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Monday, 26 May 2014

Wigtownshire Ramblers - Kirriereoch, the Merrick and Kirriemore - May 2014

Sunday the 25th May
After our jaunt to Wales, this weekend's walk was arranged for Sunday to let us have a breather.
A good idea since this walk takes in the two highest hills of the 'Awful Hand' range.
Our leader for the walk was the 'Milkmaid', and her report will follow the pictures. 
We climbed Kirriereoch last July. (I've been informed that the local pronunciation for Kirriereoch is Kirryoch)

There are 17 including three guest walkers at the start. The 'Milkmaid' explains the route.
The weather forecast is for thundery showers, sometimes heavy. 

No need for waterproofs yet !

We head off at a really quick pace along the forest road.
If this pace is maintained I won't keep up.

As we begin climbing the pace does slacken thankfully.

Our route up Kirriereoch is the southern edge above Torrs of Kirriereoch and Cantin Heads.

A view back to Loch Moan, source of the Cree.

A group picture part way up.

My pal the Ayrshire Blogger looks for Knockdolian and Ailsa Craig, both were seen at different heights.

The summit of Kirriereoch. I was two minutes from a great view, the cloud and mist descended rapidly.

When the mist lifted, and the Merrick in view we began to descend to the gap between.

Despite the drifting mist, I got some atmospheric pictures.

Bottom left in the above collage it looks like Shorty is enveloped in a protective halo. Maybe it's a raindrop on my lens !
Down in the gap we lunched behind a drystone wall. 

After lunch we began the steep incline up the Merrick.

Overlooking Loch Enoch from the slopes of Little Spear.

Last pull up the Merrick.

Merrick Summit.
It's another very misty outlook at 843 metres.
I've surprised myself climbing these two big hills one after the other, I hope I can get down !

That's our leader the 'Milkmaid' in the middle.

I manage to get a group picture or two.

With a hazy Benyellery in view we began the descent.

Above top, Benyellery and across to Kirriereoch. Above bottom overlooking Black Gairy, Black Gutter and across towards the Rig of Loch Enoch.

It's clearer lower down.

I zoomed in for the picture top left since our descent didn't pass by. I can't figure out if it's a cairn or just shattered rock, does anyone know ?

A final climb to the cairn on Kirriemore.

The forest road back to the cars.
Though very tiring, there's a feeling of elation that we've all completed a difficult walk.
A great day in the hills despite the weather.

Here's the 'Milkmaid's'  report.
Wigtownshire Ramblers Report 25/05/14
On Sunday 17 ramblers met at Kirriereoch car park for a 9 mile circular hill walk.  The turn-out was higher than expected because many of our members had just returned from the group’s annual walking trip, this year to Wales. Heavy rain was forecast but visibility in the hills was good.
After moving cars to the point where two forest roads meet just past Kirriereoch Farm the ramblers set off along the forest road taking a left fork after nearly 2 miles. Following this track to its conclusion led to a path leading straight ahead through the trees. Down a slope, through a grassy clearing, some overgrown sheep pens mark the way to the Crossburn.  Here the water level was reasonably low and the stream was easily crossed.
A steep pull up towards the Carnirock stone, following a line of old metal fence posts, was quickly rewarded with fine views to the west where Knockdolian near Ballantrae could clearly be seen. Ominous black clouds hovered over the Bennan to the south, and further north Shalloch on the Minoch was obviously undergoing a drenching. It was time to move on.
A shallower gradient and grass eaten down by sheep made the next 1.3 mile walk to the top much easier walking. Stopping only to don waterproofs when light rain started and experiencing relief when the promised deluge failed to materialize, the ramblers soon found themselves at the summit cairn. Views were temporarily obscured by a thick mist swirling over the top and a light breeze made it too cold to stop for long. When the way ahead became visible the group made their way down Kirriereoch towards the ridge leading to the Little Spear where a useful wall provided shelter for lunch.
Refreshed the group were ready to tackle the steep rocky slopes of the Little Spear. On reaching the top of this conical shaped hill, some paused to enjoy the views, but others chose to immediately tackle the final pull up the Merrick where once again mists blew over to spoil the scenery.
A gentle descent along the finger of the Merrick, first above the Black Gairy, then following a dry stone wall and finally the ridge leading to Kirriemore Hill found the ramblers at the final summit cairn for the day. A quick descent past recently felled forestry took the now tired walkers to a forest road and eventually their awaiting cars.
The next walk, on Saturday the 3rd of August, is a 7.5 mile C grade, Dunskey circular. Meet for car sharing at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9.00 am and Stranraer Breastworks at 9.30am or at the walk start at Dunskey Tea Room car cark ( NX 003 561) at 10.00am. New members are always welcome but must contact the walk leader on 01776 700707.



  1. Years since I've climbed the Merrick. It was so long ago the Wigwam Bothy was still there for a lunch stop and I was going to stay overnight in it during the winter until I heard a few months later it had gone :o(

  2. Nearly every climb of the Merrick I've done Bob has been in the mist. I think it was back in 2007 that I last saw the sun up there. I saw a comment a while back about the Wigwam Bothy. I remember it because it was by Paddy Dillon who has books of walks in the Galloway Hills.Ten years before my time here.


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