Galloway 12/18 |Arrival and Exploring Kirroughtree

It was grey and rainy leaving the Lakes, we had intended to make our way up the night before but a pretty awful storm was blowing through. The lashing rain and gale force winds kept us at home for another evening, leaving the next day instead. A good decision because after leaving in the rain, by the time we were arriving in Galloway the clouds were breaking up and some blue sky was poking through.

We stopped in at a little Forestry Commission place en route called Kirroughtree, we knew we only had a few hours of daylight left and wanted to make the most of them. A well-made, well signposted path started winding its way through the bare, twisted trees. This stretch was made up of a few of the usual pines and spruces with a whole mix of deciduous trees growing in between. A small stream meandered through, turning this way and that, tumbling over the roots and rocks which happened to be in its way. Winter in full swing, the leaves were scattered across the floor creating a carpet of orange/brown, shining after the recent rain.

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The path undulated through the trees, however any ups were gentle but we did eventually climb up to Little Bruntis. The size of a large pond, Little Bruntis’ dark water offered glass like reflections of the trees on the opposite bank, their ghostly trunks fading into the deep black water. The footpath skirted around the edge of the water on a man-made embankment, the grassy surface of which sat just above the calm water looking vibrant in the diffused light of the grey sky above.

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A short distance further our path came out at Loch Bruntis, this larger stretch of water offered a clearing in the trees. The dense clouds rolled across the sky, breaking up every now and again to reveal patches of bright blue streaked with the wispy clouds sat much higher in the sky. The strong breeze danced across the water, pushing the ripples along with it, however when the wind died down we were gifted with fantastic reflections of the dark trees and the bright sky in the clear surface.

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Back in the trees we had moved into a section that was a lot more forest than woodland, incredibly dark with fallen trees blocking the path, the typical lumpy moss covered floor creating an undulating carpet of green adorned with mushrooms growing out of all the dark little crevices (despite it being fairly late in the year for most mushrooms!) Long tendrils of moss hung from every branch, drops of water clung to the ends twinkling in the slightest movement of the air. The fading light gave everything an almost gloomy feel which somehow accentuated how green everything was.

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Breaking out of the trees onto the larger forestry tracks the sky was putting on a show above us as it changed quickly, flashing brilliant shades of orange and purple behind the silhouettes of the remaining spindly trees. In no time at all we were back at the van in the dusk, ready to move on and find somewhere to park up for the night. We drove in the direction of Glen Trool (the destination for our walk the next day) and heading down a tiny single track lane surrounded in pretty dense woodland we found a tucked away little spot to spend the night.

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