10 July 1919 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Left at 6.45 + ran to Newton Stewart where I had breakfast at the Crown1. Filled up Thermos with tea2. Bought some lunch + a pocket handkerchief + went on to Bargrennan + Loch Trool. It was a fine day with a cool N.W. wind of moderate strength. It’s 3 miles from the Bargrennan Road to the lodge gate + I went about half a mile further to a point where I got a most lovely view of the whole Loch3. The show of Bell Heather was magnificent. Saw a small adder in the road. Came back to Bargrennan + took the road to Barrhill which I found pretty steep + rough. Didn’t go into Barrhill but turned back by the Snap road4. It is a much better road than the other. Took my lunch at the Pollgowan Burn5 + after that to my disquiet the wire of the speed gear broke + I had to depend entirely on the mid gear. Luckily the wind was in my favour. Came as far as Bladnoch + turned off where Jack + I got the thunder plump last September6. That road bought me via Gass to Glenluce 12 miles7. Saw white + yellow water lillies away out on the moor. The run was 66 miles. Got back at 6.36 + a hot bath + good dinner.

1 The Crown Hotel, Queen Street, Newton Stewart still exists

2 The vacuum flask was invented by James Dewar FRS FRSE (1842-1923), Scottish chemist and physicist, though it was most widely exploited by the German Thermos company and Sir James did not benefit financially from his idea

3 The point at which Dr Muir appears to have taken the view is approximate grid reference NGR NX412,802

4 The Snap Inn, Knowe, is at grid reference NGR NX313,713 and is shown on Ordnance Survey 6 inch Wigtownshire Sheet VIII.2, published 1895

5 Pollgowan Burn crosses the road at grid reference NGR NX259,792 so Dr Muir must have lunched in the Loch Duisk and Knockycoid area

6 Dr Muir and his son-in-law John ‘Jack’ Roberts junior were caught out on 27 September 1918 as they cycled from Newton Stewart to Girvan via the Snap: “… we started across a wild moorland road guarded by an iron gate & were caught in the most violent storm of wind & rain which soaked us from our knees downwards …”

7 Dr Muir’s route back appears to have followed the B7027 in a SSE direction as far as Glassnock, NX333,695 (not Bladnoch, though at that point he would have crossed the river of that name) and then run in a generally south west direction via Gass Farm, NX249,640, down into the centre of Glenluce

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/22, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1919]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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