2014 – Exploring Galloway Forest Park, Scotland day 11

Backpacking to Stranraer, Scotland from 21 May to 26 June 2014 (37days)
The walk begins at the Grey Mare's Tail car park on the A712 which cuts through the Galloway Forest between Newton Stewart and New Galloway.
Day 11 (31.05.2014 Sat) – exploring Galloway Forest Park (60km)

This morning Norman John Robertson and wife Carol Anne Robertson came and picked us to visit Galloway’s wild goats, Grey Mare's Tail waterfall, Alexander Murray Monument and Red Dear Sanctuary at the Galloway Forest Park. We had our lunch picnic at the Clatteringshaws Dam and then drove through Raiders Road and visited Loch Dee. We discovered more about Alexander Murray, one of this area's most famous sons, by trekking up the Talnotry Trail to reach the monument.

On our way back we stopped at West Pier to meet the Rotarians of Stranraer and had BBQ there. We came back home for Fish & Chips for dinner.

Sleeping: Shambley Residence, Millfield Avenue, Stranraer, Scotland.
Temp: min.9 – max.16 °C

From the Grey Mare's Tail car park we walked to the waterfall first.

Took a short walk up the path by this side of the burn for the best views of the Grey Mare's Tail - an attractive waterfall.

The steep climb up to Murray’s Monument is well worth the effort, offering amazing views of Galloway and beyond.

A great opportunity to get to see the wild goats that have been roaming here since the 1970s.

Several hundred live in the surrounding hills. These hairy, long-horned beasts are British Primitive Goats. Goats like these were kept by ancestors who valued them for their milk, meat and skins.

There are good views looking back of the open craggy hillside - part of a Wild Goat park.

Before reaching the monument we have to careful on a couple of rocky sections that can be slippery.

Val Allan at aged 80 is still physically very active by trekking up the hill.

The striking Murray’s Monument was erected in 1835 in memory of Alexander Murray, a local shepherd boy who later became Professor of Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University.

Standing in a prominent position on the hillside, you can enjoy commanding views of the valley and the northern slopes of Cairnsmore of Fleet. To the east of Craigdews are the remains of Dunkitterick Cottage, Murray's birthplace.

Back at the car park we witnessed a convoy of British Classic Car.

Galloway's Red Deer - The Red Deer Range is also beside the Queen's Way (A712) between Newton Stewart and New Galloway. The Red Deer Range was established in 1977 to give visitors the chance to see these beautiful creatures up close in a natural environment.

Around 60 red deer live here today – watch for them from the viewing area and hide. Whatever the weather, you can enjoy spotting deer and other wildlife from the shelter of the hide. There are often guided walks and other red deer activities going on here too.

Clatteringshaws Loch reservoir was created 1929-1935 over the Black Water of Dee to feed Glenlee Power Station via a 3.5mi/5.63km tunnel, 370ft/113m below.

Clatteringshaws Dam is the largest on the Galloway Hydro Electric Scheme, a gravity structure 1562ft/476m long.

We had our lunch picnic at the Clatteringshaws Dam

Norman John Robertson told us that his grandparents used to stay on the hills behind the dam.

Raiders’ Road Forest Drive - One of two forest drives at Galloway Forest Park, this drive is an easy way to see more of the Park's woods and wildlife without having to walk too far.
It's a 10 mile (16 km) two-way forest drive, which is open to vehicles between April and October and for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders year-round.
There are various places to stop along Raiders' Road. Head for Otter Pool car park, about half way along, for the perfect riverside picnic spot with plenty of room on the grassy banks to play.

We also stopped at Stroan Loch for peaceful waterside views, an old viaduct and the start of the scenic Buzzard Trail.

There is a picturesque disused railway viaduct, at the South, spanning the rivers exit from Loch Stroan. The railway was closed in the 1960's, but the railway track is still used as a farm access road.

Loch Stroan Viaduct across Black Water of Dee. Four arches, piers and abutments of masonry. Built in 1860 by contractors McNaughton and Waddell. Still standing, and can be crossed on foot with care.

This viaduct was built for the Portpatrick Rly and opened on 12 March 1861. It comprised four masonry arches, of greatest span 50 ft (15.2m). The line closed on 14 June 1965.

Stroan Loch - This is a popular fishing Loch, which is a widening of the Black Water of Dee, a river running from Loch Dee, to the North West, and Loch Ken, to the East.

Stroan Loch for peaceful waterside views. It is widely believed that a Messerschmidt fighter lies at the bottom of the loch.

