Cairnsmore of Fleet Hill

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The 2,332 ft Cairnsmore of Fleet is situated about 4 miles south of Newton Stewart, southwest Scotland, in the county of Dumfries & Galloway, by the A75 road.

The image below is from the A75 road looking up the Cairnsmore Estate road that leads to the hiking car park for Cairnsmore of Fleet hill. Cairnsmore of Fleet is the hill on the left, and the 2,155 ft Knee of Cairnsmore on the right.

If you are travelling down from the north, about 4 miles south of Newton Stewart on the A75, you will pass large signs on the left for the Kirroughtree Centre for biking and hiking. This road below is the next on the left, only a few hundred yards past the entrance to the Kirroughtree Centre. SatNav postcode: DG8 7BA

There is a tourist trail all the way to the top of Cairnsmore of Fleet, and an optional, moorland trail back down over the Knee of Cairnsmore.

For directions, use the Google Map link below, then change Newton Stewart to your town or post code.

Google Road Map Directions . Newton Stewart Information & Accommodation .

Cairnsmore of Fleet road image

The image below is from a few hundred yards up the estate road. This is an old railway bridge that used to be for the Dumfries to Stranraer line. This line closed in 1965. The road straight ahead is the private road for Cairnsmore House. There are few passing places up that road so best avoid it. The sign here points to the road round to the left, that leads to the new hiking car park.

Cairnsmore railway bridge image

The image below is from about 200 yards up from the railway bridge. The car parks for hiking are along this road on the right.

Cairnsmore parking image

The image below is of the hiking car parking. There are a few parking areas along this road, probably enough for about 10 cars.

Cairnsmore of Fleet parking image

The image below is of the gate through to the hiking trail for Cairnsmore of Fleet. Turn left, uphill when you go through the gate. You are then on the Cairnsmore House road. You have to walk up the road for about 1 mile. Close to the top, you will pass the entrance to Cairnsmore house.

Walking up this road, you will see there are few passing places, that is why they do not want a lot of cars using the road.

Cairnsmore of Fleet hike satrting point image

The image below is from about two hundred yards up past Cairnsmore House entrance, just before a large wooden shed. The sign here leads you through woodland.

Cairnsmore of Fleet woodland path image

The image below is from the top side of the woodland path. That path is only about two hundred yards long.

The sign here points left for Cairnsmore of Fleet. If you go right, that road leads up through the hills to the south side of the Knee of Cairnsmore. Take note of this point, as you will be looking for it on the way back down, from either hill.

Cairnsmore of Fleet waymarker image

The image below is from about one hundred yards along from the waymarker at the woodland path. You walk down this old road to the gate and red sign. There is a seating area in the woodland, on the left side down here.

This is where the old hiking car park used to be, but the lack of passing places on the road up to here, meant the hiking car park was changed to lower down, by the railway bridge.

Cairnsmore of Fleet picnic area image

The image below is of the gate into the field, that you have to cross to get to the tourist trail up onto Cairnsmore of Fleet. The red sign here states all dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. There is also a sign warning to beware of cows with calfs.

Cairnsmore of Fleet filed route image

The image below is from crossing the field to the tourist trail up through the forest. There are two gates across here, head for the one up to the right.

There were no cows with calfs in mid December, so it was straight over. If there are cows with calfs, you may have to follow the fence round so you can hop over the fence if needed. Cows with calfs may charge and cause serious injury, so best not get too close to them.

Cairnsmore of Fleet field image

The image below is from the tourist trail as it winds its way up through the forest. The trail is good all the way. It is a fair hike up to the top of the woodland, and steep in places. The woodland gives good shelter from any wind, in mid December, I was in short sleeves.

Cairnsmore of Fleet hiking gate image

The image below is from about half way up through the forest trail, crossing straight over a forest road. The stone memorial seat here is in honor of Rosemary Pilkington 1911 - 1995, who did much to established Glenure Forest.

You follow the tourist trail up past the memorial.

Cairnsmore of Fleet memorial seat image

The image below is from where you emerge from the forest, with the first clear views of the hills.

Cairnsmore forest image

The image below is from just out of the forest, looking at the tourist trail, leading all the way to the top. There is a fence down there with a stile over it, then it is a fairly steep hike to the summit.

Cairnsmore of Fleet west side tourist route image

The image below is is from about two thirds of the way up, passing a large boulder.

Cairnsmore of Fleet west side image

The image below is from the large boulder, looking back down the tourist trail. That is the river Cree down there, running into Wigton Bay, the end of Scotland.

A cold east wind was rolling over the top by now, so it was on with the fleece, tammy, and gloves before heading for the summit. Had lunch at the stone here, as I have found eating lunch at the top in winter, leads to frozen fingers.

Cairnsmore of Fleet view down image

The image below is of the summit of Cairnsmore of Fleet, when approaching from the tourist trail. The first stone here is an Aircraft Memorial, the cairn left, shelter centre, and trig point right.

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Cairnsmore of Fleet summit image

The image below is of the Memorial, in honor of Airmen that lost their lives in crashes around this hill. The earliest crash was a Heinkel with four crew, that crashed on the 8th August 1940. The most recent, was a USAF McDonald Douglas Phantom with two crew, that crashed on the 28th March 1979.

Cairnsmore of Fleet Aircraft Memorial image

The image below is of the shelter looking north with the Merrick above the shelter, and Corserine between the shelter and trig point.

