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
The Four Main Hill Ranges of SW Scotland
Site Homepage - Galloway Hills - Scaur Hills - Lowther Hills - Moffat and West Border Hills

There are three major valleys which break through the hill ranges of South West Scotland creating the main corridors which mankind has travelled down through the ages. In the east is Annandale, which runs between the Queensberrys/Lowthers and the Moffat/Ettrick hills and which becomes the Valley of the River Clyde (hence "Clydesdale" in Lanarkshire) once you pass over the watershed near Abbington.

The next valley to the west of this is that of the River Nith (hence Nithsdale) coming south to Dumfries from Thornhill, Sanquhar and the high moorland area which separates Dumfriesshire from Ayrshire - from which moor the River Afton (hence Glenafton) flows north west. The Nith separates the Queensberrys/Lowthers from the Scaur Hills. Criffel and Screel are quite modest isolated hills by the coast, but they are justifiably popular with the local population for the excellent views to be got from them across the Solway to the Lake District.

The picture below shows the view from Cairnkinna in the Scaur hills looking east across the Nith Valley to the Lowthers.
The major break in the hills in the west is what is known as the Glenkens. Here we do not a have single river valley, but rather a series of Lochs, the largest being Loch Ken. This series of Lochs has been adapted for the generation of electricity in a string of hydroschemes all the way from the Ayrshire border down to Tongland near Kirkcudbright. The Galloway and Minnigaff hills lie west of the Glenkens. The picture below shows the view from Cairnsgarroch at the north end of the Rhinns of Kells looking over to Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and the rest of the Scaur Hills. The village of Carsphairn can be seen beside the figures.

For convenience, hills east of the River Annan are called the Borders in this site:
- those west of the Annan and east of the Nith are called the Lowther hills
- those west of the Nith
and east of the Glenkens are called the Scaur hills
- west of the Glenkens we have the Galloway hills.

Site Homepage