South ….and south again

Loch Dungeon from Millfire

Loch Dungeon from Millfire

I often say to people that I think we live in the perfect location for hill walking despite the fact that it is probably the flattest part of the whole of west Scotland.  We have the idyllic Isle of Arran just an hour away across the water; the southern Highlands starting just an hour’s drive north and the southern uplands just an hour’s drive to the south.  This is all true, but to be honest the majority of our hill walking trips are either in the Highlands or over on Arran …..rarely do we venture into the Southern Uplands.  We’ve visited the Merrick on a few occasions along with the wonderfully named and prominent and craggy little hill of Curleywee.  I also joined Air na Creagan for a long rough walk up over and around Shalloch on Minnoch, (the highest point in Ayrshire I think) but apart from these we’ve only been to a handful of other places south of Irvine.

We had been hoping to get out for another walk last weekend but the forecasts for the west and eastern hills wasn’t great …gales and snow down to 700 – 900 m.  Looking ahead it seemed like Tuesday would be the best opportunity for some bright weather.  So then, on Sunday we decided instead to take a drive south to visit the Scottish Showcase Gallery in Kirkcudbright.  I was invited to show some work there a few months ago and had sent five paintings down …but I’ve been too busy recently to get down to see the gallery.  I spent a lot of time painting last week so taking a few hours off to visit Kirkcudbright seemed a good idea.  It’s about 70 miles from Irvine to Kirkcudbright but the journey takes you through some wonderful scenery.   The weather too was pretty fine …windy but with bright hot sunshine and just the occasional heavy shower ….why hadn’t we thought of checking out the forecast for the southern hills?

From Corserine

From Corserine

We found the gallery close to the harbour in Kirkcudbright and had a good look around.  It has a good selection of work and on this fine Sunday there were a number of folk doing the rounds.  My five paintings are on the wall at the head of the stairs …so if you visit, you can’t miss them.  I’ve never been to Kirkcudbright before and it looked like a busy little place.  There’s a number of galleries and studios along with a castle, harbour and I understand, beach.  We were also directed to a hotel where they served an excellent pint of beer.  So then, it makes for a very pleasant day out if you live within striking distance ….and as we found, the journey to and from it is very enjoyable in its own right with for us, views across to a whole number of different hills.

 

NW from Milldown

NW from Milldown

Perhaps because of this, when it came to deciding where to go for our Tuesday walk, Nita suggested we find somewhere in the southern hills for a change.  It seemed like a good idea and so in bright sunshine we found ourselves driving back down the same road we travelled the previous Sunday.  We turned off the A713 a short distance before St John’s Town of Dalry and headed along a single track road for a few miles to reach a car park near Forest Lodge.  This is probably the nearest point for a walk up Corserine …the highest point along the ridge known as the Rhinns of Kells.  As with many of the hills in this area, the lower slopes are blanketed with conifer forest and getting to the base of the hill involved walking for almost an hour and a half along a series of forestry tracks.  The way was signposted but it was still a relief when we eventually saw open hillside ahead of us and a convenient stile over the boundary fence.  The hillside rose steeply in front of us and in the bright sunshine the colours looked wonderful.  A minor path led away up the hill and picked its way up through a series of crags to reach easy angled slopes.  The views out over the forest grew as we gained height and soon became huge as we reached the large summit plateau of Corserine at just over 800m.  Although we’d had warm sun all the way up, once on the top we were in the strong and cold wind …no wonder they were forecasting snow on the bigger tops to the north.

Our route lay SSE along the undulating ridge, over the craggy little tops of Millfire and Milldown to Meikle Millyea before descending back to the forest via Meikle Lump.  This really was a beautiful and very peaceful walk.  The ridge as I say, was littered with minor rocky crags and a series of minor lochs and pools…..and the views .wow!  It was also exceedingly quiet.  We’d followed two chaps up to Corserine but they must have returned a different route to us and we saw no one for the rest  of the day.  The wildlife seemed to be enjoying the sun as well and Nita spotted numerous beasties including a lizard, and on Meikle Millyea, three wild goats.

Meikle Lump is as the name suggests …a bit of a lump, being steep and craggy just above the forest.  We managed to find what seemed to be the steepest possible route through the crags …requiring both of us to resort to sitting on our backsides and carefully lowering ourselves down some slippery rocks and heather.  Then, the difficulties started!

Our map showed the forest edge and various tracks.  When we looked down …the forest had changed somewhat since the map had been printed.  They had been harvesting areas of it, new tracks had been constructed and nothing matched the map!  Suffice to say, it took us an hour and a half  to find our way the two or so miles back to the car.  Thankfully we had the GPS and so got this out and we could monitor our position as we followed the new forestry tracks.  After what seemed a good time we reached one of the original tracks marked on the map and could then head for the car.  We got back to it at half past seven …just nine hours after setting out …and were promptly set on by a swarm of midges …summer had arrived!

Below are the five paintings currently exhibited at the Scottish Showcase Gallery in Kirkcudbright.  To find out more about this gallery visit their website: www.showcasegallery.co.uk

 

 

'From Ghlas Beinn, Rannoch moor'

'From Ghlas Beinn, Rannoch moor'

 

 

'Approaching weather, Glen Carron'

'Approaching weather, Glen Carron'

 

 

'Above Glen Shee, winter morning'

'Above Glen Shee, winter morning'

 

 

'On descending Ben Oss'

'On descending Ben Oss'

 

 

'Autumn hillside, above Crieff'

'Autumn hillside, above Crieff'

0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0

 

If you enjoy my blog posts then please share them!

___________________________________________________________________



___________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________
** Subscribe to Keith Salmon´s Scottish Landscape Art by Email **
Click here, fill in your details in the new window and then confirm once your receive the invitation email.

___________________________________________________________________

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply