Morton Castle and Durisdeer

Durisdeer, 2The fortnight before the Glorious Twelfth is the time Jazz and I typically wander over grouse moors. This year was no different with the lovely area around Durisdeer getting our custom with a nice circular route over the hills, past Morton Castle and back to the village.  The weather was even kind enough to have a stiff breeze to blow away the insects that have bothered us on other walks lately.  A recipe for a perfect summer’s day walk.

Path to Kettletonhead

Path to Kettletonhead

Unkindness of Ravens

Unkindness of Ravens

Lower Nithdale

Lower Nithdale

We parked at the cemetery at  Durisdeer and headed off SW along the farm track.  We taken this before on a dreich day but today we weren’t heading up but through these hills following Glenaggart.  There is a modest climb to the bothy at Kettletonhead where we had a drink stop 1.  The path then continues until we are above Kettleton Reservoir at which point we took a faint path up onto the splendidly named Boughtbelly Hill.  At the stony cairn we had lunch with a lovely view over Nithdale and were entertained by an Unkindness of 14 Ravens flying and diving around the hill.

Morton Castle

Morton Castle

Morton Castle and Bellybought Hill

Morton Castle and Bellybought Hill

After dropping off the hill we headed across the fields to emerge at the native woodland beside the dam of Morton Loch.  At this point we had the one rain shower of the day and so waited it out underneath a lovely oak.  From the dam the view of the loch and ruined Morton Castle was lovely. We met a couple walking their dogs and chatted about how nice a spot this was.  The chap told me that we could go into the castle and there were interpretation boards – well, how could we resist?  Although it is an impressive ruin it must have been a pretty spectacular sight when intact and the situation is just perfect.

Lane to Durisdeer

Lane to Durisdeer

Queensberry Aisle

Queensberry Aisle

From the castle it was a wander along the traffic-free lane back to Durisdeer.  The last time I was here I didn’t have time to visit the famous Queensberry Aisle in Durisdeer church.  Leaving Jazz to dream about Red Grouse, I wandered over and was pleasantly astonished to find it and that it was open to visitors.  This is a stunning piece of marble sculpture commissioned by the first Duke of Queensberry to celebrate his wife.  The craftsmanship is simply awesome: I recommend you find it yourself.

Dam at Morton Loch

Dam at Morton Loch

Jazz playing above Kettleton Reservoir

Jazz playing above Kettleton Reservoir

Now, it should be pretty plain from these ramblings that I’m not a people-person but something struck me about the very pleasant chap we met at Morton Castle.  There was something about his manner and accent that suggested aristocracy and a quick search of Google images confirmed it:  we’d been chatting with the 10th Duke of Buccleuch.  Just as well Jazz hadn’t disgraced herself: they probably don’t have comfy kennels in the Tower.  And a shame I hadn’t twigged it at the time: I would have liked to say how much I liked walking around his estate.

Notes:

  1. OK, I had a drink; Jazz went Partridge sniffing.
Distance:15km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again: