Friday, 11 October 2013

Cairnsmore of Carsphairn

Start of the walk at Bridge end

Rowan delight

View up the Water of Deugh to Cairnsmore and Black Shoulder


The final part of the ascent

Looking south west to Black Shoulder,  Dunool and Merrick and co.

View of the turbines to the north east 

Cairsmore Summit
Loch Doon and Ailsa Craig

Thursday, 11 October 2013
Ascent:       670 metres
Distance:    11 kilometres
Time:          2 hours 28 minutes

c   Cairnsmore of Carsphairn   797 metres   1hr 19mins

I had been working with a group of visitors at Dumfries House near Cumnock and they left for the ferry to Belfast at 4:30pm. I gazed at the blue skies and hills of Galloway. I had a rucksack in the boot of the car with my waterproofs and some running shoes. I thought that it would be remiss not climb one of the corbetts in Galloway. The nearest was Cairnsmore of Carsphairn although it took me 40 minutes to drive across to Dalmellington and then on the A715 to Bridge End just before Carsphairn. There was parking for three or four cars. I changed quickly and began the walk through a gate and alongside the beautiful Water of Deugh. It was a perfect evening for walking with cloudless skies and the fairly cool northerly wind meant that a brisk pace was needed to stay warm.

There is an excellent track for about three kilometres meandering alongside the river, overlooked by some fine copses of trees and then through some gates and cattle grazings. It eventually narrows down to a path, turns right and becomes boggy before crossing a footbridge and ascending steeply alongside a wall which goes directly up to the summit, a climb of  370metres. I was racing the sunset to the summit and managed to get there with some time to spare. The summit was busy with cairns and to the north east there was a large area of hillside covererd by wind turbines. The grassy summit was a rise on a broad plateau with a scattering of granite blocks.

I was well into my descent when the sun finally sank over the westerly Galloway hills. The Ailsa Craig was visible and Arran provided its familiar profile of serrated peaks to the north west. It is always a treat to be at the summit of  a hill at sunset and Cairnsmore was a far more attractive hill than I had been led to believe by the guidebooks. I descended by the longer route over the subsidiary peaks of Black Shoulder and Dunool and then ran back down to the track by the Nick of Disgee. The light was just about holding and I managed to negotiate the gates and arrive back at the car before 7:30pm. I needed some light from the car to change my shoes before the drive home. This short excursion had been a bonus that I not expected. The conditions could not have been more favourable and by seizing the evening I had confirmed my belief that walking late in the day is one of ther best times to enjoy mountain landscapes and the thought of rooting around the rucksack for a head torch is always conducive to making a faster pace.

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