Before setting off, we went for a look at Bruce’s Stone.
After a quick chat, about the pros and cons of a clockwise/anti-clockwise circuit, we agreed to go clockwise. We set off along the Merrick trail path.
Start of trail leading towards Merrick:
The Merrick trail path was reasonably good. It didn’t take long to reach Culsharg bothy.
While Culsharg bothy looks pretty-good from the outside, it is really basic inside.
Inside Culsharg bothy:
A short distance beyond Culsharg bothy, I stopped to take a photo of a Fly Agaric toadstool.
The ascent of Benyellary was straight-forward and pleasant. Benyellary is a New Donald.
Looking back towards Bennan:
We didn’t spend long at the summit before continuing on to Merrick.
Looking towards Merrick from the summit of Benyellary:
Ailsa Craig (zoom):
Some of the names given to Galloway hill features are pretty-cool compared with many of the hill names further North. Rig of the Gloon, Rig of the Jarkness, Murder Hole, Neive of the Spit, …
I enjoyed traversing the Neive of the spit ridge from Benyellary to Merrick.
Neive of the spit:
I last ascended Merrick in 2008. It was good to reach the summit again as my first ascent was in mist.
Summit of Merrick:
John at the summit of Merrick:
View from summit of Merrick:
From the summit of Merrick, we descended fairly steeply towards Redstone Rig.
Looking towards Mullwharchar:
The burn at the col between Merrick and Mullwharchar was fast-flowing. We managed to leap across it via a small grassy island.
It didn’t take long to reach the summit of Mullwharchar.
Looking back to Merrick:
Approaching the summit of Mullwharchar:
The summit of Mullwharchar felt fairly remote. Craignaw still looked a long way off.
From Mullwharchar, we made our way across towards Dungeon Hill.
Looking across to Merrick from the summit of Mullwharchar:
View from the summit of Mullwharchar:
Craignaw and Loch Enoch:
As we made our way between Mullwharchar and Dungeon Hill, we spotted another hillwalker coming towards us. Only last week, I had watched a video on YouTube of Norrie Muir’s 1978 winter ascent of the Cobbler. This hillwalker looked familiar – it was Norrie Muir! It was great to meet Norrie and have a brief but enjoyable chat.
Looking back to Mullwharchar from Dungeon Hill:
The ascent of Dungeon Hill was straight-forward. It didn’t take long to reach the summit.
Looking towards Craignaw from the summit of Dungeon Hill:
John at the summit of Dungeon Hill:
From the summit of Dungeon Hill, we made our way across to Craignaw, the final hill of the day. We skirted below the summit of Craignairny to reach the col between Craignairny and Craignaw.
Skirting below Craignairny:
I really enjoyed the ascent of Craignaw. Craignaw is a rocky hill with lots of nice large granite slabs.
Approaching the summit of Craignaw:
We stopped for a bite to eat at the summit before making our way back towards the car.
Summit of Craignaw:
Merrick, Loch Enoch and Mullwharchar from Craignaw:
Mullwharchar and Dungeon Hill from Craignaw:
From the summit of Craignaw, we continued South as far as a small lochan before heading down towards Loch Neldricken.
The descent to Loch Neldricken was down through high tussocks.
We used a number of large rocks followed by a long leap to cross the Mid Burn.
Crossing the Mid Burn between Loch Neldricken and Loch Valley:
Looking back to the Mid Burn:
I was looking forward to getting across the Mid Burn as there was a path marked on the map on the other side. The next 4km back to the car was along what can only be described as a wet trail of mud. Not enjoyable.
John on the horrendous path skirting Loch Valley:
Following the Gairland Burn back to Glen Trool:
It was great to reach the end of the mud trail and get back onto tarmac.