The Galloway Hills lie well off the beaten track in South-West Scotland and, despite rumours to the contrary, offer some wonderful climbing, particularly to lovers of remote solitude. Crag approaches are generally long, though there are some notable exceptions, and the going is exceptionally rough and boggy. A mountain bike, wellies and a cheerful disposition solve these problems to some extent.
All the major crags lie along the Mullwharchar Range, a broken ridge of hills that bisects the Galloway Mountains from north to south. The rock is granite, usually solid, clean and quick drying except where noted otherwise. It is seamed with cracks, often rounded ones, so that on many pitches a double rack of cams is well worth carrying. Midges can be a serious problem in summer - insect repellant and a stiff breeze are advised.
The guidebook required is the SMC Lowland Outcrops 1994, and page numbers given relate to this guide.
Maps required are OS Landranger sheets 77, 79 and 83 or, alternatively, OS Explorer maps 318 and 319 which give excellent coverage of the entire range, though unfortunately forestry firebreaks, so often used for access, are not shown.
It should be noted that the term "lane" in the Galloway Hills means a large and often unfordable stream, rather than an easy means of passage. Thus the term "Gala Lane" does not indicate a pleasant path, though the real path may not be any drier, and in fact probably does not exist at all.
These pages give a brief description of the main Galloway Crags as well as details of new routes recorded since the last guidebook and a few that have not been previously recorded properly. Please note that as a general rule, routes that are already described in the current SMC guide will not be described here unless they have been poorly described. This means you will have to buy the guidebook you stingy so-and-sos! Every attempt has been made to be as accurate as possible but there will no doubt be some errors. As always in mountaineering, proceed at your own risk. As these notes will form the basis for the next SMC Lowland Outcrops guide, notification of errors or omissions would be much appreciated, as would information on grades and stars of all routes, if only to confirm the current rating is correct.
Here are details of the major crags and some of the new routes that have been done in the Galloway Mountains since the last SMC Lowlands Outcrops Guide.
The Tauchers Remote and atmospheric coire in the north of the range.
Dungeon of Buchan Superb but remote south-facing multi-pitch crag.
The Merrick Little rock climbing but some winter routes.
Craignaw Little rock climbing but one magnificent winter route.
Craigencallie Easy access crag near Clatteringshaws Loch.
Craigdews Otherwise known as the Goat Park - the full mountain experience only 10 minutes from the road.
Corwar Crag A small crag of excellent rock near Newton Stewart
Craig an Eilte High mountain crag with remote atmosphere.
Clints of the Spout Very remote coire with two excellent winter routes.
Clints of Dromore South-facing easy access cragging in the lower grades including the recently developed Black & White Walls.
Loch Grannoch Crag Pleasant south-facing slabs in a remote setting.
Ski-Touring in Galloway Lots of possibilities - just add snow!
Hill-walking in Galloway A few good links to the wonderful rugged hill-walking, and other general information about the area including links to other useful sites and local Mountain Rescue Teams.
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