This viaduct carried the former Glasgow-Stranraer main line (the 'Port Road') of the Glasgow and South-Western Rly. across the point where Stroan Loch flows out into the Black Water of Dee (River Dee), at the boundary between the parishes of Balmaghie to the West and Kells to the East.

On our way back we stopped at West Pier to meet the Rotarians of Stranraer and had BBQ there. We came back home for Fish & Chips for dinner.

Click below to view daily adventures:
Day 01 (21.05.2014 Wed) – MH16 KUL/AMS 2355hr – 0655hr on 22May
Day 02 (22.05.2014 Thr) – Amsterdam City, Holland
Day 03 (23.05.2014 Fri) – Amsterdam Zaanse Schans Village (21km)
Day 04 (24.05.2014 Sat) – KL.1477R AMS/GLA 1535hr - 1605hr Glasgow Airport
Day 05 (25.05.2014 Sun) – Stranraer, Scotland

Day 06 (26.05.2014 Mon) – Fishing station at Lady Bay (15km) Loch Ryan
Day 07 (27.05.2014 Tue) – Portpatrick and Mull of Galloway Lighthouse (58km)
Day 08 (28.05.2014 Wed) – Lide supermarket (2.8km) and Museum
Day 09 (29.05.2014 Thu) – Exploring Galloway Forest Park (56km)
Day 10 (30.05.2014 Fri) – Kirkland Fishery Farm in Leswalt (4.6km)

Day 11 (31.05.2014 Sat) – Exploring Galloway Forest Park (60km)
Day 12 (01.06.2014 Sun) – Trekking 20.8km Loch Ryan Coastal Path
Day 13 (02.06.2014 Mon) – A free and easy rest day
Day 14 (03.06.2014 Tue) – To Robert Burns Cottage at Alloway (78km)
Day 15 (04.06.2014 Wed) – Fishing station at Lady Bay (15km) Loch Ryan

Day 16 (05.06.2014 Thu) – A trip to the Giant Causeway (153km) by coach
Day 17 (06.06.2014 Fri) – Trekking 4km Ardwell Pond, Ardwell Bay (18km)
Day 18 (07.06.2014 Sat) – Our ladies went shopping in Ayr (72km)
Day 19 (08.06.2014 Sun) – Visiting Isabelle/Robert in Newton Steward (50km)
Day 20 (09.06.2014 Mon) – Overnight stay at Fishing Station, Lady Bay Loch Ryan

Day 21 (10.06.2014 Tue) – Visited a farm using automated milking
Day 22 (11.06.2014 Wed) – Day 1 of Scenic West Coast Tour, Scotland
Day 23 (12.06.2014 Thu) – Day 2 of Scenic West Coast Tour, Scotland
Day 24 (13.06.2014 Fri) – Day 3 of Scenic West Coast Tour, Scotland
Day 25 (14.06.2014 Sat) – Day 4 of Scenic West Coast Tour, Scotland

Day 26 (15.06.2014 Sun) – Day 5 of Scenic West Coast Tour, Scotland
Day 27 (16.06.2014 Mon) – Allan and Pauline 50th wedding anniversary
Day 28 (17.06.2014 Tue) – Mysterious beach walk at Loch Larbrax, Scotland
Day 29 (18.06.2014 Wed) – Lake Loweswater, Lake District, UK (day1)  

Day 30 (19.06.2014 Thu) – Outward Bound Ullswater, Lake Ullswater (day2)

Day 31 (20.06.2014 Fri) – Return from Lake District (day3)
Day 32 (21.06.2014 Sat) – Our last visit to the bothy at Lady Bay
Day 33 (22.06.2014 Sun) – A farewell dinner hosted by Margaret Modrate
Day 34 (23.06.2014 Mon) – A farewell tea hosted by Vera Little
Day 35 (24.06.2014 Tue) – To Glasgow for a night stay for next day flight

Day 36 (25.6.2014Wed) Glasgow 6am to Amsterdam 8.40//MH17 12noon to KLIA
Day 37 (26.06.2014 Thu) – MH17 touched down at KLIA at 6.20am.



  1. Most comprehensive account of a trip made, so far by anyone in our circle. When you look back 20 years from now, you will be glad you did, as you will still remember it as it was yesterday, despite your brain possibly working half as efficient. Looks like clean all the way, lots of green & space.

  2. John Suntan22 August, 2014

    Bin, Thanks for the updates.
    Sorry about MH17, glad to know you flew at different date. God bless, John