The Merrick Walk
Where: The Merrick, Glentrool in Dumfries
& Galloway by Ayrshire
When: September 5th 2012
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny Spells
Height: 2,766 ft
The Merrick is the highest hill/mountain
in southern Scotland at 2,766 feet. It is
situated by Glentrool village, 34 miles
southeast of Ayr via the village of Straiton,
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 Merrick Range are 3
miles east of here via a good single lane,
tar road, with many passing places.
Road Map .
Map . Large Walking Routes
Below is a view of Bruce's Stone by Loch Trool
with Mulldonach hill behind. This stone
monument is in honour of a battle in the
Scottish Wars of Independence, fought here in
This stone monument is situated about 3
miles east of the Glentrool Visitor Centre
via a well marked single lane road. The road
to this monument is good tar with many
passing places, the road past the monument is
loose surface. There is a car park at the
monument that can hold about 12 cars, and
another car park 3 hundred yards before the
stone that can hold about 30 cars.
The well marked Merrick Walking Trail
begins from next to the car park at Bruce's
Stone. 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
The map below shows The Merrick Trail
highlighted in blue. This is a narrow trail
in places with boulders here and there to
step over. Part of the trail, on the west
side of Benyallary, is man made.
More adventurous hikers go up the steep
east side of Eschoncan, over Bennan, then
onto the trail at Benyallary.
The image below is of the Bruce's Stone
car park with the Merrick Trail sign where
the hike begins from.
The view below shows The Merrick Trail
passing Culsharg Bothy with the 2,358 ft
Benyallary behind, The Merrick is high right
in this image.
Walking along here, you will see the
Buchan Hill range over to the right, an
alternative way back down, but a more
Below is an image of the west side of
Benyallary after clearing the trees via a
steep woodland path. There is a man made
trail most of the way up Benyallary. The path
through the woods to here, and this section,
are the steepest and most testing part of the
The view below shows Benyallary summit
with The Merrick behind.
The view below is of the easy to follow
trail from Benyallary, over the Neive of the
Spit, and up to the Merrick. This is a
steadier hike than the one up Benyallary, and
the Neive of the Spit is wider than it looks.
There are high cliffs here, and on the north
side of the Merrick to look out for if
visibility is poor.
The view below is nearing the summit of
The view below is from the summit of The
Merrick looking north to the Little Spear,
2,579 ft Kirriereoch and 2,520 ft
Shalloch-on-Minnoch. This is a fairly
straight forward hike out to those hills but
would make for a very long day going out to
Shalloch-on-Minnoch and back.
There is an easy route from
Shalloch-on-Minnoch down over the 2,162 ft
Caerloch Dhu to the road half of a mile south
of the Stinchar Bridge, but that is about 16
miles from the Loch Trool car park. A good
route if you are being dropped off and picked
up, or if your party has two cars. From
Bruce's Stone at Loch Trool, over these hills
and down to the Stinchar Bridge, is a about a
7 - 9 hour hike.
Large Image .
Large Map of the
Whole Range .
I popped down to Little Spear to get a few
photos from there. Only took 5 minutes to get
down, but 10 minutes hard hiking back up. It
is only about one hour from Little Spear to
Kirriereoch and back as the south side of
Kirriereoch is an easy hike, its north side
is more testing.
Little Spear is 2,568 ft with a 600 foot
drop down the right side, as seen below, so
be careful in poor viability.
The view below is of The Merrick summit
looking southeast for the other way down to
Loch Trool, over the Buchan Hill range. This
is a lot tougher than The Merrick trail as it
has no visible paths in places, and the
Buchan Hill range has a number of rocky
peaks. If you do not have experience of rough
hiking, it may be best to follow The Merrick
tourist trail back down.
The image below is from the southeast side
of The Merrick heading towards Loch Enoch.
The hill behind the loch is the 2,001 ft
Dungeon Hill with about 1,000 ft cliffs on
the far side. The hill high left in the
distance is the 2,671 ft Corserine on the
Rhinns of Kells range.
Some hikers looking for a full day hiking
go out to Dungeon Hill then head south from
Dungeon over Craignaw and Craiglee on route
back to Loch Trool, but that is a really
The Buchan Hill range starts at the corner
of the loch, bottom right of the image below.
There are no trails down here, just pick your
way down towards the south side of the loch,
you should then see a faint trail lead onto
the Buchan Hill range.
Below is an image from the bottom of The
Merrick looking at the start of the Buchan
Hill range. There is a faint trail all along
the Buchan Range.
The image below is looking along the
Buchan Range with the 1,617 ft Buchan Hill
being the highest peak. There are about 6
peaks along this range, most with cairns on
There are soggy patches between these
hills so waterproof boots and gaiters are
advised for this hike.
I have taken photos of The Merrick from
every angle, think the view from Buchan Hill
is hard to beat.
Large Image .
Large Image from
the summit back to The Merrick *****
The view below is of the last peak sitting
high above the car park and Loch Trool.
The view below is from the last peak
looking down to the car park and Loch Trool.
There is no trail down here, so you just have
to pick the best looking way down. This
vantage point allows you to plan your
This view also shows the 1,148 ft
Eschoncan Hill sitting high above the car
park. That is one of the lowest hills here,
but also the steepest, with great views over
Loch Trool and Bruce's Stone memorial.
The image below is from descending the
Buchan Hill range. You can make your way over
to the right here and pick up The Merrick
Trail back to the car par, although that
route crosses the fast flowing Buchan Burn
via stepping stones. The main route is to go
down to the road and Buchan Bridge by the
Buchan Waterfalls, about 400 yards east of
the car park. The waterfalls are well worth
The hike to The Merrick and back following
the tourist trail takes about 4 - 5 hours.
Going up the tourist trail and back down the
Buchan Range will take a bit longer. Going
over the Dungeon Range will be even
This was an interesting hike which was not
as hard as I expected going up, as I never
knew there was a good well marked trail all
the way up. Returning down the Buchan Hill
route was an adventure with some great views
over the many lochs, and rocky hill tops.
Saw a fairly large brown adder when
crossing over here to The Merrick Trail, next
to a dyke just before the burn. Been looking
for adders all year to get some photos and
this was the first one I saw. I normally wear
gaiters for the wet ground, and incase I
tread on an adder, and also use walking poles
so less likely to have to put my hands on the
ground when crossing rough terrain.
Got attacked by a squadron of midge when
arriving back at the car park. There were no
midge on the hike so seems they like to
ambush the weary hikers on their return in
the evening, have since purchased a midge
Shalloch-on-Minnoch is at the north
end of the Merrick range and Kirriereoch in the Middle.
Some hikers do the range in two days, from
the north and from the south. You need to get
dropped off and picked up, or use two cars to
do the whole range in one day. Large Route Map.