Dungeon Hill Hike
Where: Dungeon Hill in Dumfries &
Galloway by Ayrshire
When: June 2013
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny Spells
Height: 2,001 ft
The south side of the Dungeon Range is
hiked from Loch Trool, situated by Glentrool
village, 34 miles southeast of Ayr via the
village of Straiton, or 9 miles north of
Newton Stewart in the county of Dumfries
& Galloway. The village is about 30
houses with a popular small hotel for drinks
and meals. The hotel is situated about 1 mile
south of the village, named the House o Hill. The Glentrool Holiday
Park for camping is close to the
Glentrool Park is situated about 1 mile
east of Glentrool village with a visitor
centre, a few car parks, and many walk/cycle
Below is a view of the Glentrool Visitor
Centre with parking for many cars and
signs giving information on the walking and
biking trails throughout the park, and around
Loch Trool. The signs also give information
on astrology as this area is so remote, it is
classed as a dark skies area, one of the top
areas in the UK for viewing the stars.
The car parks for the hills/mountains in
this area are 3 miles east of here via a good
single lane, tar road, with many passing
Road Map .
Map . Large Walking Routes
Below is a view of the Bruce's Stone car
park situated about 3 miles east of the
Glentrool Visitor Centre. The old road past
the monument is loose surface, you are not
meant to drive past this point. This car park
at the monument can hold about 12 cars, and
another car park 3 hundred yards before the
stone holds about 30 cars.
The well marked Merrick Hiking Trail
begins from the sign in the image below. This
is the most popular hill in southwest
Scotland, so there will normally be a few
cars in the car park. Weekends and holidays,
you may have to park in the larger car park
300 yards back down the road.
The route to the south side of the Dungeon
Range is follow the road out east, round to
the right past the Merrick sign.
The map below shows the Dungeon Range, or
Mullwarchar Range, that runs from Loch Dee in
the south to Loch Doon in the north. The map
shows the different routes that can be
This photo tour starts at the car parks at
Bruce's Stone and follows the old road just
over 2 miles east towards Loch Dee. The tour
then follows a path through a gate and up
onto the south side of Craiglee, north to
Craignaw, north to Dungeon, across to
Craignairy, then back over Craignaw and down
past Loch Valley back to the car
The image below is from the old road a few
hundred yards out from the car park, just
past the narrow stone Buchan Bridge. This is
the Loch Valley Trail that runs alongside
Buchan Hill and up to Loch Valley.
This is the trail this hike will be
returning back down. You can also return over
the top of the Buchan Hill range.
The image below is from just over two
miles out from the car park along the old
road, not far before Loch Dee. This image
shows the route onto the south ridge of
Craiglee, the furthest south hill on the
It took about 40 minutes to hike out to
here from the car park. You pass an old farm
1 mile out from the car park, from where you
can go up onto the hills above the old farm
and along the hills to here. That route will
add some time to the hike though.
The image below is of the route up the
south ridge of Craiglee past the cliffs.
There was a flat area just below here of
fairly deep heather that was not the best
hiking, but after that, this is a really good
route. It took about 50 minutes to get from
the gate to the top.
The view below is from Trig Point on
Craiglee looking north to Craignaw.
The view below is of the route over to
Craignaw. The OS Map stated there was no
ridge across here which I found hard to
believe. Only when I got to this point, did I
realize it really was a long way down and
back up again. The low point down there is
below 700ft above sea level, so about 1,000
ft down and 1,400 ft back up.
I headed down the ridge to the left here,
across at the narrowest point that was ok
going following sheep tracks, then up through
the rocks on the south side of Craignaw. The
hike to the top of the first ridge is steep,
but good going through the rocks.
The route up to the second ridge is easier
with two small cairns to make your way to on
top of the second ridge. From the two small
cairns, it is a good steady hike to the
summit. Just watch out for the cliffs on the
east side of visibility is poor.
The view below is is from the top of
Craignaw looking north to Dungeon Hill in the
sun, and Mullwarchar in cloud.
There is a Memorial Plaque on a rock on
the top of Craignaw to pilots of an F-111
that crashed there on the 19th December 1979.
I have been on this hill twice so far and
still to find the plaque.
The safest route over to Dungeon Hill from
here, is down and round to the left. The
other route is straight through the gap in
the rocks, as seen in the image below, down a
steep section for about 100 ft named the
Devil's Bowling Alley, then follow the ridge
round to the left.
If you go down the route to the left, you
should see the Devils Bowling Green, a large
flat area of rock littered with little rocks
that hikers use to play bowls.
