Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ascending Shalloch on Minnoch

A solo trip to South Ayrshire for another rehabilitation walk. This time to my last Corbett in Southern Scotland, Shalloch on Minnoch. This is an unfrequented and desolate part of the country, the hills lacking the tourist-attracting character of the Highlands, the damp streets of former mining villages threading steep hillsides.

The village of Straiton is the exception, with plenty signposted walks and a welcoming cafe, where a number of cyclists were refuelling. This must be popular with local ramblers in summer.

Straiton main street:


Once in the Galloway Forest Park (we are still in Ayrshire though) the vistas open up to present an air of space and majesty. This is, after all, the remotest part of Southern Scotland. The hills are of pathless and tussocky granite, with some beautiful rivers threading between lochs. Those who come here to fish have the place largely to themselves.

Snowy Rhinns of Kells and Loch Riecawr:


Carrick Lane, a river:


The views start to open up on battling up the thick shaggy vegetation on the hill, a buzzard above and a pair of geese flapping along languidly at eye level.



Unfortunately there was no view on top: the clouds were down, bullied by a biting northeasterly wind, and the compass had to come out. I startled a white mountain hare and watched it disappear into the mist.



It is easy to find the atmosphere of this area oppressively lonely, especially on a dull day of low cloud and threatening rain. But I returned to the car in high spirits, flushed with exercise and delighted that my dodgy knee had held up to the walk.

2 comments:

Alex. said...

It`s a different kind of solitude in Galloway I find.Never bothers me up north on my own but I`m conscious of it down there for some reason.
Did you go in on the path towards Tunskeen ? I may be going there for the night this winter and wondered if the path was still very boggy...

Robert Craig said...

There's a well made track to within a kilometre of the doss. I didn't visit it so don't know how that last kilometre goes, but if it is through a forest I reckon it will still be boggy!

Galloway is a spooky area. Other parts of Scotland have their atmosphere too, but Carrick and Galloway has witches, smugglers, Covenanters, and fiction like Sawney Beane and the Wicker Man.