Saturday’s walk started at the bridge over the Penkiln Burn at Auchinleck. As we drew into the car park we startled a lone deer at its breakfast. This was to be the only wildlife we saw for the entire day.
Thirteen of us set out along the forest road to the west of the burn, eventually crossing it and continuing North above the Pulnee Burn. As we climbed we enjoyed good views of it’s wide valley looking very Autumnal, with trees and bracken now turning to russet. We reached the end of the newly surfaced section of the road and continued along the next section, now very overgrown. We turned left up another old track, even more overgrown and quite hard to follow. At the end, a short steep climb over tussocky ground brought us to Black Benwee Hill. Here we admired views Southwards of Wigtown Bay. To the East across the valley, Drigmorn Hill was impressive with Red Gary and Millfore beyond. We continued North up the lesser ridge of Stronbae, White Benwee and Bennan hills. The going was quite tough at first, with little in the way of paths, but we stopped frequently to turn and admire the views to the South, Luce Bay and the Mull of Galloway eventually coming into view.
We found a pleasant sheltered spot on the banks of the largest of several lochans along the ridge and enjoyed an early leisurely lunch. By this time the going was a little easier with shorter grass and faint paths to follow. At last after a short steep climb we reached the summit of Bennan marked by a very small cairn, quite unworthy of the effort we had expended!
We descended to the Loup of the Laggan and followed the old drovers’ track down the valley, leaving it to keep to the drier eastern side and reach Drigmorn Farm. Here we easily crossed the Pulbae Burn by the ford.
Next Saturday’s walk is an easy, (C+) walk of 7 miles in the Southern Machars, starting at Glasserton Church (NX 421 381). Meet for car sharing at 9am in Stranraer, at the old Stena Car Park opposite the Police Station, or at 9.30am at Newton Stewart Riverside Car Park. New walkers are most welcome, but they, and anyone going directly to the start should contact the walk leader on 01671 401222.