Tuseday’s walk, one of 29 organised by the Newton Stewart Walking Festival did not disappoint. Starting from Straiton 18 walkers with 3 guides tackled the Monument first getting to the top to enjoy some fine views before setting off across the moor to Auchenroy Hill. Our guide mentioning it might be “soft underfoot” which translates as “you’ll soon be up to your ankles in water”.
We had good views of the Galloway Hills to the south and our knowledgeable guide told us both the ranges and names of the mountains. A pleasant walk down to Craigengillan Gardens where we had an excellent guided tour from Fi McLelland. An amazing garden, all the more interesting as it’s in the process of being uncovered. The rock garden was designed by James Pullman & Sons (usually kept busy designing for royal residences) and features pools deep enough to swim in, Peak District stone, cascades, water channels and seemingly miles of stone pathways interspersed with stone terraces. There are some stunningly beautiful trees including a 600 year old yew on the front lawn.
The final section of the walk was up the dramatic gorge at Ness Glen. Here the path closely follows the river as it tumbles down from Loch Doon, the steep sides are covered in an amazing variety of mosses and ferns. Towering cliffs and steep sides make this one of the best gorge walks in southern Scotland.
The icing on the cake was seeing the female osprey sitting on the nest at Loch Doon across from the Roundhouse Café. The owner has thoughtfully provided a scope set up for patrons to view the nest. A delicious hot coffee was very welcome too. For the latest information on the Ospreys click onto the Facebook page Visit Loch Doon