Bank holiday solitude in the Galloway hills

by backpackingbongos

Bank holidays give the opportunity to spend a long weekend in the hills, the only problem being that those hills can get awfully busy.  I am a misanthropic hill walker and prefer solitude to splendor so am always seeking out the quieter spots in this crowded Isle.  However there are still places that offer splendor and solitude.  I have just got back from one such spot.

The plan had originally been to do a 3 day backpack around the stunning interior of the Galloway forest park, a route that would have offered some of the largest tussocks imaginable to get my teeth into.  A grand route was planned with some big days which are needed to get into and out of this wild land.  However come mid week I was starting to feel drained and was beginning to just fancy a long lie in.  A new plan was hatched, enjoy the hills with a daysack and then spend the night in the comfort of the Bongo.  I found some cracking spots to park up for the night, tiny car parks deep in the forest.  You know that you are somewhere remote when you drive for 9 miles without passing another vehicle and then spend an undisturbed night with only a cuckoo for company.

A couple of great walks were had including a visit to the remote Clennoch bothy and a demanding circuit of the Rhinns of Kells.  The Rhinns of Kells are a superb range of hills and even include a Corbett to tick off.  Rugged Scottish scenery and I only saw two couples during the whole day, pretty good considering it was bank holiday Sunday.

A quick photo taken during the ascent of Meikle Millyea.

Today was meant to be spent tramping the northern part of the Rhinns of Kells but I woke up feeling decidedly groggy.  A shame as the day dawned bright, hot and sunny.  I could not summon the energy to climb hills and then drive the 6 hours home.  Instead a quick visit to some sculptures on a scenic drive back.

The area around the Glenkiln reservoir has several sculptures scattered around by artists such as Henry Moore.  Well worth turning off the A75 for an hour or so.  I even spotted my first ever red squirrel.

Anyway a write up of the walks to come soon, I just need to get it together to do reports of the last two backpacks first!

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8 Comments to “Bank holiday solitude in the Galloway hills”

  1. Get writing them reports up James. Galloway is one place I hope to go to.

  2. I do need to get writing Martin. Go to Galloway, a bit of the Highlands south of Glasgow. What more can you ask for?

  3. Hey James! Sorry to hear that you were feeling so drained. Well done for getting out there nonetheless; looks like you had some good weather and got some quality peace and quiet. Clennoch’s a sweet wee bothy, seems like there’s someone who pretty much looks after the place single-handed; if it had a working hearth it’d be perfect, but I can understand why it doesn’t.

    Must get out and walk the Rhinns of Kells at some point in the not too distant!

    All the best

    • Hi Pete, thanks, its a shame when the body does not play ball with what you want to do! Weather was dreary on the Sat so thats why I visited Clennoch. Its a great little bothy and I bumped into the guy who maintains it (he was asleep when I got there!) his name is Rab and he is the MO for the place. Does a great job keeping it ship shape. Weather was great for the Rhinns of Kells, got as far as Carlins Cairn before calling it a day. The sign in the car park at forrest lodge says they will report you missing if your vehicle is still there past 8pm! I got there with a minute to spare…………………

  4. We loved the Galloway Hills from the off, most of the area deserted when we did our backpacks there. The Dungeon Hills are superb, not to be missed!.
    What a pity you could not muster the energy for that day, still, you got a good walk out of it.

    • The Galloway hills are superb Geoff and very very quiet. I backpacked the Dungeon hills a few years back and wild camped on the summit of Mullwharchar, a memorable spot. It was a shame that the energy was flagging, I could have had a good day if not for the long drive home, could not have managed both!

  5. hi… anymore info on clennoch bothy, what route from glasgow, how far the walkin, is the fire up and going…. much obliged.

    • Hey Alex, I would not recommend walking to Clennoch from Glasgow, a bit of a trek! There is a map on the post showing the route that I took. No fire I’m afraid.

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