Another trip to the Galloway Hills provided the chance
to go to the southern section at Cairnsmore of Fleet and explore the
tracks that lead north to the waters at Clatteringshaws. Part of the
ride was to explore the 'disused railway' marked on the map that held
the promise of an intersting ride.
Still, there are miles
of forest trails to make up for the railway!
Loch Fleet, mentioned at the start of this report had not been the original destination, I had planned simply to ride North from the little visitors centre at Cairnsmore where there is parking for a few cars. The aim was to have a cup of tea at the Clatteringshaws cafe and then enjoy a long down hill ride back.
After riding under the impressive railway viaduct which spans the Fleet the trail heads straight into the forest. There is a single pole barrier which is often locked. Once past the barrier take the first right and you are heading north through the undulating and gently climbing landscape.
In places the forest is all that can be seen. The trail leads away into the distance with thick forest planting on either side. A GPS is often useful to keep track as everywhere looks like everywhere else. You can't really get lost hear just stick to the foreatry track, keep going and you will eventually hit tarmac.
The rain had stayed away, the sun was shining and I had the place to myself. Evidence of large clearances by the forestry workers could be seen but no one was working today, the forest was silent.
After stopping at Loch Grannoch for a breather and to admire the view I pedalled northward towards Clatteringshaws. I was getting a little fed up of the way the forest planting closed in around the track so it was a case of out with the map and see what else there was of interest.
If I reversed the route, and enjoyed some high speed
freewheeling too, a track leading away to the east looked interesting.
More climbing as the track leads steadily upwards, on the map (OS Outdoor Leisure 32 - Galloway Forest Park) Loch Fleet is at 330 metres, it felt more but who am I to argue with the OS.
The forest trails are undulating as they climb steadily up towards the turning which leads to the tiny loch. The trail to the loch is overgrown and little travelled, as you near Loch Fleet the material is quite sandy and does not offer a lot of grip, take care.
Loch Fleet is not the busiest place in Scotland. You could
find yourself all alone up there. The only regular visitors will be
scientists who come to inspect the weather monitoring equipment. A small
stream runs out of Loch Fleet and makes it way to join other streams
to become the Little Water of Fleet.
All in all a good days ride, not a circular
route which is what I would have prefered but worthy of the effort.