569 Metre hill overlooking the Solway Firth and River Nith Estuary
|Requirements: Good walking boots, can be very wet underfoot. The views are worth getting wet feet.|
|Restrictions: Limited Parking|
|Map Reference: A710 Dumfries to Dalbeattie coastal road. Limited Parking near Ardwall Farm Map Ref: NX972/635|
|When it comes to parking there is nothing more infuriating to a farmer than a walker’s car badly parked or blocking an entrance. Just before the entrance to Ardwall Farm the road is fairly wide with enough space for a few cars. Remember however that farm vehicles are much larger and wider than your normal car so give them plenty of room and everyone will be happy. After all you are out for a walk so parking a few hundred yards further won’t make much of a difference?
The route to the summit is fairly straightforward. At the entrance to the farm bear left up a track and then take first right following the track up to the edge of the forest. Here you should see a small sign pointing to Criffel. If you miss it just head straight ahead where you will see a stream on your right. Basically you will keep this the Craigrockall Burn on your right all the way up until you come to a large bridge, crossing two forest roads on the way. Just beyond the bridge you start to bear left on a well-defined (wet) path until you come to the cairn and just beyond that a Trig Point.
On the way up keep an eye on the large granite boulders for ‘striations’ these are the marks left on the rocks as the glaciers retreated during the last Ice Age. The large bridge you see half way is more of a mystery. I’m not quite sure why it’s there; there’s no path evident on the other side. If you know its origin please let me know? Anyway it makes a nice spot to rest before heading on to the summit.
On the summit itself as you look out over the Solway with the lower summit of Knockendoch on your left Loch Kindar is clearly visible below. Across the mouth of the River Nith and Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve the four tall chimneys of Chapelcross are prominent features. In favourable weather away to your right you should be able to see Hestan Island, which lies at the mouth of the River Urr. To the left lies the tranquil village of New Abbey with the ruins of the well-known Sweetheart Abbey. For a map of the area.