Duke of Edinburgh Award Expedition 13 to 16 Oct 1967
End of Day 1 – 13 Oct to 14 Oct 1967
Location Forest Bridge near Loch Doon
We had had a long first day and camped in a “perfect” location. The rain had started at 1930 that night it had been a long day for the group of 4 including me as a 14 year old. (Myself and my pal John Gibson would do two days each) were there for two days each to make up a group of 4 on their Duke of Edinburgh Award 50 mile expedition.
We had put up our tent about 20 feet from the river and made tea when our Primus stove had packed in a washer had perished. This was a disaster as the small Gas stove would not cope.
Luckily a car rumbled over the new bridge and the driver was asked to call Ayr and get a replacement coming out the next day. We would be changing over the young ones me for John Gibson at Loch Enoch.
This was already planned and the assessor would meet us. We were both to young according to the powers that be to complete the 4 days.
This was 1967 before mobile phones and easy contact. We packed into the tents then it rained heavily from about 1930.
Then the fun started.
The river in flood.
This perfect campsite was where all the rivers fed from the Lochs joined the Carrick Lane and fed Loch Doon.
“The rain continues and the tent Pole breaks.The river had risen 5 feet”
During the night it rained even more then the tent pole broke and things got worse.
Waking up soaked in the middle of the night the water was now 3 feet from the tent.There was no option but to get out. I can remember that night we were lucky that we grabbed what we could in the dark and headed for higher ground.
Seemingly I said “that we would soon be floating away in in our sleeping bags” just before we left the tents.
According to the write up our torches were pathetic yet we found a building outhouse about 3/4 of a mile away at 0515 where we tried to sort out our gear.
We hardly slept and got out our gaz stove and waited for dawn.
Unable to sleep two of the boys went back to the tents which were under water and brought some eggs and food back from the higher ground. We met the owner of the outhouse we had moved into and he offered us help but we had to move on to Glen Trool.
It was then back to the tents the rain had stopped we packed up all the gear soaked and headed off to the Head of Loch Doon.
We met a gentleman who lives alone at the head of the Loch. He advised us to keep West of the thundering Gala keeping as high as possible as it was so wet. After passing the Sloch we altered the route following the first stream up Mullwarcher and kept round the West of the hill. This was roughly the level of Loch Enoch and was exhausting ground. It was steep and full of boulders. We managed a short dinner once we were past this it was well needed and the ground got worse.
We were behind schedule now but we’re so glad when we could see a figure at Loch Enoch on the far shore. Hopefully this would be our assessor with a stove ?
This is hard ground no paths then and we were soaked carrying wet tents wet gear and so hungry.
We travelled the last to Miles as best we could the light was fading and it was now 1700 we met our Assessor Walter Ballie at Sharg cottage.
Walter had brought us a stove and was taking me back he was being replaced by John Gibson in the morning.
Myself and Walter still had to walk to Glen Trool a long, long way for an exhausted 14 year old . Time was not with us it was dark soon so we left the boys with the new stove soaked but still up for it.
It was a finish in the dark for me and I bet I slept all the way home. What a few days on the hill.
The walk out a long way.
It was great to get this part of the tale the boys still had two days to go poor souls. Yet looking back I remember bits of these two days.
They would say “Character building ” yet I loved it even the getting wet the lack of sleep I was hooked.
From Galloway MRT website
“The walker should note, with the possible exception of the popular tourist path to Merrick and the picturesque Gairland Burn path, clear paths are very few and far between. Deer, goat and sheep trails can often be used to advantage but all too frequently the way lies across grassy, heather- strewn, bracken covered, or rocky surfaces and the multiplicity of burns, albeit extremely attractive, can present a problem after heavy rain”