Where: Kirriereoch & Tarfessock in
Dumfries & Galloway by Ayrshire
When: June 2013
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny Spells
Height: 2,579ft and 2,287ft
Kirriereoch is situated 5 miles north of
Glentrool village, 28 miles southeast of Ayr
via the village of Straiton, 15 miles north
of Newton Stewart, in the county of Dumfries
& Galloway. Glentrool 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
The image below is of the Kirriereoch Car
Park, Picnic Area and Fishing Spot on the
Water of Minnoch, about 100 yards off the
Straiton to Glentrool hill road. There are
two fairly large green signs at the entrance
stating Kirriereoch. The entrance is situated
a few hundred yards south of the larger signs
for the border between Ayrshire and Dumfries
& Galloway. That is Kirriereoch on the
right, Tarfessock just left of centre, and
Shalloch-on-Minnoch on the left.
I reached this spot and began taking pics
of the main car park for the Kirriereoch
Hike. I had read a walk report that stated
they drove up the forest road to another car
park at the foot of the mountain. It looks a
long walk from here, so just as I was
thinking about driving up the forest road,
two hikers drove past up the road. That
helped make my mind up, so off I set up the
forest road in the car.
Road Map .
Map . Large Walking Routes
The image below is of the Kirriereoch
Forest Car Park, about 3 miles from the main
car park. The road is quite good with only a
few pot holes. Just watch you do not go up
the wrong road. You basically go up the main
road, then turn off up to the right close to
the top, as seen in the map below.
Most of the mature woodland has been
cleared in this area, so you would be unlucky
if you arrived here and the were clearing the
little that remains. The forest road will no
doubt be closed when they are clearing the
remaining mature trees.
The main trail to Kirriereoch is up the
forest break as seen below, following a
fairly good path, with a few soggy parts here
The map below shows the Kirriereoch Trail
going up through the woodland, then out onto
the west ridge of Kirriereoch.
The image below is of a cairn by the
woodland path, about half of a mile up from
the forest car park. You just follow the main
trail through the woodland to here.
The main trail goes down and round to the
left here, then out onto the southwest side
of Tarfessock. That is Kirriereoch summit
straight out there. To get to Kirriereoch,
you follow a faint trail from here down and
round to the right, to a stone dyke.
The image below is of the faint trail
about 50 yards down from the cairn, leading
past the stone dyke. That is the west ridge
of Kirriereoch you see through the trees.
Just down past the dyke, you have to push
your way through branches of a couple of
trees to get out onto the mountain.
The image below is after clearing the
trees and looking out to the west ridge of
Kirriereoch. This area is a little rough, but
nothing too bad.
I headed down to the right here, crossed
the 5 feet wide Cross Burn, then headed
right, up onto the start of the west ridge.
There are many places to cross the burn by
stepping stones, although this might be
impossible if there has been a lot of heavy
The image below is from close to the
bottom of the west ridge of Kirriereoch. The
cliffs are all on the south side, right in
There is a faint trail all the way from
here to the summit, and this first part is
the steepest, although not quite as steep as
it looks from here.
The image below is from the top of the
steep section, looking towards the top of the
second section. This is a fairly long hike,
but nice and steady from here.
You pass a large rock up this section with
what looks like a sheep's face painted on it.
It was not until I was at the rock, did I
realize it was moss, not paint.
The image below is of the third section of
Kirriereoch with the cairn in view on the
top. This mountain is good hiking with the
sheep keeping the grass like a lawn most of
The image below is from the cairn on
Kirriereoch looking south to the 2,766ft
Merrick. It is a fairly straight forward hike
from here over to The Merrick, via the Little
Spear, just about 450ft to go down and back
The image below is from the east side of
Kirriereoch looking north to Tarfessock. I
met the other hikers on the top here again,
and they stated there were fairly safe, but
steep, routes down the east and north sides.
I had a look down the east side here, then
decided to go straight down the north
The image below is of the steep route down
the north side of Kirriereoch. It is about
600ft down here to the lowest part on the
crossing. There are a lot of rocks to get
through, so is a bit slow going. Looks a
fairly tough hike up here.
I had only viewed this route from
Shalloch-on-Minnoch before, and it looked
almost impossible from there. Glad to find it
was possible to hike down or up here.
The image below is from Tarfessock South
looking north to Tarfessock. It is about
300ft up to the top from the low point
between these hills.
I followed the rocky east ridge up, then
cut over to the summit cairn close to the
top. There is a large boulder on the east
ridge, as can be seen below. Think this is
the boulder you see a lot of hikers photos on
as, when taken at the right angle, it looks
like they are out on a sheer cliff.
The image below is when approaching
Tarfessock from the south, with
Shalloch-on-Minnoch to the north. It is a
fairly straight forward hike over there, with
about 450ft to hike up to the top from the
The image below is from Tarfessock cairn
looking down the west ridge, back towards the
I decided to head straight down the middle
following a faint trail, then cut over to the
south side close to the bottom, to look for
the best way down to the car park.
The image below is from where I cut across
to the south side close to the bottom. I cut
across too early as I ended up on top of
cliffs here. This gave me a good view of the
routes down though.
I decided to go round to the right here,
round the cliffs, then down to the forest
break to the main path back through the
woodland to the car park.
I looked at the other trail from the end
of the ridge straight to the car park, but
thought it might be a bit rough. I later
found that is the better route with a good
path down to the car park from a
The route down to the forest break was a
bit rough, and got even rougher lower down.
There was a good path down the forest break
to the main woodland path, but was a bit
soggy in places.
After getting back to the car park, I
decided to have a look up the trail to the
Communication Tower at the bottom of
Tarfessock west ridge. This looks a good
trail, starting from right next to the car
park, up to the tower, then there should be a
faint trail from the tower all the way to the
top of Tarfessock. Will try that route some
The hike to Kirriereoch was great from the
second car park, would have been a long slog
from the first car park. There were a few
soggy parts on the woodland trail, and each
side of the Cross Burn, but after that, it
was great dry hiking all the way to the
The route across to Tarfessock was a fair
bit tougher, turning the hike into a fair
If I hike these hills again, will probably
do one at a time from the same car park. I
like hikes in sunny days that are not too
long, and hikes from car parks close to the
foot of the hills.
Some hikers like to go down the whole
range in the same day. You need to get
dropped off and picked up, or use two cars to
do the whole range in one day. Expect to take
between 7 and 10 hours to go down the whole
range. Large Route Map .
South Side Tour .