Glessel Hill Hike

AS Walking

Loch Doon is about 3 miles east of the town of Dalmellington, 18 miles east of Ayr.

The car park, as seen below, is just over 1 mile east of Dalmellington next to the road signed A713 to Castle Douglas & Dumfries. From here, it is about two miles to Loch Doon Dam, where the hike to Glessel Hill begins.

Loch Doon Map.

Loch Doon entrance image

The road winds its way steadily uphill for about 1 mile. Where it levels out, you get a good view of Craigengillan Mansion and Estate on the right hand side.

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory was built by Craigengillan House, just to the left in the image below. The estate also offers Pony Trekking, River Fishing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing on the River Doon, and Holiday Cottages.

scottishdarkskyobservatory . Phone: 01292 551 118. Map / KA6 7PZ .

The hills top left in this image can be part of this hike, as a trail leads across them to Craigengillan and the Observatory, an interesting addition to the hike.

Craigengillan Estate image

The image below is of Glessel Hill above Loch Doon Dam and the Roundhouse Cafe. There is a faint trail most of the way to the top for some great views across Loch Doon.

Glessel Hill image

The image below is of about half way up Glessel Hill. The hiking is good going and fairly steep in places.

Glessel Hill east side image

The image below is of the final section of Glessel Hill. This looks just like the top of many mountains over 2,500ft.

Glessel Hill top section image

After only about 30 minutes hiking, the summit of Glessel Hill gives great views over Loch Doon Dam, as seen below.

Loch Doon is over 600ft above sea level, so the hike to the top of the 1,062ft Glessel Hill from the Dam is only about 400ft. The mountain in the distance is the 2,614ft Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. That mountain though does not have views like this.

Large Image .

Glessel Hill view over Loch Doon Dam image

The image below is from Glessel Hill looking southeast over Loch Doon to the Rhinns of Kells, or Corserine Range. The highest mountain in the distance is the 2,648ft Carlin's Cairn, with the 2,671ft Corserine just behind that.

Large Image .

Glessel Hill view over Loch Doon image

The image below is from Glessel Hill looking southwest to an un-named hill on the Ordinance Survey Map. The hill further out with a trig point on it is the 1,253ft Big Hill of Glenmount.

I took a hike over to the un-named hill for a view out to the Big Hill of Glenmount. It looks about half of a mile from there out to the Big Hill of Glenmount over good looking ground. I decided to leave that hike for another day.

Large Image from the un-named hill to the Big Hill of Glenmount.

Loch Doon un-known hill image

The image below is from Glessel Hill north towards Craigengillan Estate and Dalmellington. You can see the wooden Fort from here, so you can follow a faint trail towards the Fort.

Glessel Hill view to Dalmellington image

The image below is on the route over towards the Fort. You can see the Dark Sky Observatory from here, just left of the Fort. The trail leads right to the Observatory.

Craigengillan Estate image

The image below is of the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory from the hill path. The Observatory seems to be open most of the time. It is interesting to look around, view images, and get information on visiting.

I checked with staff here to see if it was ok to pass through the estate to the Ness Glen walk back to Loch Doon Dam. I was informed many hikers visit the Observatory on there way round to Ness Glen and Loch Doon, and that the trail leads round to the right in this image, past the Fort.

The Observatory was dammaged by fire in 2021, should be rebuilt soon. . Phone: 01292 551 118. Map / KA6 7PZ . Large Image .

Loch Doon Dark Sky Observatory image

The image below is of Craigengillan Fort. The route round to Ness Glen is to the left past the Fort.

About 100 yards past the Fort, the path splits in two, the one to the right leads over the top of Ness Glen back to Loch Doon Dam. The path to the left, leads down to the bottom of Ness Glen for the path back to Loch Doon Dam alongside the river.

Craigengillan Fort image

The image below is of the bottom end of Ness Glen at the footbridge. This is a well maintained path.

Ness Glen bottom end image

The image below is from the path leading up Ness Glen towards Loch Doon Dam. The sides at this point are really high. When I looked down from the top, I could not believe there could be a path down here, could not even see the river.

This has to be one of the most impressive riverside paths in Scotland.

Ness Glen image

The image below is from the Ness Glen trail passing Loch Doon Dam. This is the start of the River Doon that enters the sea at Alloway Village on the south side of Ayr.

A few years back, the Water Board stated they were going to reduce the amount of water released from the dam to about half what is normal. Locals began a campaign to Save the River Doon as they claimed the reduction would have reduced the river to a burn. The campaign seems to have been successful as there has been no reduction in the flow of water leaving this side of Loch Doon.

The water used for the Hydro Electric system in the southwest of Scotland, does not leave Loch Doon from this side. It leaves Loch Doon from the east side, through a large pipe out through the hills to just north of Carsphairn village, at Drumjohn. That water then runs south through a number of other lochs with Hydro Systems between here and Dumfries.

Loch Doon Dam gate image

The image below is from the top side of Ness Glen looking up towards the Roundhouse Cafe, where the hike began.

Ness Glen top side image

The map below shows the hiking route onto Glessel Hill and to the other hills and Ness Glen.

It only takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours to hike to Glessel Hill and round Ness Glen. The hike out to the Big Hill of Glenmount would take over an hour longer. The hike out to the Dalcairney Waterfalls would make for a good half day hike.

Not sure what the hike to Loch Muck and the hills out there are like, some day I will venture out there.

For information on other hills/mountains and attractions around Loch Doon, visit the Loch Doon Page.

Glessel Hill Map image