If you walk about 100 yards north, you get good views of the north side cliffs, and the route over to the rocky 1,975 ft Craignelder. There are cliffs on the north side, and the east side of Cairnsmore of Fleet, to watch out for is visibility os poor.

Cairnsmore of Fleet shelter image

The image below is from Cairnsmore of Fleet north side cliffs, looking northeast at the route sweeping round to Craignelder. The first hill on the road round is the 2,007 ft Meikle Mulltaggart.

Cairnsmore of Fleet route to Craignelder image

The image below is looking north from Cairnsmore of Fleet north side cliffs to Craignelder. You can see Murray's monument down there, where there are two hiking car parks. Some people hike over the whole range here, by getting dropped off at Murray's Monument, and getting picked up at Cairnsmore House.

If you do the range from Cairnsmore House to Murray's Monument, be careful going down Craignelder, as there are cliffs all the way to the bottom of that northwest ridge. You have to go right down to the north side trees before heading over to the forest road, that leads to the car parks at Murray's Monument.

Craignelder from Cairnsmore of Fleet image

The image below is of the highest part of Cairnsmore of Fleet north side cliffs. Best take a compass with you, so if the clouds roll in, you know what way is west to get back down the tourist trail.

Cairnsmore of Fleet north side cliffs image

The image below is from the trig point on Cairnsmore of Fleet, looking south and west. The tourist trail heads back down past the memorial to the west, and a faint trail heads south, over to the left in this image, to what looks like a cairn on the south side of Cairnsmore of Fleet. There is no cairn there, seems be be just a piece of high ground.

Cairnsmore of Fleet Trig Point image

The image below is from the south side of Cairnsmore of Fleet, looking at the north side of the Knee of Cairnsmore. There are fairly high cliffs on the east side of the 2,155 ft Knee of Cairnsmore to look out for if visibility is poor.

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Knee of Cairnsmore north side image

The image below is from the north side of the Knee of Cairnsmore, looking back at the south side of Cairnsmore of Fleet. This image shows there are more cliffs on the east side of Cairnsmore of Fleet to look out for.

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Cairnsmore of Fleet south side image

The image below is from approaching the summit of the Knee of Cairnsmore.

Knee of Cairnsmore summit image

The image below is from the cairn on the Knee of Cairnsmore, looking back north to Cairnsmore of Fleet.

Knee of Cairnsmore view to Cairnsmore of Fleet image

The image below is from the west side of the Knee of Cairnsmore, looking down to the old hill road leading back to Cairnsmore House. I had hiked over to the west side here to see where the road was. If you go down the west side here, you will have about half of a mile of the deep stuff to go through to get to the road.

I headed back round to the south side, where the route down is a lot smoother, and takes you right to the hill road.

Knee of Cairnsmore route back image

The image below is from the south side of the Knee of Cairnsmore, looking down to the old hill road. You go straight down here to the road, then follow the road right, to the west. Saw deer up above me here, and these ones below as well.

Knee of Cairnsmore south side image

The image below is heading west along the old hill road. This road leads all the way back to Cairnsmore House. It is a fair distance, but good going.

Knee of Cairnsmore hill road image

The image below is from the hill road, looking down to where it eventually goes through the woodland.

Knee of Cairnsmore hill road lower image

The image below is looking back up the hill road, to the Knee of Cairnsmore west and south sides. If you are hiking across the whole range to Murray's Monument, this may be the best route out, then over the Knee of Cairnsmore, Cairnsmore of Fleet, Meikle Mulltaggart, Craignelder, then down to Murray's Monument. You either need to get dropped off and picked up for that, or use two cars.

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Knee of Cairnsmore West Side image

The image below is from where the hill road reaches a field. This was the part I was not sure about. I eventually noticed there was a gate down to the right, from where the road begins again.

Meikle Mulltaggart route down image

The image below is from back on the road at the bottom of the field. The road winds round here to the left, down to a white cottage, round to the right, and along to the waymarker at the short woodland walk, just above Cairnsmore House. From there, it is back down the same road to the car park.

This is the only road down here, so you cannot get lost?

Cairnsmore House south side road image

The Map below shows the hiking routes for Cairnsmore of Fleet. The blue and white dots show the tourist trail, green and yellow fairly good trails, and green and brown the rougher trails.

Craignelder Photo Tour.

Google Road Map . Change Newton Stewart to your town or postcode to get driving directions.

Make sure and take an Ordnance Survey Map and Compass on these hikes, and know how to use them, as in cloud, these mountains can be deadly. In Winter, make sure you have Crampons and an Ice Axe, and know how to use them.

Hill Walking OS Guide Map . Large Click on Hiking Map of this Area .

Cairnsmore of Fleet map image

The hike up the Tourist Trail to the top of Cairnsmore of Fleet was a good fairly stiff hike, taking about 2 hours to get to the top. The trail is fairly easy to follow with waymarkers here and there.

Look out for wildlife such as birds of prey on the cliffs, red deer, low flying fighter jets, and low flying military transporters that amble their way up through the valleys at about 200 feet off the ground, going so slow, you wonder how they stay in the air. It is a strange feeling looking down on aircraft.

The tourist trail up and down averages about 4 hours, back down over the Knee of Cairnsmore averages about 5 hours, and the hike across the whole range averages about 6 hours.

These are the furthest south of the 2,000 ft plus hills in southwest Scotland. From these hills, you get great views of the southern Scotland shoreline, and out over the Irish Sea.

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