10.13 miles 4h 20m ascent 179m
Big Water of Fleet to Skerrow Halt (and back)
Winter’s winds chilled the air and days of rain had saturated the ground. 2o22 had arrived with an unwelcome plus-one, the Omicron Variant, so car sharing bit the dust. But we were not to be deterred. Setting our teeth, and stretching our nostrils wide, we held hard our breath, donned winter coats (human and dog alike) and set out for Skerrow Halt. Well, I set off intending to walk from the Big Water of Fleet to the Little Water of Fleet. But Audrey convinced me to go the extra mile. The phrase “extra mile” being figurative rather than literal, referring to the additional 4.07 miles required to visit Skerrow Halt.
I won’t go into the history of viaduct (extant but disused) at Big Water of Fleet, the viaduct (demolished) at Little Water of Fleet, the Railway station (demolished) at Skerrow Halt or the etymology of Skerrow, all of which are covered in previous posts, Skerrow Halt (2011), Skerrow Halt Again (2018), Skerrow Halt Yet Again (2020) and Frae the Big Brig tae the Auld Halt (2020).
The disused railway we walked along had been overgrown and impassable when I had walked from Stroan Loch to Skerrow in 2011. It is now open from Mossdale to Gatehouse Station. (Don’t get confused, Gatehouse Station is six miles from Gatehouse of Fleet). We walked westwards from the viaduct to Gatehouse station the previous week, so today’s walk eastwards was an obvious next step.
The walk is along forestry tracks all the way and follows the old railway line except where it diverts to cross the Big Waters of Fleet, the viaduct being closed to walkers, and Little Water of Fleet, where an alternative bridge is needed, the old viaduct having been blown up by the army. They only new thing we noticed is a walker’s gate that has been installed next to the vehicle gate a mile west of Skerrow Halt.
I didn’t miss an opportunity to examine and photograph one of the dry stone walls along the way. (And I’ll insert something about it here once I’ve read my tome on dry stone walls).
A good day out with good weather and great views. And even though it was a there and back route is wasn’t boring. It had been a while since a longish walk though and it left me with stiffened sinews the next day.