This was third-time lucky at starting this walk: previous attempts thwarted by bad weather: what has become known as “The Curse of Miller”. 1 But today the sky was blue and the sun shone 2 and Spring was definitely just around the corner. Moorbrock is a Donald and we wanted to include it as part of a nice clockwise circuit taking in the Deil’s Putting Stone and then back along to Dodd Hill.
The route up Moorbrock is a good track that skirts around Green Hill next to Beninner Gairy and then climbs pretty steeply up onto Moorbrock. We’d spotted this track when we did Beninner and it looked easy (we didn’t spot the steep bits!). Just like Beninner and Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Moorbrock has a Gairy on its east side. This is a steep face usually covered in big boulders or scree. I imagine a glacier scraped its way from the west over these hills leaving a nice round face on that side, and then just dumped all the spoil down their east sides leaving them rough. We had lunch at the top of the Gairy with a great view over to the Lowther Hills. As we munched, a small flock of Barnacle Geese flew by heading north – more evidence of Spring on its way!
After lunch we were heading for the Deil’s Putting Stone. Since this is named on the OS map and after last week’s walk to the The Wolf Slock we were expecting an impressive erratic boulder: something about the side of a house teetering on the edge of the hill. It turns out to be a bit less impressive: something nice to sit on for a chocolate stop. In its defence it has interesting weathering but still a bit on the underwhelming side. 3 It is however easy to find as it’s the only exposed rock on the side of a hill where someone has kindly installed a wind farm to pin-point the location.
From here we head back to the car taking the ridge of smaller hills to the east. I wanted to get to the small lochan on Dodd Hill as we’d spotted it when we did Alhang Hill last summer and it looked interesting perched on the summit of this hill. These hills were pretty dull except for a small herd of Red Deer grazing at the summit of one of them. We had an apple stop at the side of this frozen lochan (apparently it’s used as a curling rink by the locals). I’d been giving my new SPOT toy its first real test and I sent a ‘We’re OK’ message from here. When I looked at the location on the map later the arrow was exactly where we were sitting at the junction of two fences marked on the 1:25000 OS map. Just uncanny. Then it was a trudge along new forest track back to the car.
This was a pleasant but surprisingly tough walk: some of the climbs are steep and hard work for one of us. Although the ground is rough there are lots of faint quad-bike trails to follow to make things a bit easier. It also helped that the ground was still pretty solid with frost: it could get squelchy later on. As it was the last one in the area that we needed to climb it was good to stand at the top and be re-acquainted with all the hills around that we’ve walked in the last year or so. And to cap it all, the sunset through the mists around the Rhinns of Kells was lovely on the way home.
- The Curse did try to screw things up today as the B729 that we would use was closed at Carsphairn due to subsidence but my trusty sat-nav found an interesting detour beside a Llama farm! ↩
- Did not apply to Ayrshire which had mist all day. Shame. ↩
- I can imagine my daughter’s reaction – “We’ve walked for three hours to see THAT!”. ↩
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