The Wigtownshire Rambers Group enjoyed fine conditions for their Cream of Galloway Circular route last weekend. The 15 walkers stopped off at Plunton Castle, a 16th-century tower house built by the Lennox family, having acquired the site from the well-known local McGhie family.
Here’s the full report:
Saturday, July 16 – Cream of Galloway Circular – Saturday morning dawned with grey clouds scudding across the sky, but the forecast promised better, so 15 ramblers assembled at the Cream of Galloway car park for a walk in the surrounding countryside. The set off out of the farm exit and followed the quiet road southwards between banks and hedges alive with wild flowers. Turning off down a grassy track, the party reached Plunton Castle, a 16th-century tower house built by the Lennox family, having acquired the site from the well-known local McGhie family. There are indications that the tower stood on the site of earlier fortifications. The tower itself is in remarkably good condition and has been suggested as a good project for renovation. The ramblers followed the track from the castle over grassy meadows to Rattra Farm where they paused to have a chat with the farmer who was busy controlling roadside vegetation with the help of numerous dogs. As the walkers reached the bigger road, they were warned that a bull had escaped onto the road and might come thundering back towards the walkers. This spurred them onwards and they soon turned off into Kirkandrews. Here a visit to the tiny kirk, built by James Brown, a Manchester merchant who retired to the nearby Knockbrex estate during the early 1900s, was made. The church was built in the arts and crafts style, and recently restored by a local trust. Inside there is a small room, complete with fireplace and panels outlining the history of the building. On leaving the kirk, the group descended through what appeared to be a garden and down a narrow path to a bridge over the Pulwhirrin Burn. Beyond the gate they were met by a heron on the path. From there it was crossing fields and whin bushes to reach the Castle Haven Dun. A dun is similar to the brochs found further north and west. The double walls and galleries were clear to see and several small rooms were built into the corners. The site had been excavated by James Brown and several of the walls rebuilt, a fact recorded by a glazed plaque constructed into the wall near the main entrance. A short walk across the fields and over a style led to the Coo Palace, another structure built by the energetic Mr Brown, this time as a luxurious home for a dozen cows. The buildings are looking very sad now, with holes in the roof and overgrown vegetation covering the fine detailing. The ramblers followed the road north-westwards past Barlocco, with its unexpected llamas, and then turned back towards the coast along a well-trodden path as far as the bathing hut, another project by James Brown. Here was a stop by the sandy shore for lunch and the walkers were treated to a few patches of bright sunshine. Across the bay, Mossyard and Cardoness shores seemed to be enjoying a lovely day. After lunch it was on the track past the Doggies gravestone and the small harbour. A little further on and it was along the old dam, with views towards the main Knockbrex house, a rambling building with lovely views to the sea. Crossing the road again, they followed another track past another bull, this time a most placid one, and over the hill towards Borland. A shortcut through Boreland Forest and over the fields led back to Rainton Farm where two more of the group, who are recuperating from various ailments, were met up with. The walkers then enjoyed examples of Cream of Galloway’s wide range of ice creams.