Kirriereoch Hike

AS Walking

Where: Kirriereoch & Tarfessock in Dumfries & Galloway by Ayrshire
When: June 2013
Who: I Parker
Why: good weather so a day out
Weather: Sunny Spells
Height: 2,579ft and 2,287ft
Distance: ?

Kirriereoch is situated 5 miles north of Glentrool village, 28 miles southeast of Ayr via the village of Straiton, 15 miles north of Newton Stewart, in the county of Dumfries & Galloway. Glentrool 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 village.

The image below is of the Kirriereoch Car Park, Picnic Area and Fishing Spot on the Water of Minnoch, about 100 yards off the Straiton to Glentrool hill road. There are two fairly large green signs at the entrance stating Kirriereoch. The entrance is situated a few hundred yards south of the larger signs for the border between Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway. That is Kirriereoch on the right, Tarfessock just left of centre, and Shalloch-on-Minnoch on the left.

I reached this spot and began taking pics of the main car park for the Kirriereoch Hike. I had read a walk report that stated they drove up the forest road to another car park at the foot of the mountain. It looks a long walk from here, so just as I was thinking about driving up the forest road, two hikers drove past up the road. That helped make my mind up, so off I set up the forest road in the car. Road Map .

Kirriereoch Main Car Park image

The image below is of the Kirriereoch Forest Car Park, about 3 miles from the main car park. The road is quite good with only a few pot holes. Just watch you do not go up the wrong road. You basically go up the main road, then turn off up to the right close to the top, as seen in the map below.

Most of the mature woodland has been cleared in this area, so you would be unlucky if you arrived here and the were clearing the little that remains. The forest road will no doubt be closed when they are clearing the remaining mature trees.

The main trail to Kirriereoch is up the forest break as seen below, following a fairly good path, with a few soggy parts here and there.

Kirriereoch Forest Car Park image

The map below shows the Kirriereoch Trail going up through the woodland, then out onto the west ridge of Kirriereoch.

Kirriereoch Map image

The image below is of a cairn by the woodland path, about half of a mile up from the forest car park. You just follow the main trail through the woodland to here.

The main trail goes down and round to the left here, then out onto the southwest side of Tarfessock. That is Kirriereoch summit straight out there. To get to Kirriereoch, you follow a faint trail from here down and round to the right, to a stone dyke.

Kirriereoch Woodland Cairn image

The image below is of the faint trail about 50 yards down from the cairn, leading past the stone dyke. That is the west ridge of Kirriereoch you see through the trees.

Just down past the dyke, you have to push your way through branches of a couple of trees to get out onto the mountain.

Kirriereoch Forest Path image

The image below is after clearing the trees and looking out to the west ridge of Kirriereoch. This area is a little rough, but nothing too bad.

I headed down to the right here, crossed the 5 feet wide Cross Burn, then headed right, up onto the start of the west ridge. There are many places to cross the burn by stepping stones, although this might be impossible if there has been a lot of heavy rain.

Kirriereoch west ridge image

The image below is from close to the bottom of the west ridge of Kirriereoch. The cliffs are all on the south side, right in this view.

There is a faint trail all the way from here to the summit, and this first part is the steepest, although not quite as steep as it looks from here.

Kirriereoch West Ridge Route image

The image below is from the top of the steep section, looking towards the top of the second section. This is a fairly long hike, but nice and steady from here.

You pass a large rock up this section with what looks like a sheep's face painted on it. It was not until I was at the rock, did I realize it was moss, not paint.

Kirriereoch Second Section image

The image below is of the third section of Kirriereoch with the cairn in view on the top. This mountain is good hiking with the sheep keeping the grass like a lawn most of the way.

Kirriereoch Summit from the west image

The image below is from the cairn on Kirriereoch looking south to the 2,766ft Merrick. It is a fairly straight forward hike from here over to The Merrick, via the Little Spear, just about 450ft to go down and back up again.

Kirriereoch view to The Merrick image

The image below is from the east side of Kirriereoch looking north to Tarfessock. I met the other hikers on the top here again, and they stated there were fairly safe, but steep, routes down the east and north sides. I had a look down the east side here, then decided to go straight down the north side.

Kirriereoch looing north to Tarfessock image

The image below is of the steep route down the north side of Kirriereoch. It is about 600ft down here to the lowest part on the crossing. There are a lot of rocks to get through, so is a bit slow going. Looks a fairly tough hike up here.

I had only viewed this route from Shalloch-on-Minnoch before, and it looked almost impossible from there. Glad to find it was possible to hike down or up here.

Kirriereoch steep north side image

The image below is from Tarfessock South looking north to Tarfessock. It is about 300ft up to the top from the low point between these hills.

I followed the rocky east ridge up, then cut over to the summit cairn close to the top. There is a large boulder on the east ridge, as can be seen below. Think this is the boulder you see a lot of hikers photos on as, when taken at the right angle, it looks like they are out on a sheer cliff.

Tarfessock South image

The image below is when approaching Tarfessock from the south, with Shalloch-on-Minnoch to the north. It is a fairly straight forward hike over there, with about 450ft to hike up to the top from the lowest part.

Tarfessock image

The image below is from Tarfessock cairn looking down the west ridge, back towards the car park.

I decided to head straight down the middle following a faint trail, then cut over to the south side close to the bottom, to look for the best way down to the car park.

Tarfessock West Ridge image

The image below is from where I cut across to the south side close to the bottom. I cut across too early as I ended up on top of cliffs here. This gave me a good view of the routes down though.

I decided to go round to the right here, round the cliffs, then down to the forest break to the main path back through the woodland to the car park.

I looked at the other trail from the end of the ridge straight to the car park, but thought it might be a bit rough. I later found that is the better route with a good path down to the car park from a communication tower.

The route down to the forest break was a bit rough, and got even rougher lower down. There was a good path down the forest break to the main woodland path, but was a bit soggy in places.

Tarfessock lower section image

After getting back to the car park, I decided to have a look up the trail to the Communication Tower at the bottom of Tarfessock west ridge. This looks a good trail, starting from right next to the car park, up to the tower, then there should be a faint trail from the tower all the way to the top of Tarfessock. Will try that route some day.

Tarfessock Trail image

The hike to Kirriereoch was great from the second car park, would have been a long slog from the first car park. There were a few soggy parts on the woodland trail, and each side of the Cross Burn, but after that, it was great dry hiking all the way to the top.

The route across to Tarfessock was a fair bit tougher, turning the hike into a fair test.

If I hike these hills again, will probably do one at a time from the same car park. I like hikes in sunny days that are not too long, and hikes from car parks close to the foot of the hills.

Some hikers like to go down the whole range in the same day. You need to get dropped off and picked up, or use two cars to do the whole range in one day. Expect to take between 7 and 10 hours to go down the whole range.
Large Route Map

South Side Tour

North Side Tour