On Saturday, 16 intrepid ramblers met at a disused forest track near the former Craigencallie outdoor activity centre. The weather was inclement with low cloud, although a weather report suggested conditions would improve as the day progressed.
The walk was to be a climb to the Dragon Fly memorial on Darnaw, descend on the other side, ascend Munwhul, traverse the top and descend following the tree line to the forest track which would lead us back to the cars.
Leaving the cars we passed the road from Clatteringshaws and took the new forest track for approximately a quarter of a mile to where a track branched off leading to a wall going up Darnaw. At the highest point of the wall we then ascended the gradual slopes of Darnaw to the memorial on the left. The memorial remembers the four men killed when the Daily Express plane crashed on 2nd Feb, 1937. It was thought they were travelling in conditions similar to those encountered by ourselves, and thinking they were over the Solway Firth descended through the cloud and flew into Darnaw. Clatteringshaws had only just been filled and as yet was not on any maps. It is thought that this may have caused the confusion and the resultant tragedy.
Whilst we were at the memorial the weather began to deteriorate further, and the decision to abandon the remainder of the walk was taken. We started to descend to the wall we had followed up, albeit using a slightly different route and appreciating the expertise of a colleague using GPS to ensure we reached our intended target safely. This was a perfect reminder of how the weather conditions can change on the hills from one minute to the next and how important it is to go fully equipped to deal with everything Mother Nature might throw at you in such circumstances.
Following the wall down we reached the track then descended to the forest road leading back to the cars. After discarding our wet outer clothes we travelled back to Newton Stewart where we descended on the Riverbank Café for refreshments, which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Please note next week’s walk will be on Sunday 19th from Corsewall to Kirkcolm. It is a coastal walk on rough ground round Milleur Point and is eight miles long, graded moderate plus. Meet for car sharing at Riverside, Newton Stewart 09am, Breastworks, Stranraer 09.30am or at the walk’s start at Corsewall Point NW 981 726 at 10am. For further information, if going directly to the walk start or joining us for the first time, please contact the walk leader on 01776 703447.