Hill walk routes to climb in SW Scotland - also coastal paths and National Scenic Areas with maps, pictures and other useful information based on extensive local knowledge
Durisdeer and Lowther Hills - Introduction
|This group of hills lies between the valleys of the River Nith and the River Annan, or if you prefer to think in terms of trunk roads, between the A76 and the M74 corridors which run north/south through the South of Scotland on it's west side. The whole group of hills is known collectively as the Lowthers, though for our purposes it is handy to recognise the section lying south of the Dalveen Pass (or if you prefer the A702 trunk road) as the Durisdeer Hills and the hills north of the Pass as the Lowthers.The old lead mining village of Wanlockhead at the head of the Mennock Pass is at around 450m the highest village in Britain. Leadhills was the birthplace of the famous 18th century poet Allan Ramsay. His son, also called Allan Ramsay, was the outstanding British portrait painter of the 1750/60s.|
|Click here for a larger map|
will see from the map that these hills consist of a series of ridges running
SW/NE, the highest ridge being north of the Dalveen, Green
Lowther getting up to 732mts and Lowther
Hill at 725mts.
Among the Durisdeer Hills, Queensberry is the highest at 697mts Ballencleuch Law is 691mts and Rodger Law 688mts.
The coast to coast Southern Upland Way passes up through Wanlockhead and over Lowther Hill.
|The picture above left shows Durisdeer village nestling beneath the hills. You would park in the village for some of the walks we will go on to look at. Although the Durisdeer Hills are not particularly high they are quite shapely, and they offer plenty of opportunity for fairly easy walking with excellent views. Sandy is looking at Glenleith Hill from East Morton Hill.|
Above left is a view looking NNE down into the Dalveen Pass from the shoulder of Black Hill, with the pap of Capel Hill on the right and Caplaw Rig swinging round in a NW direction beyond it (on the left). In the above right picture we are on Caplaw Rig looking back SSW down the Dalveen Pass to where the previous picture was taken from.
In the picture on the left we are looking over the Dalveen Pass towards the Lowthers, with the "golf ball" of the aircraft tracking station on the top of Lowther Hill. The shoulder coming into the picture from the left is of Steygail which is a particularly shapely hill (see below). The hill on the right, shaped like a horse shoe (or perhaps more like a traditional Scottish black pudding, or French Croissant), is Comb Head with Cold Moss above it before Lowther Hill.
The "Southern Upland Way"mentioned above is a long distance walk from Portpatrick on Scotland's west coast to Cockburnspath on the east coast. It comes down from Lowther Hill over Cold Moss and Comb Head before heading over by the Daer Reservoir and the upper waters of the River Clyde.
|In the picture below we are now on the top of Lowther Hill looking south over the Durisdeer Hills towards Criffel and the Solway. If you look close enough you can see the Solway both beyond Criffel and three quarters way across the picture on the right. The hint of land visible beyond the Solway is the Lake District. The camera with it's limited tonal range can never pick up the detail as well as you can see with the naked eye.|
|In the picture below we are again on top of Lowther Hill but looking SW this time, over East Mount Lowther towards Cairnsmore of Fleet and the Galloway hills in the distance. The fire that you see is the burning of heather on Coshogle Rig.|
|The following picture shows the view back to Lowther Hill from Coshogle Rig. Notice the "golf ball" on Lowther hill on the left and the mammoth-like Steygail on the right. The line of the Southern Upland Way runs along the skyline beyond Steygail.|
picture below shows the whole line of the Durisdeer Hills as seen from the
west - from Coshogle Rig. The green star is placed on Capel Hill, the red
star shows the location of Durisdeer village, and the yellow star shows
the location of Morton
Castle. There is a fine easy ridge walk from Morton Castle by East Morton
Hill and Nether Hill above Kettleton Reservoir. The picture of Sandy in
the the snow near the top of the page was taken on this ridge.
The ridge walk from Durisdeer over by Black Hill towards Capel Hill (from which three of the above shots were taken), is more obvious in the above picture. It is quite easy to build several different circuitous walks (long or short according to your fancy) around these ridges. Here is a link to a website dealing with walks in the area around Thornhill.