On waking I had no idea that a day of wonders was in store for us in the Galloway Hills.
We started out at the Lorg cottage, as far as I know used only as an outpost for shepherds and shearers and wanders up the Water of Ken, which itself offers up a treat in the form of a small gorge with cascades, somewhere we could have easily spent a day if we didn’t have our minds fixed on a long wander with some exercise involved.
Striking out across sheep fields we were intrigued by the old circular sheep buchts and stopped to grab a quick snap of their frosty stone geometry, remnants of a bygone age. We headed into the woods from here, wondering if we would find an actual path or have to negotiate the often treacherous clamber through dense forest. We were pleasantly surprised to find a wide and open path through the trees, soft and springy underfoot. I don’t know the history of this path – possibly an old drovers route but we were immediately struck by a sense of the past, echoes and whisperings of long-past traffic and centuries old journeys. Moss laden sheep pens and trees and an earthy scent from the forest floor left us in a temporarily fanciful state, our imaginations running riot.
Emerging from this and returning to reality, we also found ourselves back on the forest track and decided to take a quick detour up to the Polskeoch bothy which can be reached by road from the Scaur Glen. A quick look around and plans made to come and camp overnight there sometime and we were back on our way, only to be pulled in by more winter magic, frozen mud on a rickety wooden bridge and some eager steam rising from the small burn, highlights from the sun reflecting in the water and dazzling us. Dragged on again by an unwelcome timepiece reminding us of the short daylight available we carried on up the path, with another brief stop to marvel at some backlit moss, enhanced photographically by Ted’s breath steaming in the cold air as I attempted to capture it.
Not one hundred metres further on we chanced upon some of the quirkiest ice patterns in puddles I’ve ever seen. Nature had one last treat for us before the walk resumed a sense of normality*, some tiny plants growing in the forest track, momentarily shedding their icy cloaks before the sun slipped back down behind the hill.
Breaking out onto the top of the hill we took an unexpected pelting from the wind which we’d been blissfully unaware of in the shelter of the trees. It failed to dampen our appreciation of the marvellous views, hazy in the winter sun.
*Fresh air, good paths, bad paths, weather, spectacular views, flora and fauna abounding.
Photos from a Canon 5d mk III and an iphone6plus