Film Star Viaduct, Sculptures, Eagles and much more………..
About half way between Gatehouse of Fleet and Creetown on the B96 lies a hidden gem – The Big Water of Fleet Viaduct.
The viaduct lies within the Cairnsmore of Fleet National Natural Nature Reserve which includes one of the three “Cairnsmores” in South West Scotland – Cairnsmore of Fleet.
For today though, we are concentrating on a short walk known as the Inbye Walk. This walk takes only about 45 minutes and passes the viaduct.
After stopping off in Gatehouse of Fleet for a coffee at the Mill on the Fleet, we drove for about 6 miles along the narrow road to Creetown pausing from time to time to take in the superb views. A short distance off to the right is the excellent SNH Visitor Centre at Dromore. The centre contains a wealth of information about the geology, flora and fauna of the area. There are hidden sculptures by Matt Baker around the area of the walk. The Visitor Centre gives some details about them but they are very hard to find!
The Inbye walk itself starts at the Visitor Centre and heads for the viaduct. This is no ordinary viaduct – it has played a supporting role in none other than Alfred Hitchcock`s 1935 version of The 39 Steps by John Buchan. Not only that but it also appeared in Five Red Herrings, part of a BBC Lord Peter Wimsey series.
The 300 yard viaduct with its 20 arches carried the Portpatrick & Wigtownshire Joint Railway, which ran westward from Castle Douglas , over the Big Water of Fleet. Sadly, the line which opened in 1861 closed in 1965.
The walking track passes right under the arches of the Viaduct (watch out for falling bricks). Ahead of you, you will see some crumbled walls – there are the ruins of a medieval croft called Cullendoch and if you look carefully, you may find a sculpure called Heart.
Head off to the left and ascend to what was the railway track Follow the line and look out for another sculpture where there is a shallow cutting.The track passes a stile on the right from where, if you have a mind to, you can extend your walk over the craggy tops of the “Clints of Dromore”. These outcrops are pathless and are for experienced walkers only. They do offer great views however and the chance to spot another sculpture!
Another path is access through a gate on the left ( beside an interpretation board). Follow this path via a boardwalk back to the road to the Visitor Centre.
There is so much to see in such a short space of time. Apart from the Visitor Centre itself, the viaduct and the sculptures, you may see, depending on the time of year, birds such as :-
Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Snipe, Grouse, Hen harrier – possibly even a Golden Eagle if you are very lucky!
We can`t recommend this walk and area highly enough and we can`t wait to make a return visit.