Wigtownshire Ramblers Report Saturday 18 October – Meikle Millyea
On a beautiful clear morning eleven intrepid ramblers assembled for a tough walk in the hills. We met near Clatteringshaws Loch, still as a millpond in the morning sunshine and reflecting the surrounding hills like a mirror. Cars were parked at the point where the Southern Upland Way meets the narrow public road past Upper Craigenbay. It is here that walkers of the Way who don’t want to complete the 24 mile section from Bargrennan to Dalry in a day can be picked up and taken to their overnight accommodation.
The first couple of miles were an easy ramble along the Way roughly Northwards towards Dalry. Having crossed the Garroch Burn we left the Way heading Northwest and steeply up onto the Rig of Clenrie. After a short climb the ground levelled out and we followed the gently rising crest of the ridge onto Meikle Lump. In great visibility we could see for miles, the Lake District hills to the South East, and nearer, familiar hills, recently climbed, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn to the North East and Darnaw to the South. We lunched in a sunny sheltered spot just before we reached the ridge of the Rhinns of Kells and were lucky enough to see a red kite as well as several grouse. After lunch as we gained the crest, Loch Dungeon was below us. Usually looking deep, dark and mysterious as befits its name, it was bathed in sun and, with the water very low, appeared to be surrounded by sandy beaches. The Rhinns stretched invitingly Northwards, but with a long rough descent to negotiate later, we turned reluctantly south to climb the short distance to the summit trig point on Meikle Millyea. Again we were rewarded with great views across the Silver Flow to Craiglee and Craignaw with the Merrick and the Awful Hand beyond. As we began our descent, lovely Loch Dee came into view, with Curlywee behind, perhaps the best view of the day. After an arduous trudge down over rough ground we reached the banks of the Garrary burn, which we followed before turning into the forest where the trees were decked with lichen and the walking easier. We emerged a short distance from the Southern Upland Way which brought us back to the cars.Our adventures were not over. Some walkers were looking forward to tea and cakes at the Visitor Centre, others hoping to get back to Stranraer in time for the football. It was not to be. Half a mile down the road, our way was blocked by a large van which had landed in the ditch while trying to pass two oncoming cars one of which had a puncture. After offering assistance to no avail, we backed up and took a long slow detour along a forest track to the road and home.
Next week’s walk is a leisurely 7 mile circular in the countryside around Wigtown. Meet at the Breastworks Car Park Stranraer at 09:00 or the Riverside Car Park in Newton Stewart at 09:30 to share transport, or at Wigtown County Buildings, the start of the walk. New walkers are welcome.
New walkers and any one going directly to the start of the walk please contact the walk leader on 01681 401222.