On a reasonably bright morning twenty eight ramblers met at the Riverside car park, Newton Stewart for the walk.
We began by crossing the Cree at Sparling Bridge, and following the river up to Creebridge. It’s recorded that Robert the Bruce forded the Cree at this point in 1329 on a pilgrimage to St Ninians.
From here we went through Minnigaff to Kirroughtree House. A short stop was taken for the walk leader to read out some of its history and association with Robert Burns and the Heron family.
The last verse from a Burns poem for Patrick Heron while standing for parliament in 1795 read,
“Then let us drink-The Stewartry, Kerroughtree’s laird, and a’ that, Our representative to be, For weel he’s worthy a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that, Here’s Heron yet for a’ that! A House of Commons such as he, They wad be blest that saw that”.
Now we took to the perimeter path of Newton Stewart Golf course which led us up to the tenth tee and a sweetie break while admiring the view back to the town.
From here we followed paths and forest tracks through Wild Wood and Bower Wood negotiating a number of fallen trees from the recent high winds.
After descending to the Old Edinburgh road we continued along Bower road where we spotted a mob of deer of various shades. They soon disappeared as we approached.
We now made our way to the Queen Mary Bridge, the site of the old Cumloden Woollen Mill. Now converted to upmarket flats, a millstone is still visible through one of the windows on the Penkiln side. On the bridge we attempted to secure a wish by cleanly dropping pebbles into the wishing pot.
After passing by Kirkland farm we reached Monnigaff Parish Church. The 900 year old Yew tree and the listed Heron memorial were among the many points of interest. The headstone depicting an arrow piercing two ravens was another. This is related to the legend of the three brothers, McKie, Murdoch and McLurg trying to impress Robert the Bruce. One of the brothers shot two ravens with one arrow.
We continued on across the Cree by the King George V and Queen Mary suspension bridge then up to King Street. At the perimeter of the town we took a left turn at Duncree. This led to the old coach road which originally went from Old Hall Farm to House O’ Hill. Here panoramic views of the Galloway hills were enjoyed.
We turned south to climb over a drystone wall above Old Hall farm and Douglas Ewart High School to reach Corsbie road. Lambing season being in full swing brought many an ‘Aw’ from many of our walkers.
Corsbie road led us to Blairmount Park where we climbed up to the trig point on Doon Hill. A short descent through Doonhill Wood brought us to the edge of Blairmount Pond and an ideal spot for lunch. While some walkers used the picnic table and bench, other sat on the pond dipping platform and enjoyed watching the ducks and swans while feeding them titbits of their lunches.
Reluctantly we continued the walk by encircling Blairmount Pond to reach the Barnkirk road. Single file walking saw us cross the A75 and enter a field to climb the wee hill by Barbuchany.
Here we took another short sweetie break before climbing up to the telephone mast above Barrhill Woods. Great views of Newton Stewart and the Galloway Hills were enjoyed from here.
After another sweetie break we now continued south across rolling fields above Moorpark of Barr. This was an extension to our regular route on this walk and extended the walk length to just over nine miles.
A flooded gate entrance meant a short detour through some prickly gorse. This brought a few anguished shouts, but no one suffered serious damage.
A further short climb brought us to a point of height on the drumlins above Barr Moor.
Now we took a short break to enjoy the extensive views across the Machars and the Cree estuary to Wigtown Bay. We all agreed that the extra distance was worth it for the vista before us.
Now we descended to Nether Barr where we joined the riverside walking and cycle path.
At Nether Barr there sits on view an old John Wallace Turnip Sower. A member of our group, a retired farmer, was of the belief that this may have been an actual turnip sower he once owned.
From here a lovely riverside stroll brought us back to the Riverside car park.
Tea, coffee, scones and other culinary delights at the Belted Galloway completed a very enjoyable day.
On Saturday the 11th of April two walks have been arranged. The first is a 9 mile strenuous walk to the summit of Larg Hill from Caldons.
The second is a less strenuous walk from the Wood of Cree to Loch Middle.
Meet for car sharing for both walks at the Breastworks Car Park Stranraer at 9 am, the Riverside, Newton Stewart, 9.30 am or the walk starts at Caldons (NX 397 791) for the strenuous and the Wood of Cree car park (NX 381 709) for the easier walk.
If going straight to the walk starts please phone walk leader 01776 703447 for the strenuous walk or 01671 402733 for the easier walk. New members are always welcome.