Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve
Above image shows the former railway viaduct.
Today, I was grateful for having taken the trouble to bring my bike with me to the part of Galloway in SW Scotland where we are staying. This gave me the freedom to explore the nearby Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve.
This Reserve is loacted in the Galloway Hills, one of the wildest and remote corners of SW Scotland. The region, dominated by an imposing granite hill, offers a taste of the Scottish wilderness with views over the Cree estuary and vistas stretching towards the English Lake District, Ireland and north to Ayrshire.The heath, heather moorland and blanket bog supports a wide range of wildlife such red and black grouse, hares, wild goats, red deer, the occasional golden eagle and intriguing plant life.
My short, 2-3 hour bike trip took me along well constructed forest trails, mainly passing through commercial conifer plantations. Key benefit here was seclusion: I encountered just two cyclists and one motor vehicle. The only negative is paucity of signage to guide along the network of trails.
The images above and below tell my story.
Here is an image of a local castle (c.15th century) which is actually inhabited.
Local landscape image taken en-route to the Reserve.
Group of artists with Reserve in background
Scottish oak tree inside the Reserve
Landscape view taken inside the Reserve
Typical road within the Reserve.
Landscape view from within the Reserve
River/stream flowing within the Reserve
There was a good harvest of blackberries on side of the roads.
This viaduct carried the railway which arrived in 1860 but is no longer operating.
Another aspect of the River Fleet.
Overall, this was an excellent trip but I am struggling to understand how the intensive, non-native conifer plantations benefit the environment.