Moniaive to Sanquhar Drove Road
Start location: Craigdarroch (NS 805 070)
End location: Moniaive, S of bridge over Dalwhat Water (NX 776 911)
Geographical area: Dumfries and Galloway
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 19.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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We have only recent surveys of the southern portion of this drove road, however it is clearly marked on the current OS map. We would be very pleased to hear from anyone with up-to-date information on this route.
From Craigdarroch, the road can be seen on the map trending generally south over Craigdarroch Muir and Fardingmullach Muir, then down the Druidhill Burn to meet the unclassified road north of Druidhall. This road is then followed, again trending south, past Knockelly to Auchenhessnane where our surveying commences.
Here a farm track initially follows the north side of the Auchenhessnane burn, then crosses over it by a ford. Once through the first gate after the ford, it is important to cross to the dyke on the south side of the field since the track is not well marked at this point, and the correct exit gate is in the south-west corner of the field. A faint track is now followed which leads to a gate and ford across a small burn. Vehicle tracks now largely disappear, but old tracks can be followed through a narrow pass (Duddiestone Hass). As the highest ground is passed, Bennan farm becomes visible, and after crossing into pasture from hill ground a muddy farm track is followed down to Bennan, from where a farm road runs directly down to the unclassified road at Mounthoolie Bridge.
Passing through a gate, from the unclassified road 0.5km south of Mounthoolie Bridge, the route rises directly up a hillside between double dykes. At the junction with a plantation follow the dyke south-eastwards to the sheep pens at NX785931. Here the fences are crossed to go on a wide south-west trending break through the forest. This section unlike the rest, is rough tussock sedge underfoot. At the south side of the forest the route stays just west of Bardennoch hill, and a track is picked up adjacent to the abandoned farm of Upper Bardennoch. The track here is double dyked and drops down to Moniaive, crossing the Dalwhat Water at Hall Bridge. The going underfoot generally is quite good, except through the forest break. There are no major obstructions, though wire fences, dykes and non-opening gates have to be negotiated in places.
OS Landranger 78 (Nithsdale & Annandale area)
This route is identified as a drove road on 1850’s 6 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map. Double dykes can be seen as the route rises up the hillside south of Mounthoolie Bridge and again as it drops down to Moniaive. These double dykes are called 'raiks' and were used to funnel cattle so that they were easier to keep track of.
This drove road was part of the route that drovers used to take their cattle from the Kirkcudbright area to Lanark and Falkirk. Local tradition say that cattle droving on this route died out by 1850, but that sheep were being driven up to about 1914.
Interestingly Hastings Hall, located at the south end of the route in Moniaive, was the home of Robert McTurk. He was one of the largest scale drovers in the country; some of the place names in the area bear his name. It is thought possible that it was he who had the double dykes leading down to Moniaive built. Read more about Robert McTurk and other drovers of Galloway in the June/July 2011 issue of the Glencairn Gazette (p19-20).