Thursday, 12 July 2018

Durisdeer and Morton Castle 11 July

Alan, Alan McQ, Allan, Davie C, Davie Mc, Dougie, Gus, Ian, Malcolm, Rex, Robert

It was raining as we left the west coast heading for Durisdeer, but, as we motored down in to Dumfries and Galloway, there were no signs of rain, and we were not to see any during our walk.
Skies were cloudy with blue patches as we set off from the village before turning at the cemetery and heading up the track to Kettleton bothy. The temperature was ideal for walking, so it only took about forty minutes to arrive at our coffee spot, although these days most bring water or juice rather than a hot drink.
By eleven we were on our way again continuing upwards on the track, passing by a drystane wall complete with lunky hole, before reaching our highest point of the day which offered splendid views all round. Drumlanrig was easy to pick out and Morton Castle came into view as we moved down the track above Kettleton Reservoir. Halfway down we stopped to ponder whether to go cross country to the castle or continue on the road. The majority opted for the shorter hike, but Allan, Dougie, Ian, and Malcolm decided to stick to the road and set off first. Holly, liking to be at the front, joined them not realising that her master? was not to follow. At times she looked a bit bemused as to where the rest of the guys were but once we found her a stick, she was fine. Although following the road was easy going, given the fact that it was getting hotter, the four were pleased to reach the castle. As expected the others had been there for about fifteen minutes and had finished their lunch by the time the four arrived. Nonetheless, given the surroundings (although the water in the loch was a strange colour of green and looked decidedly unhealthy) and the sunshine, it was no hardship to wait another fifteen minutes whilst the four ate.
Leaving the castle, we did not take the nature trail but stuck to the road. When reaching the crossroads, the front runners followed Holly straight on, much to the delight of those who were walking at a more leisurely pace and who knew to turn sharp right. Robert & Co had to turn back and retrace their steps and take the proper road. Well done, Holly! Our plan had worked!
The road walk up past the restored cottages and past Gateslack always seems to go on and on, particularly in the hot weather, and we were more than happy to reach the turn-off up to Durisdeer and the road up to the cars. A few minutes over four hours and about ten miles was the call.
Much anticipated FRT was taken at the Crown in Sanquhar where we were greeted by our friendly barman.
Not the longest walk we have ever done, but there were some tired souls heading home.

Durisdeer Church

On the up!

Looking back at the reservoir

Decision time

How far is it now, Allan?

Leaving Morton Castle

I spy with my little eye... a golf ball

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