Col Hunter Blair’s Monument – Straiton S. Ayrshire

Finally anticipating getting out of lockdown sometime soon I hauled myself up a wee local hill.

My first forays into Galloway Forest Park were to see the wonder of the dark skies at night. Soon the road became well travelled as I started to find out more about the area. Galloway Forest Park is a huge area of wild countryside interspersed with tiny villages and farm houses. One of the first things I noticed during my first trip in daylight was a huge obelisk type monument sitting up on a hill above the village of Straiton. I needed to find out more because I knew I’d be going there sooner or later.

The monument was erected over 150 years ago in memory of one Colonel Hunter-Blair. Lieutenant Colonel James Hunter-Blair was a member of the Scots Fusilier Guards from 1848 until his death in the Crimea in 1854. He was also elected as a Conservative MP for his constituency in 1852. He was killed in the Battle of Inkreman in Nov 1854 as British Forces held off an attack by Russian Forces who were far superior in numbers.

We started our ascent to the monument just outside Straiton School where there is a small place for parking. Crossed through a kissing gate into the field behind the school and across a grassy path across the field to the nearest treeline. The same path then skirts the treeline for a few hundred meters before a gate provides access into the woods. After a short steady climb through the woods, a large style is in place to cross over a wall skirting the woods. From here it’s a short but steep climb of a few hundred feet up to the monument. It’s a short hill but my heart and lungs were bursting by the time I reached the monument. We opted to walk on a short distance past the monument to the local highest point where, though slightly hazy in the late afternoon sun, the views across Galloway Forest Park were amazing. Our return route was back the way we had come.

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