Exploring Kirroughtree Forest

IMG_9008Back in November 2019, we decided to take Polly, our camper van and do some touring of Scotland, initially around the Dumfries area, then we’d see where Polly would take us.  We were also on the hunt for, not only some great walking, but some good mountain biking trails.

Our first Brit Stop seemed to be just a car park off the beaten track in Caerlaverock, near Dumfries.  It was late and very dark so we didn’t really know what our surroundings were.  Little did we know that we’d stumbled upon a beautiful nature reserve.  I wrote about this here, where I also explain what Brit Stops are.

From there we were heading towards Newton Stewart, then north toward Galloway Forest, in search of a mountain biking trail we’d heard of at Kirroughtree.

After only a few hours driving and of course the enjoyment of Scotlands beautiful

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The start of our forest walk, whilst above me was the end of the mountain biking trail.

scenery we found ourselves pulling up at Kirroughtree Forest Visitor Centre.  A quick tour around the centre familiarised us with what was on offer and we were excited.  There were various walks around the forest and what looked like a great mountain biking course, in fact it was one of the 7 Stanes courses, which in the mountain biking world are well sought after as they are award winning trails, eight to be precise, dotted around south Scotland and you don’t have to be an expert to ride them as they have varying skill levels within each trail.  Jon was happy, I was happy and the dogs were so excited as they were first on the list to enjoy a big long walk and explore in the forest.

We set off walking one of the harder trails of the forest and it didn’t take us long before we were walking in what seemed to be an enchanted magical mysterious forest, as everything was covered in moss.  It was so very still, quite eerie, and stunning in a strange kind of way.  It was a fantasy story waiting to be written, my mind was running wild with fairies and goblin’s.

In the midst of the forest we came across these mystery surfboard objects which we puzzled over for quite some time, but came up with no explanation at all.  Any ideas?

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Please help solve the mystery of the weird Surfboards of Kirroughtree

As we climbed further up the mountain, the scenery started to open up as we found ourselves high up amongst the tree tops, looking over at the fabulous views of Galloway.

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The sun was out, the autumn colours were incredible and the birds were singing, we were in heaven and about to start descending, winding down a thin path until we came across an interesting flat area.

The sign reads…

Let us lead you along the Lade.

Hello – we are Andrew Clugston and John Doyle, both lead miners who worked here.  We discovered lead here in 1763, when the military road between Carlisle and Portpatrick was being built.  We continued to mine here until the First World War.

A regular supply of water was needed to power the machinery and for washing the lead, so we dug channels and directed the water from Bruntus Loch to this small reservoir .  The channel is known as a lade – you can follow it all the way up to the Bruntis Loch and discover more about our work on the way.

We’d spent a good few hours meandering around this beautiful forest so didn’t have time to follow the Lade trail, the centre would be closing soon so we had to start heading back.  We’d be coming back to this amazing place in the morning to do a couple of the bike tracks, but as we still had light we needed to start thinking about finding a spot to camp nearby.

There were no Brit Stops in this area so we would need to look for a good quiet spot and we did, we found a great little lay-by tucked away from the road with a fabulous view over the River Cree.  Rosie had a little paddle, we made a yummy chilli and settled down with a cheeky glass of red for the night whilst enjoying the ever-changing view over the river as the sun set.  Perfect.

The following morning we were back at Kirroughtree forest looking forward to the day ahead.  We’d give the dogs another good walk first then a big bike ride for us up and down this gorgeous forest.  Thank goodness for my Diamondback e-bike to get me up the mountain paths – changing from my beloved Whyte mountain bike to a Diamondback e-bike was a hard decision, but a good one overall – a future blog post in the making.

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The mountain biking was fantastic, a highly recommended biking park!

It was time to get on the road again, heading to the coastal road on the look out for another good spot to park the van for the evening, we’d then be heading for Lock Lomand, the Trussocks and Argyll forest park the next day.Exploring Kirroughtree Forest© 2017 – 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-lovingthefiftysomething.com

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Me with Crazy Rose (left) and our beautiful, (late, but always remembered) Jenna 💕

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Millie our ‘Funny’ Puggly

 

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