Skip to main content

Caerlaverock Castle and Kippford.


I had considered going up to The Trossachs for the day but had set off a tad late so made a late decision to have a drive in to Dumfries and Galloway instead. The last time I went up that way the tide had been in which made a walk to see the cockleshells at Kippford a bit of a waste of time but I could see it was out as I drove past Carlisle.

My first stop was at Caerlaverock Castle and Wetland nature Reserve which for a fiver is a right bargain. Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th century and was a stronghold of the Maxwell family from the 13th century until the 17th century when the castle was abandoned. It was besieged by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and underwent several partial demolitions and reconstructions over the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century, the Maxwells were created Earls of Nithsdale and built a new lodging within the walls. In 1640 the castle was besieged for the last time and was subsequently abandoned. Although demolished and rebuilt several times, the castle retains the distinctive triangular plan first laid out in the 13th century. Caerlaverock Castle was built to control trade in early times.

To the south of the Castle there is a woodland and wetland walk which I took advantage of as it was a warm sunny day. The only drawback was that the walks aren't circular so I had to backtrack a few times but it was still very enjoyable. I came across a common frog which kindly let me get close enough to take it's photo but apart from that, sightings of wildlife on the walk was non-existent. I suppose you really need binoculars to see all the wetland sea birds especially with the Solway tide being so far out. There was a nest of swallow chicks in the doorway arch to the castle and dozens of birds flying in and out of the ruins which more than made up for the deficiency elsewhere.

I could have spent longer than I did there and maybe have a coffee but, remembering what had happened the last time, I decided to crack on whilst the tide was out. I nipped in to Morrisons in Dumfries to buy some lunch and then followed the coastal route past Southerness and Sandyhills to Kippford. It's a beautiful spot, situated on the estuary of Urr Water and Rough Firth. I believe the place has a bit of history and in the distant past boats left here for Canada during the Highland Clearances and it was also used by smugglers. I think it was also the major port of the area at one time but these days it seems to be just used for leisure craft.

The short walk through the village to the cockleshell beaches and rocks is a sheer delight. There are herons galore feeding on the sand banks of the estuary and lapwings and oyster catchers calling when the season is right. I was lucky enough to pick a sunny day so I was in no rush to leave. Where the path runs out, there are ample large rocks to sit on and just take in the view over the Rough Firth and Solway Firth beyond. When the tide is out you can also walk across to Rough Island which is a bird sanctuary but this is off limits at certain times of the year when the birds are nesting. May to July I think it is.

On the walk back, I treated myself to an ice cream at The Ark (which is a lovely little gift shop and cafe) before setting off back down to Cumbria.



Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve

Castle Woods

Castle Woods

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve


Castle Woods

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve


Caerlaverock Nature Reserve


Caerlaverock Nature Reserve

Cockleshells, Kippford

Kippford

Kippford

Kippford

Kippford

Kippford

Rowan tree, Kippford



Popular posts from this blog

Wharfedale

These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued an…

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.





The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”


The old brown horse has a shaggycoat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of al…

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!

I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely …

Snow in Ribblesdale

Yet another one of those days when I leave Bradford in sunshine and, by the time I do the twenty odd miles up to the Dales, the blue skies have disappeared and the cloud has moved in. This has happened to me every time bar one this year. I did manage to see a few glimpses of the sun just outside Horton in Ribblesdale and then just for a fleeting moment at Ribblehead but apart from that it was pretty gloomy. I was very fortunate at Ribblehead as the sun lit up Whernside beautifully.

I parked the car on the edge of Horton and had a walk around the network of country lanes in the vicinity. All lead up to Brackenbottom Farm which is the usual start for walking up Pen y Ghent. There weren't many takers which I thought was a bit strange as the weather would have been ideal. Mind you, it was midweek so I suppose most people will have been working. It was pretty damned cold though and I was glad to get back to the car and head for Ribblehead.

I had thought of going all the way up to Hawe…

To Lochinver via Coigach

Again, I don't really think many words are needed for this blog. The photos tell the whole story of one of the best drives in the UK.

The route chops and changes from mountain to coastal and back again and is possibly the best section of the Wester Ross Coastal Road. I was fortunate enough to be at Gruinard Bay when the tide was out so I more to less had the whole beach to myself, th the mighty An Teallach (widely regarded as the best hill in Scotland) towered above me as I drove down through Dundonnell.  Then it was through the Dundonnell River gorge and across the Dundonnell Forest to Loch Broom and Ullapool. Even Ullapool looked good with the morning sun and blue skies. I hardly met any traffic at all from the moment I left my hotel on the shores on Loch Maree which meant driving was a sheer pleasure.

The last section of the route through Coigach to Lochinver is the reason I keep visiting these parts. It may only be about twenty miles in length but it goes through what is, in m…

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp…

A Farewell to The Trossachs

I had a rather disappointing day in The Trossachs last weekend. Talk about not feeling welcome.

I used to park up at two places on the shores of Loch Chon and then go for a wander in the forest with my camera. The first place had been ruined by tree felling and was a right mess and the other place had been turned in to a campsite! At the first spot, I just about managed to park my car and clamber around fallen trees and debris to take a few photos but couldn't even get in to the second spot!

The new campsite is all to do with The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park's attempt at trying to stop wild camping which they say is becoming a problem on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond from where people used to wild camp and climb Ben Lomond. Their solution is to have purpose built campsites miles away from where they are actually needed. It makes you wonder if they really want visitors at all. The consensus of opinion is that they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and var…