At the head of Glen Trool there is a monument commemorating
a historic clash with English forces in 1307 when
Robert the Bruce was just beginning his campaign
for the Scottish throne. He knew these parts well
and the rocky outcrops of Mulldonoch combined with
the surrounding woodlands were idealy suited to
his guerilla warfare.
Our trek today follows a valley
which runs off Glen Trool in a north-east direction.
From our start at Bruce's Stone Car Park descend
eastwards beyond the start of the 'main trail' to
the summit. Cross over the Earl of Galloway's bridge
nearto Buchan House and continue eastwards along
the track. After passing through a gate continue
over the stile and follow the path signposted Loch
Valley and the Gairland Burn. The route gains height
fairly quickly as it traverses the face of Buchan
Hill, towards a gate in the wall at the top of the
Pass through this gate and continue
upwards over a normally wet but distinctive path.
Gone now are the sylvan pleasures of lovely Glen
Trool in favour of empty uplands, a glaciated wilderness
of moor and mountain. The path follows the Gairland
Burn, rising steadily to the south west outflow
from Loch Valley. The rugged landscape of Craig
Neldricken to the north and the Rig of the Jarkness
to the east unfold before you. From here we follow
the western shore of the loch on a wet but clear
path which takes us to a new level and one which
opens out to reveal Loch Neldricken.
A wet and less distinct path now
follows the south-west shores of the loch and crosses
a wall by the 'Murder Hole' an area of deep water
which is said to never freeze over. The Murder Hole
was made famous by the Galloway author S R Crocket
in his book 'The Raiders'. The path runs along side
a wall which follows the western slopes of the Ewe
Rig to the smaller Loch Arron. Glance over to your
right or you'll miss it! Head towards a small col
overlooking Loch Enoch with its reflections of Mullwharchar
rising beyond. Mullwharchar is derived from the
Gaelic, Maol Adhairce, meaning the Hill of the Huntsman's
Horn. It is said that the silver sand of Loch Enoch's
beaches was once collected for sharpening knives.
After we take breath and absorb
the solitude of this Galloway Heartland we continue
beyond the south-west shores of Loch Enoch up the
Redstone Rig. It looks more intimidating than it
actually is but there is no path from here to the
summit. The pull to the summit across is worthwhile
effort as the views to Craignaw to the east, the
broad ridge of Tarfessock and Shalloch on Minnoch
to the north and Mulldonoch and Lamachan to the
south all unfold.
On a clear day the views from the
summit are quite remarkable and you share the tranquility
and remoteness of this south west corner of Scotland.
A grassy descent contours the Neive
of the Spit and a short rise leads to the cairn
on Benyellary, the eagle's hill. Follow the path
steadily downhill beside the Whitehead Burn to the
bothy at Culsharg. From here the very distinct but
rocky path leads southwards alongside the Buchan
Burn, back to the car park at Glen Trool.
Descend E along the road from
the car park. Cross bridge and continue along track
through a gate before traversing a stile and following
path signposted to Loch Valley and Gairland Burn.
Cross a field across the face of Buchan Hill. Go
through gate then continue into hanging valley that
contains Gairland Burn. Follow path to outflow of
Loch Valley and then to Loch Neldricken, cross a
wall by the Murder Hole and follow the W slopes
of Ewe Rig to the smaller Loch Arron, before continuing
to a small col above Loch Enoch. Climb Redstone
Rig to the Merrick summit. Descend by the
Neive of the Spit and Benyellary, following the
path downhill beside the Whitehead Burn to the bothy
at Culsharg. Follow path that follows the Buchan
Burn back to the start.