The Galloway Hills
The Galloway Hills are a fine collection of summits within a compact area. These are awesome hills, remote and elusive, rewarding determined walkers with breathtaking views of extensive moorland, shimmering lonely hill lochs, silvery burns and gushing waterfalls, deep glens and imposing rock outcrops.
The Galloway Hills may not have any Munros (mountains over 3000 feet high) but they do boast 22 Donalds. Donalds is a collective name given to all the distinct mountains in Lowland Scotland which are over 2000 feet high. Of the 89 Donalds, 19 lie within Galloway Forest Park and eight of these are within the top twenty in terms of height - not bad for Scotland's best-kept secret!
Corbetts is the collective name given to all the distinct mountains in Scotland between 2500 feet and 3000 feet high and with 500 feet of ascent on all sides. Galloway Forest Park has three of the Corbetts
Nestling among these amazing hills you can discover over twenty named lochs, from tiny hill lochs like Loch Twachtan to larger water bodies like lonely Loch Enoch. Rocky boulder-strewn ridges with strange names like Rig of the Jarkness, Clints of the Buss and Point of the Snibe offer exhilarating walking and make the hard trudges across wetter lower approaches worth the effort.
Fascinating rock features like The Grey Man of Merrick to the south-west of Loch Enoch and The Devil's Bowling Green on Craignaw are hidden among these stunning hills, just waiting to be discovered. On top of all this one rarely has to share this amazing landscape steeped in history with anybody else!
The Galloway Hills in the Forest Park fall into four distinct ranges - The Awful Hand, The Minnigaff Hills, The Dungeon Hills and the Rhinns of Kells. The name Awful Hand is derived from the shape of this range as seen from the air or from the west. Benyellary is the thumb, the Merrick is the index finger, followed by the middle fingers of Kirriereoch and Tarfessock and the little finger of Shalloch on Minnoch.
The Minnigaff Hills are orientated east - west in contrast to the other three ranges, which run north - south. This range contains four Donalds (Larg Hill, Curleywee, Millfore and Lamachan Hill.
The Dungeon Hills are hidden in the heart of the Galloway Hills and contain some of the wildest and most spectacular rocky scenery in Southern Scotland. Mullwharchar is the highest hill in this range and is probably the most remote of all the Galloway Hills, but well worth the effort.
The Forestry Commission at Galloway Forest District organised four guided hill walks this summer; two gave people the chance to climb the Merrick and two other walks were in the Minnigaff and Dungeon ranges. For details of our guided hill walks for 2004 or to arrange a guided walk for your group please contact Sandy White or Dan Cadle on 01671-402420 or pick up a copy of our What's On booklet available from any of our Visitor Centres at Glentrool, Kirroughtree or Clatteringshaws, or any local Tourist Information Centre.
Finally - a word of warning; the weather can change rapidly in these hills and the terrain can be very rough. Anyone venturing into the hills should take a map and compass and know how to use them to navigate. Make sure you wear suitable walking boots and carry warm wind- and waterproof clothing, spare food, mobile phone and first-aid kit. It is also advisable to leave details of your intended route and expected return time with a responsible person.
So - we hope you enjoy discovering these wild places!
Photos Tony Brotherton