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Craignell to Darnaw circuit

Craignell to Darnaw circuit

Postby iainR » Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:20 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Craignell

Date walked: 10/10/2020

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 9.5 km

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I'd bagged a few of the hills near Clatteringshaws throughout the years but for some reason i'd missed Craignell therefore another excuse to visit Galloway on what was supposed to be a mostly sunny day was planned.
As i left the A712 and drove up the narrow road behind the dam the skies were already getting overcast and the clouds were hanging over Cairnsmore of Fleet further down the valley, so much for the sun !
I parked near the small bridge which runs over the Pulran Burn, the same spot i used when i climbed Darnaw and visited the Dragonfly Memorial on a far warmer and sunnier spring day several years ago. This time round my route would take me up Low Craignell then on to Craignell before i revisited Darnaw.
I walked up the forestry road to the quarry and turned left here which was a totally different route that i'd used to climb Darnaw. My OS map indicated a hill path which branched off to the right further up the road and sure enough a very faint path was there barely visible through the undergrowth but it did get more defined as it rose up the hillside, i followed this until it looked to be leading back down into the trees so i just headed directly up the remaining slope and i was soon standing on Low Craignell just as the rain came on almost spoiling my view of Cairnsmore of Dee.
Forest road quarry__.jpg
Forest road quarry

Start of hillpath__.jpg
Start of hill path

Summit of Low Craignell__.jpg
Summit of Low Craignell

I picked up a track on the ridge between Low Craignell and Craignell but the going was still rough and i lost the track a couple of times between rock outcrops, bogs and small lochans but it did stop raining in time for me reaching Craignell where Cairnsmore of Fleet and Millfore mostly dominated the viewing here through the intermittent cloud cover.
Ridge leading to Craignell__.jpg
Ridge leading to Craignell

Craignell lochans__.jpg
Some of the many lochans

Summit of Craignell__.jpg
Summit of Craignell

The route to Darnaw from Craignell was pathless (i never found one) and business as usual with wet rocks, bogs and more lochans mixed in with thick heather, a strong wind had also picked up which brightened the sky a bit but my progress was still slow and careful.
View of Millfore__.jpg
View of Millfore

View of Darnaw__.jpg
The Darnaw hillside

Eventually i reached the Darnaw summit cairn and after a quick photo i continued along the ridge in search of the Dragonfly Memorial which i found further down the far side of the hill. The memorial itself marks the area where in 1937 a De Havilland DH90 Dragonfly flew into the hillside in poor weather killing everyone onboard, a sombre story despite the normally picturesque view from here.
Summit of Darnaw__.jpg
Summit of Darnaw

Dragonfly memorial__.jpg
The Dragonfly Memorial

The route back down to the forestry road has changed quite a bit since my last visit with most of the trees cleared but i did spy a gravel track further down so i slowly picked my way through the clear fell down to that where luckily it led me straight out to the road, solid ground at last !
Despite the conditions i got today its a great little circuit which gives a proper taste of real Galloway hillwalking.

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