Friday, December 27, 2013

Boxing Day 2013: Walking the Wamphray Water

The Laverhay Burn runs past Laverhay Farm at the end of the metalled road heading north in Wamphray Parish. I had explored the northern parish boundary in an outing back in 2009 to find Cowan Fell, and the ruins of Garrogill Cottage (see here and here). That day I came in from the north off the Southern Upland Way. The area between Garrogill and Laverhay I had not previously explored. Boxing Day 2013, with a reasonable weather forecast, seemed a good day to try out the legs!

The Wamphray Water is in the valley on the left as a good track takes me towards Laverhay Forest.

The gate marks the boundary of Laverhay Forest.

 Tress uprooted in the recent storms.

Lots of evidence of wind damage.

Nature doing what it does best - seedlings growing alongside the forest track.

The track towards Garrogill should follow the Wamphray Water. It's down this way, off the good forestry track, easy to miss!

Here we are!

I suspected the ford might be impassable, and indeed it looked far too risky, so I decided that my path towards Garrogill was blocked. Good reason to return another day. Now, where to have lunch?

A special place on the bank of the Wamphray Water!

Time to contemplate with the water hurling down the stream, eventually to join the Annan, and flow past Skip. A year ago I feared I would never be able to do even simple walks like this one today. I have Dr Mike McMahon, Consultant Rheumatologist at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, to thank for giving me back my life. Fingers crossed there will be many more walks in 2014.

Into the clouds on a still, mild day. I was hoping it might clear, but it didn't. A return visit to the top of Cowan Fell was postponed. The forest hereabouts was for sale recently, see here.

So there was time for a bit of nature study:

I'm pretty sure this is a lichen called Cladonia portentosa.

Is this the same lichen, apparently growing on a nearby tree?

This substantial dry stane dyke reminds the walker of the days before the forest was planted some 30-40 years ago. I suspect that when the time comes for the trees to get harvested, which will be soon, the roads through Wamphray may get somewhat busier! 

Old maps have the site of a pre-Reformation chapel near here, where the Glengap Burn joins the Wamphray Water, see here. The area is named Chapel Lea. There used to be a path on the left of the burn, over the top to Beldcraig Glen.

Nearly done, the end of an enjoyable day. A welcome red dot in the distance is my ride home.

Photos © Skip Cottage


  1. Hi Bob - you've reminded me of a wonderful walk a friend and I did back in the 1970's. We were dropped on the the Moffat/Wamphray road, and made our way up over Dundoran and then over Windshield Hill down to the earthwork by Laverhay, then home along the Wamphray Water as far as we could go (Leithenhall if I remember rightly) and then into Wamphray Post Office for some much needed chocolate and then back to Orchard via Jocksthorn and the riverbank. An epic walk! Thank you so much for reminding me.
    Take care and a Happy New Year.