Where: Blackcraig Hill, by New Cumnock,
When: March 27th 2012
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out to take some
Weather: Sunny about 20c/ 70f unusually warm
for time of year
Distance: ? miles
Blackcraig Hill is a popular walk as it is
one of the highest hills in Ayrshire at 2,296
feet above sea level, if not the highest. The
area is about 800 feet above sea level so the
actual hike should be about 1,400 ft. There
are another three hills next to Blackcraig,
one over 2,000 ft and the others just below
2,000 ft. Many people want to go round the
Finding Blackcraig Hill is the first thing
to do. Travel to the town of New Cumnock
in East Ayrshire. On the south side of the
town following the A76, you will see a small
roundabout with a turn left to Dumfries, and
a turn right to Dalmellington. Take the road
to Dalmellington and after only 50 yards, you
will see the sign below pointing to Afton
Road, Camping and Burns Cairn. Blackcraig
Hill is about 4 miles down Afton Road.
Road Map .
After about 4 miles down Afton Road, you
will see a narrow farm road lead off to the
left with a small bridge crossing Afton Burn
(Afton Water). The hill in the distance below
is Blackcraig. Just before the burn is
parking for about two cars only.
From the car park, as seen below, you can
see the Blackcraig Farm road leading up to
the north side of Blackcraig Hill. You then
cross a field and work your way up onto the
main hill. This is probably the steadiest way
up, but if the car park is full, or you want
a stiffer challenge, drive on about another
mile to a larger carpark by the west
There are no trails to follow, so it is
over moorland with some soggy patches here
and there, so hiking boots are essential.
These are sheep farms, so best not take a
dog, or, keep them on a lead.
About 1 mile further down Afton Road, you
pass a small farm, then about 200 yards
further on are two cottages with parking in
front of them, as seen below next to two
storage units. This view below shows
Blackcraig Hill steep west side.
The map below shows the different routes
to hike Blackcraig Hill, and the three hills
on the same range, Blacklorg Hill at 2,234
ft, Cannock Hill at 1,948 ft, and
Craigbraneoch Rig at 1,889 ft.
There are two steep routes onto this
range, one up the west side of Blackcraig
Hill following a gully, and one up the north
side of Craigbraneoch Rig.
The photo tour below is going up the steep
north side of Craigbraneoch Rig, round the
four hills, then down the steep west side of
Below are a few images with information of
the four hills going anti-clockwise from
Craigbraneoch Hill round to Blackcriag
At Craig Farm, you take the road south
round towards Craigbraneoch Rig, the one with
the peak, as seen below.
The direct rout is up the north side, a
steep testing hike that is good and dry. The
view below is from just over half way up the
north side. Once you have walked about 1
third of a mile along the forest path, as
seen bottom right, and are level with the
start of the north side, you can follow a
fence from the path that leads to a gate. The
gate leads to this route up. Best only go up
or down this route in good visabilty, as
there are a few cliffs either side.
The summit of Craigbraneoch gives views
over Afton Dam and the 1,948 feet Cannock
Hill to the south, the next peak.
From close to the top of Cannock Hill,
looking back north, you get good views of
Afton Dam/Reservoir as seen below. This view
also shows Craigbraneoch south and west sides
are an easy hike compared to its steep north
or east sides. The route across is a bit
soggy at the lowest point, but nothing too
There are walking signs from the top of
the dam that point to a path through the
trees, out onto the side of Craigbraneoch.
You have to climb a hundred or two steps to
get up to the top of the dam, then it is only
about half of an hour from the top of the dam
to Craigbraneoch summit, good dry hiking. The
safest and quickest way up or down.
The summit of Cannock Hill, as seen below
looking east, shows the next peak, Blacklorg
Hill at 2,234 feet, 286 feet higher than this
The view below is after crossing from
Cannock Hill to Blacklorg Hill. The walk down
and across was easy going and dry, just this
hike up was a bit testing.
The view below is from the side of
Blacklorg Hill looking up Afton Glen.
The view below is from Blacklorg Hill
summit looking north to Blackcraig Hill at
2,296 feet, 62 feet higher than this one.
The view below shows the south side of
Blackcraig Hill after descending from
Blacklorg Hill. Its about 500 ft down then
back up. This low area is a bit soggy in
places, nothing too bad though. Large
The view below shows Blackcraig Hill south
side when aproaching the summit. The two
hikers here are going round the four hills
clockwise, starting from Blackcraig Farm at
the north side. Large
The view below shows Blackcraig Hill
summit from the south side.
The view below shows Blackcraig Hill
summit looking north towrds New Cumnock.
There are three ways down from here, head
north towards the Wind Farm and down towards
Blackcraig Farm, head north then follow a
stone dyke down the north shoulder, or go
down the steep west side following a narrow
Following the gully down or up the steep
west side is best only done when visibility
is good, as there are high drops not far off
eaither side of the gully. This route gives
the best views though, and is the fastest.
One hiker claimed to have hiked up this route
in about 1 hour.
The view below shows the gully where you
have to cross over for the best way down.
The view below is from the bottom of the
gully showing there is little rock climbing
to be done, but nothing difficult.
Crossing Afton Burn to get back to the car
park is normally easy, but watch out for wet
stepping stones. If it has been wet, and you
do not fancy crossing the burn, you can
follow the burn up to Blackcraig Farm where
there is a bridge.
The view below shows the gully going up
the west side of Blackcraig Hill. There is a
stone dyke that leads up onto the north
shoulder of the hill towards the wind farm,
that is not as steep and safer.
Once you cross the burn it is through a
field up to the road here and car park at the
These are good hills to hike with not too
many wet spots, and a fairly good road right
to the bottom of them.
From the road leading to the dam, just
past the dam car park, there is a marked
trail that leads up onto the hill named Windy
Standard at 2,290 ft. This hill has a wind
farm on it. Hill Walking
of the four hills, the part up between
Cannock and Blacklorg is a great view.