biggar`s Galloway rock climbing site.Scroll down to the last photo on the page...believe me,it`s worth it :)

Click here for Tussock fest


We pushed off eastwards for the days last summit of Cairnsgarroch......





..... which seemed to be a party venue for all the flies in Galloway....just the stupid annoying type of fly.We didn`t pause at the summit but continued down the surprisingly steep nose aiming for the Garryhorn Burn and the ruined mine.Mistake..! The lower section and the continuation to the mine was some of the worst going underfoot we have experienced and we`ve had a lot of experience..! Real ankle snapping territory,waist high vegetation concealing deep holes,awkward tussocks and hidden streams and bogs.Not only that, but to add insult to injury, the clegs had now zeroed in on us drawing blood .It might be better to continue over the outlier of Craighit if you venture this way although it looked just as bad thereabouts albeit for a shorter distance.I`d ran out of swearwords long before reaching the mine.We had a root around the old mine spoil heap looking for some examples of galena but if there ever had been any decent ones they had been taken a long time ago.We found the old adits.I would have expected them to have collapsed by now but they had just been covered in old logs and branches.I didn`t have the energy left to lift them and see alas.Back along the road to the car with the sun now beating down strongly :)



Bob wanted to climb the old pit bing outside Dalmellington on the way home.If you think I`m mad bagging trig points...he bags pit bings :) Must admit having done the odd one myself they do have good views.! We compromised and settled on the Scottish Wildlife Trust`s Knockshinnoch Lagoons near New Cumnock.If this is New Cumnock I`d hate to see what Old Cumnock looked like...! ( that`s this entries gratuitous insult folks :) ). We wandered round to the hide but with no binoculars we were reduced to guessing mostly as to what was what.



Arrived home at 7.00pm just in time to cap off an excellent day by watching the penultimate stage of the Tour de France and the awesome Mount Ventoux.The Tour has got to be the finest sporting spectacle on the planet....an estimated 700,000 people lining the slopes today..!

Edit: Some pics just in from Bob.

Myself approaching Meaul with Loch doon in the background....


The road back out to the car....Cairnsmore of Carsphairn ahead..




Reaching the car with 3 of the 4 hills in the background....


Coming off Cairnsgarroch.....

5 comments:

The Glebe Blog said...

For a minute i thought you were on a marathon walk,but then realised it was Cairnsgarroch and not Cairngarroch you were doin !.
It was a great day wasn't it.
Our crowd of oldies are hopefully doin Tarfessock and Kirriereoch next Saturday.We keep talking about the Rhinns of Kells,but that's as far as it gets.

fatdogwalks said...

Great names in that part of the world!

Have had the map for a long while but still to venture to the SW. Too easy for me to head north.

Those were fantastic tussocks btw. Must remember to avoid those at all costs.

Nicole said...

Every place you show on here is so beautiful! I hope to someday get out there and see Scotland! It has been my dream since I was a little girl and G.G. Irene would tell me about growing up there!

blueskyscotland said...

The first two pics are taken not very far from where your great grandmother was born :)

Nicole said...

that is so cool! I would love to go see it! We will have to plan on coming out to see you guys :o)