Corserine Hike

AS Walking

Where: Corserine, from Forest Lodge, Dumfries & Galloway
When: September 15th 2012
Who: I Parker
Why: Good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny spells
Distance: About 8 miles, 4 hours

The Forest Estate is situated about 34 miles southeast of Ayr off the A713. The entrance to the estate is about 7 miles south of Casphairn, with signs at the entrance stating Forest Estate.

This is a good scenic, single track, tar road with many passing places.

The range here is known as the Rhinns of Kells, containing from the north, the 1,732 ft Black Craig, 2,043 ft Coran of Portmark, 2,011 ft Bow, 2,162 ft Gairnsgarroch, 2,280 ft Meaul, 2,648 ft Carlin's Cairn, 2,671 ft Corserine, 2,034 ft Meikle Craigtarson, 2,349 ft Millfire, 2,421 ft Milldown, and 2,457 ft Meikle Millyea.

This photo tour covers the Tourist Trail up the north east ridge to Corserine, and back down the tougher southeast ridge to Loch Harrow.

The image below is from the Forest Estate road approaching The Green House with Corserine in the distance.

Forest Estate Road Map

Large Hill Route Map

Forest Estate Road image

The image below is of The Green House situated about 2 miles along the estate road. This is a Natural Power Organization.

The Green House Forest Estate image

After about 3 miles from the start of the estate road, your reach the hiking car park with seating areas, as seen below. There is a map here that shows the roads throughout the forest to the hills. Many of the roads are named after people.

There is a sign here that states: if any cars are left in the car park after 8 o'clock, the estate management will report the owners as being lost in the hills or forest, and may need rescuing. Even though the trails are marked, it is best to carry an OS map as there are many other forest roads here that you can take a wrong turn onto and get lost.

The road straight ahead is the Professor Hans Heiberg Road. This road is normally used out to, or on the road back from the most southern hill on this range, Meikle Millyea.

The main tourist trail to Corserine leads off to the right in this image on a well marked path.

Forest Estate Corserine car park image

The map below shows the main trail up Corserine past Loch Harrow and up the northeast ridge.

Larger Map .

Corserine Map image

On the road round to Corserine, over to your right through the trees, you will see a figurehead, as seen below, at the entrance to the Forest Lodge. This figurehead is from the Fred Olsen passenger liner named the Black Watch that was sunk during the Second World War. The ship was operated on the Newcastle - Oslo route.

The estate must have connections to the Fred Olsen cruise line, explaining why many of the forest roads have Scandinavian names.

Forest Lodge Black Watch figurehead image

The forest road to Corserine heads up into the forest past a white house, as seen below.

Corserine Road image

The forest road heading north has a number of blue and white signs directing you to Corserine. This forest track is about 2 and a half miles out to the northeast ridge of Corserine. You pass a road marked Birger Natvig Road. This is the road down the south side of Loch Harrow to the southeast ridge of Corserine.

The blue signs there state hikers should carry on straight past that road and follow signs for a bridge and stile. The view below is from just past Birger Natvig Road at a clearing, looking over Loch Harrow to the more rocky southeast ridge of Corserine.

Corserine from the forest road image

After a stiff hike up the forest road for about another half of a mile, the blue signs point down an older forest road towards the northeast ridge of Corserine. Note the small red post here, red posts mark the trail from here.

Corserine forest trail image

About 1 third of a mile down this old road, the road turns to a soggy path. The bridge is actually boulders across the burn. You have to be careful you don't walk past this part of the trail as it is only marked by a small red post.

Corserine rock bridge image

After a few hundred yards through a narrow woodland path, your reach a stile that gives the view below. The hike up Corserine consists of a fairly steep hike up to this first ridge, then a fairly steep hike up to a second ridge, then from the second ridge it is an easy hike to the summit.

There is a narrow trail all the way to the top.

Corserine northeast ridge image

The image below is looking down from the second ridge to the first ridge and Loch Harrow on the right. There are a number of sub hills on the road up with cairns you can visit. The sub hills normally have the best views.

If you visit the two hills over to the left in this image, mind the hill furthest to the left/north as it has high cliffs on its northeast side.

Corserine northeast route image

The view below is from just above the second ridge looking to Corserine summit. It is easy and safe hiking up here as long as visibilty is good. Mind the drops here if visibility is poor.

As I was hiking up the northeast ridge, I noticed someone in a red jacket hiking up the southeast ridge, that looked a fair bit tougher.

Corserine summit from the northeast side image

The image below is from Corserine summit looking north to Carlin's Cairn, Meaul, Gairnsgarroch, Bow and Coran of Portmark.

Corserine view north image

The view below is of the route over to the 2,648 ft Carlin's Cairn. This is a fairly easy hike if you want to bag another 2,500 ft plus hill, just a bit steep in places. You can find an aircraft crash site, just left of where this image was taken.

Large Image .

Carlin's Cairn from Corserine image

The view below is from Corserine looking south to the 2,349 ft Millfire, 2,421 ft Milldown, and 2,457 ft Meikle Millyea. Many hikers want to go down over those three hills then back to the car park from Meikle Millyea along the Professor Hans Heiberg Road. Make sure you have an OS map on that route as there are a number of forest roads down that way, easy to go down the wrong one. The Professor Hans Heiberg Road is not too well marked in places.

The hike along those three hills is fairly straight forward. You then follow a stone dyke down off the east side of Meikle Millyea to a stile that leads to The Professor Hans Heiberg Road, down past a watch tower. That route down will take about 3 hours longer.

Large Image . Tour of the Meikle Millyea Route .

Corserine view south to Millfire image

I met the hiker that made it up the southeast ridge, on the top of Corserine. He stated the route was very tough going up through the short forest break and onto the start of the ridge.

I decided to go down that way to see if I could get some good photos. The view below is going down the southeast ridge, a fair bit more adventurous than the northeast ridge. There is a good forest road that runs right round to the end of the loch, at the bottom of this ridge.

If you are not used to rough hiking, best go back down the northeast ridge, following the path.

There is another aircraft crash site, close to the east side edge, when hiking across to here.

Corserine southeast ridge image

The view below is from the road round the south side of Loch Harrow, looking back at Corserine southeast ridge. There is short forest break round there for a route, on or off that ridge, next to a small quarry. I came down through the trees next to the forest break. I found it was better walking as the trees have few branches low down.

The southeast ridge is definitely a lot tougher and more dangerous, probably why the signs show the way to the northeast ridge. The image below shows the tough route, but you can miss the route up between the cliffs by following the fence around to the left of the lower part. Large Image .

Corserine from Loch Harrow image

This was an interesting hike that took about 4 hours, could have spent a fair bit more time visiting some of the sub peaks.

Corserine looks like a large grassy hill from the north, south and west, but from the east, as seen above, it looks like a challenging mountain, especially the southeast ridge.