Galloway's top spots

By Colin Hogarth

This route provides a challenging walk over two of Galloway's 2000ft plus peaks, returning along the Southern Upland Way and passing the site of a great Scottish battle.

The Forestry Commission has thoughtfully provided a car park just before the entrance gate to Caldons Campsite in Glen Trool. This provides the starting point for the walk. Cross the Water of Trool by a bridge and walk up towards the campsite. Before a second bridge is reached there is an adventure playground on the right-hand side of the road. Just beyond this a narrow path disappears into the bracken and follows the burn along its right bank. The way rises gradually through the trees until it reaches a forestry track.

Cross the track and continue on the narrow path as it climbs, crosses a stone wall and runs up through a grassy break in the trees. The ascent is hard work (particularly if the day is warm and muggy) but you gain height quickly and are soon rewarded by views which open out to the north.

Eventually the way crosses a wide ride in the trees. Up from this the Mulmein and Caldrons burns converge. Cross the flow of the Mulmein and follow the Caldrons Burn up to the top of the forestry, staying with a drystone wall to a wooden gate that straddles the water. Turn left here and follow a post and wire fence up on to the open hillside. At the top corner of the fence, head east up over steep moorland on to Cambrick Hill. Climb over the hill and, as you gain height, the tough ascent finally gives way to a gentle walk on to the rounded summit of Lamachan. There is a cairn and makeshift shelter on the top, and fine panoramas over the hills and glens of Galloway.

From the summit, follow a line of fence posts down over Bennanbrack into a dip below Curleywee. Keep an eye out for wild goats which graze here, alongside the sheep. Cross a post and wire fence at the base of the col and follow a fairly obvious path up on to craggy Curleywee. This leads straight to the summit, marked by a cairn.

Descend into the dip before White Hill and then head down over steep, grassy moorland towards the open bothy at White Laggan (pictured above). Stay to the left of the burn as you go down and you should pick up a path through the bracken behind the cottage, about 25 yards from the stream. The bothy is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association and provides some welcome shelter should the weather be inclement.

A short path links the bothy with the Southern Upland Way (SUW). Join it, turn left and follow the track west into Glen Trool. About two miles from White Laggan the way enters forestry. A short way on, turn right down a narrow path. It follows a stream down towards Loch Trool.

When you reach a footbridge over the burn, turn left and continue along the SUW as it climbs up along the edge of the forest. Pretty soon you will catch an enticing glimpse of the loch before the path disappears into the trees once again.

Around half a mile on a noticeboard tells of a famous battle fought here by Robert the Bruce. He and his men defeated English troops by rolling boulders down the slopes of Glen Trool on to them. The Battle of Glen Trool took place on March 31, 1307, after Bruce, in hiding in Ayrshire, learned of a patrol searching for him. With a band of 300 men he captured some members of the enemy unit but others escaped and the English cavalry was quickly summoned. Bruce withdrew into the glen and lay in wait on the hillside above.

The end of the walk is not far off now. Continue along the path, following SUW markers back to the campsite.


Distance 11 miles/17.6km.
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 77.
Start/parking car park at Caldrons Campsite in Glen Trool (grid ref NX 399790).
Grading A long and fairly tough walk through woodland and over open hillside, suitable for fit and fairly experienced hillwalkers. There is track and path for much of the route.