High Auchenlarie - October 2012 - Notes in Grey Weather.
Three days and nights of unrelenting rain have rendered what is normally a well-drained, steeply-sloping pleasant field of springy upland pasture into a flowing quagmire of muddy goo. My climbing boots skite left and right as I clamber up like a novice ice-skater. The possible "cairn" lies uphill, in the top right corner of the first field above High Auchenlarie Farm (best park at the wide point below the farm road-end where the Auchenlarie Burn flows under the Laggan Outdoor Centre B-road). Follow the track up from the minor road and turn left through a metal gate just before the farm.
The “cairn” is disappointing, being formed of a number of large slabs and boulders dumped on top of a low mound of smaller stones. It is not quite a metre high now. The whole thing looks exactly like a low pile of field clearance and the fields around here are full of such field clearance cairns – some much larger. The views down over the roofs of the static caravans at Mossyard and out over Fleet Bay to Wigtown Bay and beyond are spectacular. The view hung like an apocalyptic storm-scene as painted by a depressed Turner, nursing the mother of all hangovers. I have seen this site in beautiful summer and autumn weathers many times and the views out to the Isle of Man are spectacular. The walk over from Cambret over Cairnharrow and Barholm Hill via Cauldside takes in a few sites well off the track and worth of a few hours stiff walking. Half a mile or so above the disputed cairn in unimproved hill-sheep land is a spectacular cairn, quite undisturbed and standing over 10 feet high proud and confident of what it is. Not this place though. Without excavation I think it must remain a site of disputed antiquity – albeit one surrounded by authentic sites and with an outlook worthy of Galloway’s best.
The cup and ring marked outcrop 15 yards SW is well turfed up and once the deluge started again I quit and slithered back down the hill to my car. I'll take my trowel the next dry day I am up there!