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" A Short Scottish Break - Part 2 "

Date & start time: Thurs - Fri, 24 - 25th January 2013.    ( NX 889 933 )

Location of Start : The Trigony House Hotel, Closeburn, Dumfries & Galloway, Uk.

Places visited : Local walk to Crichope Linn Gorge.

Walk details :  A larger local walk of 7 mls, 600 ft of ascent, (total car journey nil).

Highest point : The sudden awareness of the deep sandstone gorge.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Overcast and dry, with snow on the ground.  Sunshine to start.

 " A Short Scottish Break - Part 2 " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


A local walk today in order to appreciate the immediate surroundings.

It is a region of rolling farms and woodland but one woodland holds a little bit of a surprise.

A copy the hotel walks guide helps us through the country lanes to find the valley of Crichope Linn.

Another full breakfast enjoyed in the comfort of the warm dining room

and suitable banter was enjoyed with the other guests, one of whom pointed out a red squirrel in the garden.

Today we opted for a non-car day and followed one of the suggested walks from the list in the hotel.

It would take us on a six to seven mile walk across to the woodland in the distance and back across the fields.

The snow had started to clear off the roads and the sun was making an appearance

which meant it was an all-together rather pleasant morning.

Across the Dumfries to Kilmarnock (Ardrossan) railway line

rather than the main Glasgow west coast line we saw yesterday.

Locals in the woods searching for new grass amongst the clearing snow.

Two rather nice horses, protected against the cold, are enjoying a run in another field


A row of classic small cottages

on the road to Cample Mill.

They came complete with snowman on the front lawn.

The old Cample Mill building

now a salesroom for new and second hand reproduction furniture.

We had to stand close to the wall for this one to pass . . . but nice to see a local bus service in operation.

The apparent tractor tyre marks in the field to the left is in fact the course of the old mill leat that used to carry the water to power the mill.

A second old mill edges onto the river just a little further up.

The building is now totally derelict, so much so that the outer wall has collapsed into the river and the inner one onto the yard.

The view through the gate !
The signs lead us on.

Looking over the wall, the sheep are in fact in the field bordering the old mill pond . . . or in this case, more of a large mill lake.


A young winter oak tree shines in the afternoon sun

as we walk on up the road.


- - - o o o - - -



At the next bridge a small weir

marks the start

of the mill stream we saw earlier.


- - - o o o - - -

Up a short bank and through the gate, the path leads us on into the wooded valley of Crichope Linn.

The mixed woodland starts quietly enough, no surprises here then, but it was in this valley that the local Scottish "Covenantors" hid

from the English army at the time of the repressions. There must be more too it than what we see at first sight.

The simple path leads up close to some sandstone cliffs.
These were adorned with icicles today.

Back at the hotel we had been advised

to keep our eyes peeled for the

engraved names and dates

that can be found on theses rocks.


- - - o o o - - -



Around the first bend, on the vertical cliff face,

we found the first of many of these.

Simple initials . . .
. . . an engraved name and date of 1892.
The Welshman James Kirkpatrick was here, 1879.
Helen Hall visited nearly a hundred years later, 1977.

Thick vegetation and icicles cover a rock buttress that is overlooking the ever deepening ravine.

The river was full of forest debris . . .
. . . and there's a natural arch in the cliff.

The rock of the natural archway bears many 18th and 19th century inscriptions, supposedly including one by Robert Burns.

We didn't spot it  but check out the photos and see if you do better !

Looking through the arch, the gorge deepens and narrows and crouching down there's daylight at the other end.

On the left a fine spout of a waterfall cascades into the gorge . . . it would no doubt look even better with the extra water when the snow melts.

Back out, taking care not to slip on the wet rock.
Now where's Bethan ? . . . "Spot the dog" quiz for you this time.

The footpath naturally takes a wider route to avoid the deep gorge,

as we cross over the small stream that falls over the edge forming the cascade (the Linn) we saw just now.

Fallen trees and damp paths make for slow going.

However it was a delight to walk on a completely natural path that had not been "improved"

and as a result there was nothing to spoil the atmosphere of this wild, hidden valley.

No wonder it made such a good hiding place for those Covenantors of old.

Looking back down the valley . . .
. . . and around the other way as we continue up-stream.

Another narrow and deep section of gorge with a recently fallen tree.

The snow cover and boulders hid the small path so it was a case of  "chose your own route" over the stump.

Ann looks happy in this natural environment.

Perhaps she would have been less happy if she had realised she was being followed by a "White Lady of Crichope"

A gentle end to the ravine brought us out at the top gate . . . time for a quick mug of hot soup on this cold day.

The little table and chair were useful afterwards as steps to get over the locked gate . . . almost designed for it you could say !

Having demolished his lunchtime biscuits, Harry finds a large twig to further entertain him.

Time to look around . . . and upward . . . while we enjoyed the briefest of lunches.

These geese were flying south in a large formation . . . heading for the Solway estuary perhaps.

Back out into the open and into the black and white landscape again.

Untreated farm roads were still snow covered

but if you kept to the un-flattened sections rather than the icy farm tracks the going was passable with care.

Heading for the interestingly names Dressertland Farm.

One way of keeping warm !

A little further on we passed a small enclosure with a duck pond and a brace, flock, balding or flush of ducks (isn't English grammar interesting).

As we approached they ran ahead and hid behind the shed . . . but then ran back out to the pond as we continued on our way.

[ Perhaps that's why they are known as Indian Running Ducks . . . thanks Angie ]

Hold your cursor over the picture (four times) to see what happened as each of us went by.

An old farm trailer, abandoned half way through drain laying many years ago I guess.

We leave the road and take a field track back towards the railway.

Looking across the open countryside to the Closeburn Parish Church.

Quite a way away from the church was the enclosed wall of a second local cemetery.

It featured as a landmark on the walk plan so we're heading the right way.

Crossing the last field . . . the standing water from the wet winter season has frozen alongside the path.

A fine iron gate leads back onto the road.

From here it was just the last half mile back over the railway to Trigony.

Our passing was noticed by this fine bull.

Lines of winter stubble.
Lines towards home for today.

- - - o o o - - -

In the morning the weather had changed and it was snowing again.

The car would need  a touch of de-icing before we leave.

The garden was looking beautiful and didn't need such treatment.

Bethan enjoying the freedom that Trigony offered our dogs.

Ann took one last walk around the grounds . . .

. . . including viewing the outside of our rooms which spanned two of the three round topped windows.

I loaded the dogs and the bags

and returned to find two small portholes

scraped free of snow

on the back window of the car.


Why had Ann taken a picture of two snow holes ?

Look inside and it all became clear . . . there's Harry . . .

. . . so that must be Bethan !

No wonder the rest of the snow was melting if they were breathing that heavily.

Better clear the rest of the windows so that we can see where we are going.

- - - o o o - - -


Postscript :

This was Friday morning and we were returning home as our youngest daughter was visiting for the weekend.

Our journey home was uneventful but this was also the day that the snow fell on NW England,

shutting the M6 at Kendal and the A66 beyond Penrith, leaving cars abandoned on the motorway

and on the Pennines.

Seeing the weather was deteriorating, she called a halt part way up the A1 the other side of the country

and stayed with her sister overnight Friday,

setting off next morning for a relatively easy journey across as the sudden thaw started to set in.



- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . an enjoyable stay at a rather nice winter retreat.

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