|Almorness Point Walk|
The Almorness Point Walk
Difficulty rating: easy at first then more strenuous.
Distance: About 4.5 miles
Time: Approx. 3 hours
Map: OS Explorer 313 – NX 822543
NB. This is not a difficult walk but please take note of the following. The first part of the walk is easy going and also easy to follow. The return route from the Point is quite strenuous and does not have a single clear path to follow. It is generally a case of following the line of Auchencairn Bay/Orchardton Bay in a NW direction and picking out one of the several paths heading in that direction. If you have any doubts about your ability to navigate the terrain then your walk is best completed by returning along the outbound route to the start point.
This is an excellent walk within the East Stewartry Coast National Scenic Area that does not feature in most of the walking guides for the Auchencairn area. There are several great features of the walk that include:
· a secluded bay with almost white sand and views to the English Lake District.
· the nearest viewpoint from the mainland of Hestan Island and the “rack” (if low tide).
· an expansive view of Auchencairn Bay with Bengairn and Screel as a backdrop.
The Start point of the walk is from a car parking area that has kindly been provided at the entrance to the Almorness Estate. When travelling on the A711 from Dalbeattie direction there is a crossroads located approx. 1 mile past Palnackie with a brown Tourist Information sign indicating “Orchardton Tower”. Turn into that road and travel for approx. 1 mile to reach a “T” junction where you turn right. The car parking is approx. ½ mile on the left hand side. Travelling from Auchencairn, the same crossroads is reached in 3 miles and it is a right turn towards Orchardton Tower.
Leaving the car park, walk along the road that passes through the estate gateway, then the continuing track that will eventually (after approx. ½ mile) bring you to Almorness House. This is the white building on the left in a slightly elevated position. Here you take the track to the right that leads to a footpath gate giving access into the wood. It is then simply a case of following the wide track along its length until reaching Horse Isles Bay.
This is quite a pleasant location, looking towards Kippford, but is really a “taster” for the next bay to be reached.
Walk towards the far end of Horse Isles Bay where you will pick up a track turning to the right and into quite a wet area. Depending on the time of year and recent rainfall etc. will usually determine just how wet the path actually is. Sometimes it is very wet and you may find that you will have to follow an alternative route that has been trampled down by previous walkers. However, persevere and continue in the general direction of the main path for approx. ¼ mile until coming to a second bay, called White Port. This bay has, by far, the best beach in the area and on a bright sunny day it could easily be taken for a Continental beach; it really does make the whole walk worthwhile.
You will doubtless wish to spend some time on this beach before continuing and you can either follow your original route in reverse or continue the circular walk.
If continuing, then head to the far end of the beach where you will find a path to the right that takes you off the beach and climbs up to the headland that is Almorness Point. There are many sheep tracks to the left that can also serve as footpaths and, keeping the line of the coast to your left (whilst maintaining height) you should head towards the panorama view of Hestan Island and Auchencairn Bay.
Turning away from the headland you will shortly pass through a gate and the rule of thumb from hereon is to maintain a path that generally follows the line of the edge of the bays. It is impossible to be specific due to the nature of the terrain, which is mainly “scrubland” and the variety of apparent footpaths are, in the main, just sheep tracks. Your point of aim is an area of grassland to the left of a ridge that is reached by passing through a gateway set into a wall and then onto a path that is much more distinct.
If you encounter a path that also branches to the right then you should continue towards the left. Eventually, you will come to a narrow strip of field that has woodland on each side and a wall running the length of the field on the left hand side. The route is easy from now on and you simply follow the wall until you come to a point where the field drops away in front of you. As you walk downhill you cross towards the right hand side of the field and then make a gateway your point of aim. Through the gate and towards another gate and you will reach the track near to Almorness House where you turn left to walk back to the car parking area.
The attached photograph may help with regard to navigating the last part of the route.