Six eager walkers gathered at the Gatehouse of Fleet car park for the Gatehouse Gambol – including four who travelled from Cumbria and one all the way from York!
We were rewarded with a very pleasant day, with some sunshine to enjoy the views, and enough shade and wind to keep us cool as we undertook a few steady but persistent climbs.
The route took us along the old harbour – a remnant of a more prosperous and industrial Gatehouse of Fleet – passing Cardoness castle and up to Rutherford's monument, with terrific views of the Solway Firth.
We successfully navigated the bullocks at Anwoth, through Killiegowan Woods and onto Ordknockenknock Reservoir. I espied a deer in the distance – the first of two sightings of the day – though the rest of the group sadly missed out.
From here, we descended to the Pool of Ness, swimming haunt of the locals, and enjoyed a quiet coffee until the midges discovered us. On along the Fleet to Castramont Woods, which a month ago was a glorious purple haze of bluebells.
We ascended on a track to Laghead, and then descended to Knocktinkle viewing point. This provided more glorious views of the Solway Firth, now with the hills of the Isle of Man just visible, as we lunched.
A steady climb took us to Benjarg Woods, complete with a basking adder, too shy to be captured on camera.
We then went through Cally Woods, under the A75 to the Temple – a recently restored tower, built in the eighteenth century to impress visitors to Cally Park. Back under the A75, a final stretch along the Cally drive, passing Cally House – now a hotel- took us back to the car park.
After 21 miles, we were ready to put our feet up.
Thanks to my fellow walkers for making the journey to Scotland. Hope to see you all again next year.
Una Courtney