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About Deviant Official Beta Tester DavidMale/United Kingdom Groups :iconinfrared-club: Infrared-Club
Extra-Visible Imaging
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Wild Walking

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 11, 2016, 10:41 PM
Some of you probably know that I spend quite a bit of time at my cottage in the village of Auchencairn in Dumfries and Galloway, in the South-West of Scotland. Over the years I've postd a few images from the locality, recently my account of the great Dog Show in the village.  Auchencairn Dog Show I thought I'd expand the vision of the region by looking at some of the wilder areas to be found in the Galloway Forest Park…, a very large area extending over about 1/4 of Dumfries and Galloway and containing magnificent hills and lochs, forests and valleys. This area is often referred to as "Scotland in miniature", a reference to the wild hills and lochs, the geology and geography being reminiscent of the Highlands of Scotland, far to the North. I have to say that the highest of the hills are only just over 2000 feet high, so we are not talking Rockies, Alps or Himalayas here, not even the heights of the Highlands. But, nevertheless, the countryside is rugged, and renowned for its demanding hikes. The weather can change in a matter of minutes, mist and wind are two particular hazards, and rain is the norm. There are access tracks for heavy duty four-wheel drive vehicles, but otherwise walking is the way in and out, and anything resembling a main road will be many, many miles distant.

These photographs are a compilation from two walks to the area around Loch Dee, the source of the River Dee that flows through much of the county to emerge at Kirkcudbright, a still important port, artistic and leisure centre in Scotland. En route to Loch Dee, you can drive along the rough track known as the Raider's Road, past Stroan Loch which in the very early morning affords some beautiful views of mist rising from the water.

 Stroan Loch Early Morning Mist 1 by Okavanga

Rough driving continues until the car has to be parked and the hike along forest trails starts. After a few miles along one track, you can look back down over Loch Dee, nestled in the hills and surrounded by the forestry. A feature of the hills hereabouts is their curious names. For example, looking at the detailed view below the hill immediately behind the loch has the prosaic name of White Hill, but the more rugged peak behind is Curliwee. Looking closely at either of the images shows a stream winding its way down to the bottom left. That is the start of the River Dee, although at this point it is known as the Black Water of Dee. The next image shows the stream about 2 miles down from its source.

  Loch Dee Overview by Okavanga  Loch Dee Detail by Okavanga

Black Water of Dee by Okavanga

Walking along another track, and then veering off road down through marsh land and forestry brings you to the lochside, next image, from which there is a magnificent view along a valley that, if walked, would take you to Loch Trool and the remote fastness that was the site of King Robert the Bruce's hideout and a famous battle victory against the English in the 1300s. The pimple of a peak seen in the distance is Mulldonoch, if my map reading is correct. Loch Dee is not particularly large by way of Scottish lochs, but it has one curious feature seen in but a very few lochs in the locality - "silver sand" beaches, next image. Note the striations in the sand from waves lapping at different levels. I'm not sure of the geological origin of such sand, but its whiteness suggests almost pure quartz. The wider question is why should there be any and at all? Undoubtedly this arises from the geological history of glaciation, 15000-30000 years ago when this whole area was covered in ice sheets. Sand would have arisen as a result of rocks (with a high quartz content), being crushed and eroded by the moving glaciers. For those interested in the geological history of the area here is a marvellous link…. One final point about the sand photo. Keen eyes might spot a kelpie that has emerged from the water and taken human shape.

Loch Dee and Mulldonoch by Okavanga   Loch Dee Beach and Curliwee by Okavanga

Back to our first track and further evidence of glaciation - McWhann's Stone seen in the next shot. Although now in two large pieces, this is a glacial erratic, a (huge) boulder moved by glacial action, and deposited when the glaciers retreated. Over the millenia since then weathering, particularly freezing ice and thawing, has taken its toll on the stone, splitting it into these two components, each of which are being slowing broken by the same cycle of weather.

McWhann's Stone by Okavanga

There is a fascinating story about the origin of the name of the stone. For a good account see here… In essence, Adam MacQwhan was a Scottish Covenanter summarily executed by the English in 1685, and this stone is thought to be a monument to him.  

You can see the forest of fir trees rising behind McWhann's Stone, and those trees are part of the main industry of the region - forestry. The region is scared by large areas of cropped trees, with residual weathered timber debris, amongst which there are large numbers of glacial erratics, although not so large as McWhann's Stone. While no doubt an eyesore, forestry is an essential industry, a commercial necessity working on a rough 25 year cycle of planting, growing, and harvesting. However, even the forestry has it curiosities. Every so often you come across a lone tree, sometimes dead, sometimes alive, like the silver birch in the next shot, amongst the debris from a harvested area. Have the loggers just missed these? The answer appears to be that, by law, occasional trees must be left for birds of passage, as markers and food sources perhaps. So the next time you see a lonesome pine, think bird stop!

