Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bengairn and Balcary Point.

Maybe we should rename this blog Blue Sky Galloway as that`s where we headed once again on Saturday on the advice of the weather man.Once again it paid off.There was a little drizzle on the way down the M74 but once we neared Dumfries it gave way to brighter weather.We were headed to a hill we had seen a few months ago,Bengairn,between Dalbeattie and Auchencairn.It`s nearby neighbour,Screel Hill,is probably the better known one but as Bengairn is the Marilyn that was todays prize.

We turned off the road just before Auchencairn and took the single track road up towards Bengairn Loch where there is room for two three cars to park at the start of the path at NX 790 523.Might be an idea to tuck your car in tight to the wall as a huge agricultural truck came flying down the narrow road at high speed obviously not expecting anyone else to be on it.

We`d opted for the shorter hill day avoiding Screel Hill to give us some time to go along the coastal walk out to Balcary Point in the afternoon.If you fancy doing both then there is a fairly detailed description at this site below...

http://www.walkscotland.plus.com/otherwalks/stew_s_area/scrl_beng/index.htm

Start of the track to Bengairn....


The first half mile took a long time as the place was absolutely swarming with dragonflies and butterflies.In fact,this was how the day progressed.I took 186 pictures and Bob beat that hands down.

Something caught our eye in the trees above and it was a goshawk.We watched it jinking throught the trees and out over to the field beyond for a late breakfast.All this in the first few hundred yard as well :)

We did eventually get a bit of a move on and arrived at the ruined buildings marked Foresthill on the map.What a view the inhabitants must have had,out over Auchencairn Bay and Rough Firth and on to Rockcliffe.



The path deterorates a bit from here for the next 400 yards or so,pretty boggy and indistinct.It soon reaches steeper ground though and we stopped a few times to take in the views.The heather covered the entire hillside which means winter ain`t that far away..!



In no time at all we were at the top having been accompanied for the last few hundred feet by a plague of irksome stupid flies.Thank god they weren`t clegs.We lounged around the summit for half an hour or so taking in the views.The Merrick and other Galloway hills were visible to the north west,Queensberry down to Criffel,over the Solway to the Lakes and out to St.Bees Head.

Bob with the Galloway hills behind him...


No views of the Isle of Man today due to the heat haze.Don`t suppose we should complain about that living in Scotland :)

Myself with the Solway and Hestan Island beyond....


A quick cuddle for the trig point (from me anyway ) and we were off downhill with non stop views over to Rockcliffe and Hestan Island.This looks an interesting wee island with a good collection of caves and rock formations and we think we`ll go back down sometime soon for a visit.I think you can walk out to it over the shingle bank for 90 minutes either side of low tide.

Back at the car we had a short hop down the road to the car park at Balcary Bay which was quite busy.Fortunately most of them semed to be at the beach as we turned through the gate and headed across the field towards the cliffs.

Everybody else at the beach.Tiny beach at high tide but huge at low tide..!


This is a good path which,after crossing two fields, weaves through a tunnel of rhodedendrons which must be spectacular in May.After half an hour or so we hit the cliffs at Balcary Point.

View over to Hestan Island from the point..


The path continues westwards....you can just see the Robin Rigg wind farm in the distance out on the Solway.

I was a bit surprised at the size of them.We`d done a lot of rock climbing on the Galloway sea clifs in days gone by and I would have thought I whould have heard of these ones from someone even though they are too loose to have any real potential for climbing.

An old scanned slide of myself climbing at Meikle Ross....


There was a wee sea stack in one bay that could give a bit of fun for an hour or two.


This was a cracking coastal walk and one we would go back to again,maybe in winter when there is some serious wave action.Bob shouted out to me at one point that he had found two adders but by the time I got up there they had disappeared down a hole by a fence post thus depriving him of the chance to demonstrate his snake handling skills which he perfected in the Australian outback.He had gone out to South Australia when he was young and plied his trade as an electrician.After a couple of weeks on the job his boss gave him a booklet and told him to bone up on it.The booklet illustrated all the snakes,spiders and other things that he was likely to encounter under floors and which ones were liable to kill you or put you in hospital.Makes the rain and midges not so much of an ordeal,eh ?

View along the sea cliifs....



We met a few other folk and passed a few pleasantries with a couple from Kirkcaldy and their daughter from Dumfries who were occupying a finely situated bench.
As luck would have it ( hur,hur as if I didn`t know) there was another trig point atop a nearby hill by the name of Big Airds Hill.This proved an excellent wee viewpoint and we stopped here for lunch and a bit of sunbathing. Time was drawing on and the promised cloudy weather was coming in from the west so we headed back to the car.Took a shortcut through a signposted field to the west of Balcary Hill passing a rather large bull.Fortunately he was more interested in trying to chat up a rather attractive looking cow by gently nuzzling her neck.Life is so much simpler for these guys.They don`t have to remember birthdays,buy expensive Xmas presents or take cows out for a meal.A quick nuzzle on the neck and Bob`s your uncle. :)

The farmer was out harvesting his hay which proved to be a stroke of luck for us.We were forced to keep to the wall where Bob spotted this common lizard sunbathing on a rock...

We stopped off in Auchencairn for a look at the war memorial and the Millenium Memorial garden where we spent half an hour taking shots of the butterflies .

A close up of the Red Admiral phizog....

Quick stop in Tesco at Heathall for a couple of cans of Red Bull for Bob to keep him awake on the way home to Glasgow and that was another sunny weekend trip in the bag :)

Couple of pics to sign off with...

A Wall butterfly....



Red Admiral......



Ruddy Darter we think....



Bob`s dung beetle...


The Merrick in the distance with the heather in full bloom...


Balcary cliff walk...

7 comments:

The Glebe Blog said...

When my faither lived in Dumfries,i got over to Auchencairn and Balcary quite often.I doubt there's many places in D & G to beat it for colourful insect life.A great blog chaps.

Anonymous said...

Alex ,Do you ever get bothered by midges down in Galloway or over on the east coast? You never seem to mention them on your adventures with your son.Keep up the good work.

fatdogwalks said...

Great stuff guys!

Never walked this part of the world yet but the wildlife photos certainly encourage me to visit. Just never got out of the habit of going north (lol).

Congratulations to the cameraman - I've never seen the ugly mug of a butterfly before.

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks for the kind comments Jim and Ken.
I suspect I know who Mr.Anonymous is and shall mete out appropriate punishment when I next meet him :)

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Hestan Island Website?

Hestan Island

blueskyscotland said...

Yup....excellent information there.
Still waiting for a chance to get on to the island but still not sure how long there is between tides.!
Alex.

blueskyscotland said...
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