The view below is from a cairn on the low
point on the crossing. You can see a faint
trail leading over to Dungeon Hill. The last
part of the hike up to Dungeon is through
rocks. There are a few routes that do not
require rock climbing.
Craignairy Hill is just to the left in
The image below is from Dungeon Hill
looking down the northeast side to Dry Loch.
Mind the cliffs on the east side of Dungeon
Hill as they are about 1,000 ft.
I hiked out from Loch Doon and down the
Dungeon Valley to Dry Loch and Dungeon Loch a
few days earlier. The weather was great and
there had been no rain for about a week, so
the trail down the valley was good going. Got
some good images of the cliffs at Hoodens,
Mullwarchar, Dungeon and Craignaw, as well as
The image below is from the cairn on
Dungeon Hill looking north to Mullwarchar. It
is a fairly straight forward hike across to
Mullwarchar, once you have found your way off
the top section of Dungeon. Mullwarchar is a
fair slog to the top and takes you well out
from Loch Trool, turning the hike into a long
I prefer to hike Mullwarchar from the
south side of Loch Doon via Craigmawhannel
and Hoodens hills. The hike up the narrow
north side of Hoodens past the cliffs is a
real good route.
The image below is from crossing over west
to Craignairy, that is joined to Dungeon. In
the low part down to the right in this image,
is a small cairn that marks an aircraft crash
site. There is a lot of wreckage next to the
Below is an image from Craignairy looking
west to Loch Enoch and The Merrick. Some
hikers go round Loch Enoch, up the southeast
ridge of The Merrick, then back to Loch Trool
via The Merrick Trail over Benyallery.
Another route is go round Loch Enoch to
the southwest corner, then follow the trail
from there onto the Buchan Hill range. That
range leads back to Buchan Bridge, a few
hundred yards east of the car park at Bruce's
As the Buchan Range route is normally used
as the route back down from The Merrick, and
I had hiked that route before. I planned to
go back round Craignaw, down the southwest
ridge of Craignaw to Loch Valley, then down
the Loch Valley Trail to Buchan Bridge.
The image below is from Craignairy looking
south to Craignaw. You can see the Devil's
Bowling Alley route to the top of Craignaw
You can miss the top of Craignaw on the
return by going over the west shoulder, to
the right in this image, and head for the two
small cairns on the second ridge. From the
cairns, head down the southwest ridge to Loch
Valley. A straight forward route in clear
The view below is from the steep west side
of Craignairy looking across Loch
The clouds rolled over when I was on top
of Craignaw, and I made the mistake of
heading southwest too early, ending up going
down the steep west side, rather than the
easier and more direct route down the
This let me know the steep west side is
not too bad a route down, and allowed me a
bit of a beach walk on the road back. The
beach is made up of a fine granite sand. A
narrow trail runs down the west side of this
loch all the way to Loch Valley, which is
only a few hundred yards south of this loch.
The Loch Valley Trail is supposed to run all
the way up to Loch Enoch, a very narrow
trail, mainly used by anglers and sheep.
The view below is looking back across Loch
Valley to Craignaw. This view shows the route
I should have taken to here.
This is the fast way up if you are missing
out Craiglee and heading straight for
Craignaw and Dungeon. It takes about 1 hour
to hike from the car park at Bruce's Stone to
here at Loch Valley, then probably about 1
and a half hours from here to the top of
The view from here looks like the west
side route I came down has un-passable
cliffs, but there are a number ways down.
These are probably the most dangerous hills
in southern Scotland, so best try and hike
them on clear days.
The image below is from Loch Valley
looking down the Loch Valley Trail. The trail
follows the Gairland Burn most of the way
down, then cuts over to the right and down to
the Buchan Bridge, only a couple of hundred
yards from the Bruce's Stone car park.
The trail has a number of soggy parts,
even in a dry spell, so waterproof boots and
gaiters are needed.
The image below is of Bruce's Stone at
Loch Trool in the evening with Mulldonoch
Hill over the loch. The hiking car park is
right next to the stone here.
The hike to Craiglee, Craignaw and Dungeon
will average about 7 hours.
If you want to hike the whole range in one
day, it is best to get dropped off at the
south side of Loch Doon and picked up here at
Bruce's Stone by Loch Trool.
The route up Hoodens narrow north side
ridge, past the cliffs, is the best way onto
the range. Down the whole range will average
between 9 and 11 hours.
Map . North Dungeon
Range/Mullwarchar Range Page .