Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blue Skies and Concrete Roads

In the walks I make around Skip, this is my favourite tree, especially in winter. The old beech was looking great yesterday.

Locals around Wamphray no longer drive in straight lines. Most have learned where the worst of the potholes are and weave to avoid them. I have to pass this one most days and I keep forgetting about it especially after dark!

The best 'roads' in the area are in a most unlikely place - on the moorland accessed by the minor road that goes over to Boreland from Wamphray Bridge.

These concrete 'roads' are more than sixty years old, dating from World War 2. I'm rather fascinated by their history. Apparently, there was an artillery range up on the moors, said to be used by tanks. I've tried to find out more information. The helpful librarians at the Ewart Library in Dumfries were able to confirm the existence of a range (called the Gillesbie range (?), after the big house near Boreland), and I was able to look at a map which showed the existence of a 'trackway' on the moorland. This may have been to allow moving targets to be shot at.

I've yet to discover more details about the use of the range despite local enquiries, and searches on the Web. I'll keep at it.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, that I went investigating. This is looking north from Winshields Hill. (Or should it be Windshiels, the name of a nearby house.)

These buildings date from the 1940s. But the forest plantation on the left is where the secret is hidden.

Here is the current satellite view, courtesy of Google maps. The looped route of the 'trackway' can still be seen.

I wasn't expecting to find evidence of any 'trackway' after all these years. Indeed, the trees have all been planted since the war ended. But here is the evidence. It makes sense that the trackway would be in a ditch, sunken from view, with the targets, whatever they were, held aloft.

Certainly, the line of the sunken trackway is quite evident. It's a bit of a spooky place I have to admit, but I did have a close encounter with a rather splendid fox which looked at me rather curiously!

Here is another concrete road on the south edge of the plantation.

End of a good day.

Photos © Skip Cottage, except as indicated.

1 comment:

  1. Bob,

    Did you find anything more out about this place in the Windshields