Cornish Hill, Ayrshire

Happy 2020 everyone! Yes, I’m only a month late as I intended posting this on New Year’s Day. I was a little lost for words, they just weren’t coming to me at all. I would write something, then delete it, then I gave up.

Now that we’ve finally said farewell to January, the longest month ever, I’m attempting this again. I’ve really missed my outdoor therapy and being creative on my blog and other channels. I lost motivation, time and energy to be creative the past year, as you can see with a lack of blog posts.

Fatigue, achy joints and other health issues stopped me from doing what I need and love. At one point I was struggling to get through each day, week, month, for even just the basic things. My battery was running on low most days and sometimes wouldn’t recharge. When you’re juggling too much something has to drop.

The winter months are more difficult to get motivated with darkness falling so early, don’t you think? It’s dark here in Ayrshire about 5pm at the moment. One good thing about this is sometimes we get see the most beautiful sunsets and skies when driving home from work. A sunset always makes me smile.

I thought this year I’d try walking regularly again and see if I can keep it up. A small hill to start the new year I thought. Somewhere that’s not too far away to travel.

Last year you might remember I hiked Conic Hill at Loch Lomond on New Year’s day. It was so busy with people doing the same thing. This New Year’s Day I chose a small hill called Cornish Hill (158m) in the Galloway Forest Park, Ayrshire. It was Hogmanay we ventured out though, 31 December 2019. This was the only day over the festive holidays that was forecast sunshine all day.

We drove through the lovely wee village of Straiton in South Ayrshire. The village dates back to the 18th century with some beautiful walks to explore too. In fact a few months ago I thought I’d test my fitness and hike up to Straiton Monument which is perched on a steep hill.

Straiton Monument, South Ayrshire

It’s a short, but steep climb to the monument and proved to be tough going with my legs and knees so painful all the way. As we sometimes say in Scotland, “you’ll just have to grin and bear it”, meaning to accept it without complaining as there’s nothing else you can do about it.

Determination got me through but it made me realise how rusty and tired I really was. I still got to enjoy these wonderful views though and it was a clear day! A few positives balancing out the negatives 😀

View across Ayrshire from Straiton Monument
View across Ayrshire from Straiton Monument

Back to our Hogmanay walk. After a captivating drive along the Newton Stewart Road in South Ayrshire we reached the Stinchar Bridge car park in the Galloway Forest Park.

As soon as we arrived, I knew this was going to be just what I needed. The sun was shining making the winter colours glow, but the shaded areas were still white with frost. What a beautiful picture indeed. I felt emotional.

Stinchar Bridge, South Ayrshire

It was quiet with only a few humans in sight. I was craving peace and tranquillity for my first challenge of the year.

Waterfall at Stinchar Bridge, South Ayrshire

This circular walk is around 5km, but my Garmin recorded over 6km. We enjoyed a slow wander through the woodlands then out into the wild open hills to the top of Cornish Hill with views to Cornish Loch.

Cornish Hill Trail, South Ayrshire

I managed the walk better than I thought, using a walking pole this time which helped ease any potential pain. I didn’t even feel short of breath, so this made me feel happier. This was a good day.

You can find out more about the walking route on the Walk Highlands website.

I created this short video of the Cornish Hill Trail. No words needed.

Cornish hill trail video

I hope you enjoyed the video, a small snapshot of a beautifully unique and wild landscape in South West Scotland.

The Còig

I’d also like to tell you about five new touring routes in South West Scotland. If you’re ever thinking of visiting this area, check out The Coig website. Còig means five in Scottish Gaelic, and covers:

  • The Shire
  • The Shiel
  • The Arran
  • The Bute
  • The Cumbrae

The website has a wealth of information on what to see and do, outdoors, eat and drink, stay, events and festivals. There’s also an app you can download to plan your visit and create a travel journey.

I’m going to try and explore some of these routes this year as there’s still so much I haven’t seen that’s right on my doorstep. Love where you live 💙

Thanks for reading, have a lovely Sunday everyone.

Love, Dawn-Marie x

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