There were no new recruits but two visitors from another ramblers group joined us.
This week’s walk is Darnaw from Craigencallie. It is approximately six miles and is graded between moderate and strenuous.
Meet for car sharing at Breastworks, Stranraer at 8.30am, at Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9.30am or at the walk’s start at Craigencallie car park NX 503 775 at 10am.
For further information, if going directly to the walk start or joining them for the first time, please contact the walk leader on 01988 403407.
Having donned waterproofs, with good reason, and had the introductory talk before the Clints of Dromore walk the group started off left up the road towards the Cairnsmore of Fleet National Park, passing the now disused Dumfries to Portpatrick railway line on our left. Within a few minutes we reached a small staggered crossroads with the old Gatehouse station, now a private residence, on the left and the station masters house, also a private residence, on the right. Carrying on the straight and narrow with views of the viaduct to the fore and accompanied on either side by the resident sheep, we reached the visitor centre where we had a short break and a look around, finding it very informative and well maintained.
Leaving the centre we continued towards the viaduct taking a right turn towards the river bank to view one of the five sculptures “Scene Shifters” commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage for Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve and project managed by Galloway Arts Association. All of these sculptures were by Matt Baker. Returning to the track and passing under the viaduct we visited the second of the artworks which had been clearly marked out for us by the very kind farmer from Dromore farm. This work was a head known as “Heart,” hidden in the ruins of one of the cottages. Leaving this we headed back along the disused railway track till we came to the next sculpture, erected on what would have been the railway embankment. This piece is known as “ocean,” and can be quite difficult to spot.
Continuing on from this we reached the gate leading up steeply to the Clints of Dromore following signposts marking the way to Mountain End. At the top of this ascent were two more works of art in the shape of benches which were also commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage.
We then followed the signposts for Mountain End which are obvious but not always straightforward and are very undulating, the steepest being the Deep Nick of Dromore which is approximately half way along. At the end of one of the promontories we found the last of the artworks called “Hush.” After this we headed to the next signpost which was situated towards the forest boundary on top of a small hillock of boulders. Here lunch was taken whilst admiring the views across Cairnsmore of Fleet and surrounding areas. By this time the rain had stopped and it made walking more comfortable although it remained very wet and boggy underfoot, and caused more than one walker to enjoy an impromptu seat on the bracken!! as we headed towards our next signpost at Mountain End.
From here we started to head down the Clints to the deer fence and stile which meets up with the fence coming down Craig Hill for the next step in our walk. Crossing this stile we headed up Craig Hill until the stile giving admission to the forest ride came into view. Descending the hill following a four wheel vehicle track we soon reached the aforementioned stile. Once over, we continued down through the trees until we reached the forest track, and after approximately one mile arrived back at the car park. Soon afterwards we departed to Creetown where we partook of delightful refreshments in the Gem Rock Museum, attended to by the very pleasant and helpful staff.