Once They Were Trees by Okavanga  Silver Birch by Okavanga

Onward along the track for a few more miles and you come to, well, a bog! Perhaps not the most fascinating images you are likely to see, but yet one of the most important sites of scientific interest in the UK. This is the Silver Flowe, a floating or quivering bog, some 5000 years old and home to: "A mosaic of bogland plants, along with a notable range of butterflies and dragonflies, make this the most stunning upland bog in the south west."…

Silver Flowe by Okavanga  Silver Flowe and Dungeon Hill by Okavanga

We ventured out to the wooden markers seen in the mid distance of the first photograph at which point I snapped the cliffs and rise of Dungeon Hill on the other side. But, as the water of the bog had started to overlap our boots we retreated. The bog is said to be "fragile" - that means that you are likely to sink through the surface and disappear into its depths! Lest you think bog photographs pretty boring, the reserve has some beautiful views such as  Cooran Lane, the waterway that connects a loch further up the valley to Black Water of Fleet, and which helps drain the Silver Flowe. In the background are Snibe Hill on the left and another of the famous peaks in the range known as the Rhinns of Kells, Craignaw, in the centre. If you are interested in a more thorough account of walking in this region then this link is well worth following…

Craignaw and Snibe Hil by Okavanga

Finally, I'll leave you with another shot of morning mist on Stroan Loch.

Stroan Loch Early Morning Mist 2 by Okavanga

That's all for now, Folks. I hope you enjoyed the stories and wild walking of this excursion.


David aka Okavanga 

PS - If you want to see some images of the real Highlands of Scotland, visit Oriole piglet365 and her group :iconhighland-photography:. Oriole lives up North and has many a super shot of mountains high and valleys deep.

Also, lonelywolf2 LordLJCornellPhotos and adamsalwanowicz  all have some fantastic landscape shots of Scottish mountains, 

This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beastand modified by Okavanga

Journal History


United Kingdom
Scientist, scholar, philosopher, writer, photographer, traveller, sportsman, oenophile, whisky drinker, beer imbiber, cat lover, art historian, walker, driver, reader, computer geek, TV watcher, music listener, photo editor, Web contributor, enjoyer of good food, expert witness, industrial consultant, legal advisor, problem solver, analyst, chemist, information retrieval expert, sometime rider, runner, keep-fit addict, hypocrisy hater, politician loather, altogether - a devious deviant.

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Has anyone else been getting this nag screen when they come to login? As  a core member I pay not to have adverts, so why does this even show. But, more importantly, how does DA even know that I have an ad blocker? DA must be scanning my browser settings, and I'm not sure that I agreed to that.

DA Nag Screen by Okavanga

Update 23062016.

I've just found out how to block the nag screen using - Adblock. Easy Peasy when you know how. So, please do not do this DA - I think it is an invasion of my privacy to search my browser settings and extensions, and especially annoying in that I am a Core Member and pay for not having ads.
I expect everyone backs up their important work that they post here on DA (and if you don't you should!) Photographs are easy, and mine are backed up on various computer hard drives and on Google Drive. However, I am currently trying to back up the Journals and Features that I have written on DA. Does anyone else do this, and if so how do you do it? Currently, I've found a fairly robust method of printing to a pdf file. That then gets sent to my computer and I can then further back that up. However, pdf files store images as links to the original site, so that when I open one of my pdf Journals the photos are there but as links back here. Has anyone got a better method?


Okavanga has started a donation pool!
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I have opened this donation pool for contributions to maintain the Super Group status of the Infrared-Club (Extra-Visible Imaging). Any amount of points would be much appreciated. In return you will receive a mention on the Group's Home Page, on this page, and faves of your work to be displayed on this page. Extra large donations will receive a feature on the Group's Home Page.

Many Thanks


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Recent Faves - October/November 2015

Many thanks to everyone who has been faving my images while I have been off on safari in Tanzania. Given the amount of activity, I'm not able to thank you individually, but I really do appreciate your support.



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Add a Comment:
Placi1 Featured By Owner 4 hours ago
Thank you so much for the faves, David!!

Gerda1946 Featured By Owner 6 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the faves David! :D :heart:
minamiko Featured By Owner 2 days ago  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for your fave !  :)
Okavanga Featured By Owner 2 days ago
My pleasure.

MYPeanutGallery Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Summer Love Dance by KmyGraphic

Thanks for the Fave!
Okavanga Featured By Owner 4 days ago
MYPeanutGallery Featured By Owner 5 days ago
BlueButterflies by KmyGraphic

Thanks for the Fave!
Okavanga Featured By Owner 4 days ago
thewolfcreek Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the fav David...appreciated...
Okavanga Featured By Owner 5 days ago
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