Cold, clear air and wonderful views - April 1995
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
This was an "accidental" - a drive up to Newton
Stewart to deliver a nephew to a fishing party
which turned into a fine mountain walk. The
teenage members of the aforementioned fishing
party in question, from Brittany, were finding the
Scottish air just a bit too cold for comfort. "Do you
fancy a walk up the Merrick? It should warm them
up a bit!" It did, too, despite the icy winds and the
snow showers which, fortunately, we managed to dodge.
The walk to the Merrick starts from Glen Trool, a little bit of the
highlands which has been transplanted in the far south-west of
Scotland, and climbs beside the cascades of the Buchan burn,
through forest plantations and out onto the open hillside of
Benyellary. From this secondary summit, a fine ridge connects to
the highest point in southern Scotland, 2675'.
To say the views from the summit were extensive is an
understatement. To the north, beyond the Ayrshire coast, lay the
snow-capped peaks of the southern highlands. South-eastwards,
more snowy peaks were visible in the English Lake District.
Continuing clockwise, the Isle of Man lay to the south in the Irish
Sea, and south eastwards the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland was
clearly visible. Westwards, beyond the "sleeping warrior" of Arran,
the long peninsular of Kintyre could be seen, and beyond, the
peaks of one or two of the islands were just in sight. Fantastic!
It seemed a pity to leave the summit, but reluctantly we headed
downhill, this time to navigate a route back to Glen Trool via the
rugged tops of Buchan Hill. Of no great height, the undulating
terrain began to tire the party, and one was heard to mutter "Un
montagne peut en cacher un autre", which French railway
enthusiasts will instantly recognise as an adaptation of the
familiar warning, on level crossings, that
another train may be coming...
A great half-day walk - and, later that
evening, the beer in the Cree Bridge Hotel
never tasted better...