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Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway


Postby Mountainlove » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:07 am

Route description: The Merrick via Loch Valley, from Glen Trool

Corbetts included on this walk: Merrick

Grahams included on this walk: Mullwharchar

Donalds included on this walk: Merrick, Mullwharchar

Date walked: 18/06/2017

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 19.2 km

Ascent: 1197m

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Frustrated I checked the weather forecast on Friday evening. Will the sun ever shine again during a weekend? :roll: Checking the weather more closely, I realized that further down south the weather was actually rather promising. :D

With a glass of wine surrounded by maps and trip reports I started to look into Galloway. Driving south to climb mountains was rather alien to me and to be honest, I had never fancied it, but the pictures I saw intrigued me. :think: Half a bottle of wine later my plan was set for Sunday. I would climb a Corbett, throw in a Graham for good measures and go for a swim in the amazing looking Loch Enoch. :thumbup:

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I felt that I had all the time in the world when I set off at 10 am on Sunday. Driving through Galloway I was amazed how lovely the area is. Why on earth had no one told me about this pretty place? I passed picturesque villages, green fields, small hills and endless sheep and cows- very much what Ayrshire is about, until it was topped with the single track road through the Galloway Forest Park. 2 hours later I arrived at the car park and in glorious weather I set off – what a difference to the drizzle and overcast sky I had set off in a couple of hours earlier.

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Merrick in the distance

The path was great and I stopped often to take photos and enjoy the countryside. Within the first half an hour a lovely bothy came into view, which simply was picture perfect. Not so much when I looked inside and saw a pile of rubbish on one corner and otherwise bare stone walls. I stepped outside again and continued along the path, which lead me through a forest and one passed to open hill side.

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The bothy

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Not so pretty inside

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Further up looking back

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The big bulk of Merrick

The sun was incredibly hot and I was sweating buckets. I passed a few people and the higher I walked the better the views got. 2 hours after setting off I arrived at Merricks cairn. Two women who I had overtaken lower down appeared a while after and having my lunch we chatted for a while.

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Summit cairn

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Towards Mullwharchar

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Towards the north

Keen to move on and said my good byes and moved to the east to find a route down towards Loch Enoch. The loch was even more stunning that the pictures I had seen Graham which rose up from its northern side, was rather cute looking. I started the decent and took lots of photos. I particular loved Craignaw, a fine granite mountain ,which reminded me so much about mountains in the far north.

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I did not expect those views in the south

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Loch Enoch, Craignaw to the right and Mullwharchar to the left

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With too much time in hand 8)

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Better just sitting down

Zigzagging my way down Merrick , I was so glad that I had decided to do the round, as this was far more stunning than the climb up the tourist path had been. When I reached the bottom, I filled up my water bottle in the wee burn and started the climb up Mullwharchar.

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Mullwharchar

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Loch Enoch

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Feral goats on Mullwharchar

It was easy and I did not took long at all to reach the summit. Looking around the views were amazing for such a small hill (if you consider nearly 700m small) , but what it lacked in height it made up in views. I lingered for a while to see if I could see the goats I had spotted before, but had to give up when I realized that I better get going , if I wanted to go for a swim. I reached one of the many sandy ‘beaches a short while after and unpacked my swimming gear. I love swimming outdoors and when I stepped in the water I was surprised how warm it felt.

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At the top of Mullwharchar

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Views north

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Back towards Merrick

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Summit Panorama

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Time to go for a swim

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Sandy beach

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Enjoying the water

There is not much else what can top a swim on a hot day and I started swimming towards the tiny islands. Away from the shallow edge, I could feel the cold water rising from the bottom, which looked black and eerie below me. Once in a while I felt grass brush against my legs and I tried not to think what else might lurked in the depths. :shock: I reached one of the wee islands and pulled myself out of the water and stood up, wondering how many, if any, had ever set foot on it. Sitting down I looked around me. Merrick to the west, Mullwharchar to the north and Dungeon Hill to the east. The sun was still very warm and I thought who needs a holiday when you can have all of this to yourself. :thumbup:

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Mullwharchar in the distance

I continued my swim until at nearly 6 pm, I realized that I better get going. I packed my gear, got dressed and walked along the side of the loch. A very faith appeared once in a while and by the time I reached the fence and stone wall I was sure that I was on the right way. Which of course I wasn't :thumbdown:

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The path not to take

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I continued along the hardly there path and was wondering how this could be the other official route. :think: I moved along until I reached the edge of the forest. Wasn’t there supposed to be another loch and where on earth was the path? I looked around vaguely remembering a path through a forest from the evening I had looked at the maps. I dug my GPS out and checked my location. The wee path was only a few minutes away, so I had been right so far. I continued and stepped over a fallen down gate and saw a rather unused path leading towards the forest.

