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Dumfries & Galloway Walks

Carlingwark Loch

Date: 5th Aug 2015
Distance: 4 miles
Ascent: None
Time: 1 hour 40 mins
With: Lisa
Start Grid Ref: NX766623

Walk Summary:
A pleasant if wet walk from Castle Douglas around the edges of Carlingwark Loch.

Route Summary: Academy Street - Queen Street - Marle Street - Carlingwark Loch - Whitepark Road - Carlingwark Loch - Lovers Walk - Mid Kelton - King Street - Carlingwark Loch - Marle Street - Queen Street - Academy Street

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Swans on Carlingwark Loch
Looking across Carlingwark Loch towards Bengairn and Screel
A corner of Carlingwark Loch
An inscribed stone marking the start of the Lovers Walk
A nice section of the Lovers Walk alongside Carlingwark Loch
Lilypads on Carlingwark Loch as seen from the bird hide
Lisa on the duckboards crossing one of the fields to the south of the loch
The Douglas Mausoleum in memory of Sir William Douglas who in 1792 founded the town of Castle Douglas
A small wooded islet on Carlingwark Loch, some of these islets are thought to have originally been crannogs
Raindrops on Carlingwark Loch

Walk Detail: For our week's holiday in Galloway I'd chosen to stay in Castle Douglas where we'd rented the pink house at 45 Academy Street. At some point during the week I thought that the circular walk around Carlingwark Loch would make a nice venue for a family walk. As it happened the day we finally did it was not only mine and Lisa's 20th wedding anniversary but also the wettest day of the week.

In the end only Lisa and I set off to do the walk, Rhiannon really wasn't in the mood so we left her at the house with the grandparents. It had rained most of the morning so we waited until late afternoon to set off when it looked to be getting drier. There was no escaping the rain however and about five minutes after reaching the lochside it started heaving it down.

Carlingwark Loch is an attractive sheet of water with a number of small wooded islands that are thought to have originally been crannogs, late Bronze Age and Iron Age dwellings built on the water. The loch is also supposed to be a good place for spotting numerous birds but most were probably taking shelter from the rain and all we really saw were numerous swans.

The finest section of the walk was undoubtedly the 'Lovers Walk' along the eastern side of the loch. A stone inscription as the path regains the loch from Whitepark Road commemorates the opening of the Lovers Walk in 2004 by Lieutenant General Sir Norman Arthur and his wife Lady Arthur. Part way along, at a junction, a short path led to a bird hide which gave us some temporary respite from the rain.

Continuing on the main path left the loch behind to traverse some marshy pastures via some duckboards. These eventually led to a drier path between cow and sheep pastures. Given some of my recent experiences of cows I was relieved that they were all on the other side of the wall to the path.

The next stage involved a road walk through Mid Kelton, the most interesting feature of which was a large mausoleum which contains remains of 25 members of the Douglas family, including the Sir William Douglas who in 1792 founded the town of Castle Douglas. A bit further on we passed the entrance to Threave Gardens before finally rejoining the lochside on a broad footpath alongside the B736 and then eventually back to the house.

The distance given of four miles was from the house we were staying in but half a mile can be knocked off by starting from the car park by the Lochside campsite or by parking on the roadside next to the loch. It is a nice easy walk and one which we enjoyed despite getting soaked. It is definitely worth an hour and a half or so of anyone's time if they are staying in Castle Douglas.

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