Fine weather drew us out towards the south-west last Saturday, to Dumfriesshire, a county which we have not really explored very much as yet.
We wanted to get to Cairn Holy, a Neolithic burial site just off the A75, to the east of Newton Stewart. This meant driving past at least three ruined castles or tower houses which took quite a lot of determination!
Snowdrops in the woodland verges and banks had fully opened out in the sunshine. There’s something very precious about carpets of snowdrops – spring isn’t here, but life is returning.
Just before Carsluith, a brown Historic Scotland sign marks a turning onto a minor road which winds its potholed way up into the hills for about a mile. This takes you to a small grassy car park, and in the field is Cairn Holy I – the first of two burial chambers, guarded by standing stones.
We spent quite a while at Cairn Holy I, getting the feel of the place and talking to an American guy called Joseph who is making a detailed study of the shadows of the stones as they progress across the site; he also knows the position of the sun and moon as they rise and set over Cairn Holy through the seasons.
Then, just a couple of hundred yards up the track is Cairn Holy II…
I shall certainly have to tell you more about these amazing places on The Hazel Tree!
This is the view from the path as we walked back down, looking south across Wigtown Bay…
Having re-joined the A75 we stopped to wander on a beach that we could see from the road, but in fact it was a bit too marshy to get there. Curlews were calling from the shore, the breeze was gentle, and it was – dare I say it – even a little warm.
But as we approached the M74 again to head back up north, the hills around Moffat were still wearing the last remnants of snow.
Now those old tower houses are calling me back!
Photos copyright © Colin & Jo Woolf