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The entrance into the forest

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Yes there is some kind of path

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Even pretty in places

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Where was I again?

The path at first was not too bad and lead through the forest, but by the time I reached a burn I took a wrong turn. High grass and a path which appeared , only to disappear again was what I had to follow along a pretty burn. I stopped seeing the funny side of it when I had to crawl on hands and knees into the dense forest because of a landslide. I stood up but the forest was so thick that my arms and legs got scratched by branches When I passed the landslide I stepped into the opening again, I was clearly lost! Moving along the burn I stepped into deep bog hole and was not able to pull out my leg. It felt as someone was holding on to it and only by sitting down and pulling at my leg I was able to free myself.
Later on I realized that a far better path was close to me, but the map I had did not show it :? I simply could only walk on and hope that this nightmare would end of at some point.
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Finally after what felt like hours I saw the start (or end) of an official looking path. I crossed the wee burn one last time and stepped onto it. From that time it was easy going again and needless to say I was beyond happiness when I saw the wee bothy again and realized that I was close to the car. At 8:30pm I finally reached my car, scratched to bits, with dried blood and mud covering my legs and starving but what a day it had been . Galloway I will be back!


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Mountainlove
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1249
Munros:60   Corbetts:25
Grahams:7   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:3   
Islands:9
Joined: Feb 2, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Cracking report and photo's :clap:
Funnily enough I am just about to start my WR for Mullwarchar and the other 5 Donalds nearby. I was on Mullwarchar yesterday and it really is a superb area and probably hardly ever visited.
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Fife Flyer
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Phil the Hill » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:01 pm

Yes, Galloway is lovely and has some great hills. Good place names too.

I also discovered it when fleeing from bad weather in the Highlands many years ago. I noticed high pressure was building from the SW, so drove down in the rain and had a brilliant day on Merrick next day in conditions like yours.

Not quite so good in early May this year though, when I went back to bag Corserine to compleat my Galloway Corbetts.
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Phil the Hill
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby apollo0815 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:54 pm

I am sitting in the office at 36 deg Celsius in southern Germany, and officially declare that I hate you by heart for that "swimming in the Loch" image. :lol:
Nice report:)
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apollo0815
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Mountainlove » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:57 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Cracking report and photo's :clap:
Funnily enough I am just about to start my WR for Mullwarchar and the other 5 Donalds nearby. I was on Mullwarchar yesterday and it really is a superb area and probably hardly ever visited.


Oh wow sounds like you had some great weather as well. One of the two women I met said that the area is usually deserted, which now that I have visited I can't understand at all. Looking forward to read your report!

Phil the Hill wrote:Yes, Galloway is lovely and has some great hills. Good place names too.
I also discovered it when fleeing from bad weather in the Highlands many years ago. I noticed high pressure was building from the SW, so drove down in the rain and had a brilliant day on Merrick next day in conditions like yours.
Not quite so good in early May this year though, when I went back to bag Corserine to compleat my Galloway Corbetts.

Laugh I was thinking the same, that I will never be able to get the same weather again...it was simply gorgeous!

apollo0815 wrote:I am sitting in the office at 36 deg Celsius in southern Germany, and officially declare that I hate you by heart for that "swimming in the Loch" image. :lol:
Nice report:)

Haha if you would see Scotland now (rain) you would probably think different...36C sounds amazing!!
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Mountainlove
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Chris Mac » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:56 pm

Another great report from Loch Enoch and the Merrick to go with Fife Flyer's! Looks brilliant down there, very scenic, looking forward to a visit and I think i'll try and go on a nice day like you got if I can! 8)
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Robertgee » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:12 pm

Fabulous walk report. Loved your photos. :clap: I just love the Galloway Hills as well as the Border Hills, you should check these out also if you get the chance. Was at Loch Enoch in May during our mini heatwave. A point of information for you: Loch Enoch is almost unique in Scotland. It has an island with it's own little loch. This only occurs in one other location in Scotland (Loch Maree). Was this the island you swam to by any chance then?
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:18 pm

Robertgee wrote:Fabulous walk report. Loved your photos. :clap: I just love the Galloway Hills as well as the Border Hills, you should check these out also if you get the chance. Was at Loch Enoch in May during our mini heatwave. A point of information for you: Loch Enoch is almost unique in Scotland. It has an island with it's own little loch. This only occurs in one other location in Scotland (Loch Maree). Was this the island you swam to by any chance then?


Oh I did not know that! I did not swim to the island, as I was on the other end by the looks of it, but knowing about the island gives me a good reason to return. Thanks for the information!!
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Mountainlove
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Re: Merrick, Mullwharchar and stunning Galloway

Postby ere1 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:57 pm

Hi Mountainlove! Galloway wasn’t on my to-do list until now, but I got excited by your latest report. The beautiful small hills and last but not least, a gorgeous location to swim. :thumbup:
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