Loch Finlas Circuit

Fern growing in wall of Little ShallochClearly we needed to head back to the peat bogs of the Galloway hills: I have a new pair of boots and Jazz has just been groomed. Both need to be dunked into their natural element.  So over the traditional breakfast planning meeting we worked out a circular wander joining some old favourite sections and a couple of new ones.

Footpath to Knockdon signFootpath to KnockdonWe started beside Bogton Loch and wandered past Dalcairney waterfall which was just a dribble. We then took the right of way to Knockdon: we’d seen this signposted before and always wondered where it went. The track is good as far as the ruin at Little Shalloch. It then turns into a path that enters the forest. We thought we were on track but emerged at the wrong edge near the Widow's Loch and so had an unpleasant quarter of an hour negotiating the dreaded tussocky “Doreen” grass 1. Eventually we regained the “path” but this required some careful handling of Jazz over an electric fence – we weren’t happy.

Health and Safety at Loch Finlas

Health and Safety at Loch Finlas

Carpet of Sundew

Carpet of Sundew

Erratic boulder beside Loch Finlas

Erratic boulder beside Loch Finlas

Things improved when we got onto the road heading for the water works at Loch Bradan. When we got there we turned left onto a hill-track heading to Loch Finlas. Although the map didn’t show a path around the loch we found sheep tracks and a faint old quad bike trail that we could follow that were much easier than the “path” to Knockdon.  It is also over Deer grass which as well as being attractive in its autumnal colours is much easier to walk on.  One other thing I noticed was the carpets of Sundew all around the loch.  I remembered being very excited when I first spotted them: either Finlas is a prime site for them, or I was just very unobservant in the past 2

Lizard, Dalcairney

Lizard, Dalcairney

Bogton Loch

Bogton Loch

From the Finlas dam we followed the track heading down to Loch Doon. We followed the road to the top of Ness Glen for a favourite section past Craignegillan and back to the car.

Notes:

  1. So named after a group of us had to stumble over this to climb Craiglee, and the eponymous Doreen really didn’t like it.
  2. Let’s just go with the former.
Distance:22
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again:
Duration:7 hours