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 &
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
The image below is from about 200 yards up
from the railway bridge. The car parks for
hiking are along this road on the
The image below is of the hiking car
parking. There are a few parking areas along
this road, probably enough for about 10
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
You follow the tourist trail up past the
The image below is from where you emerge
from the forest, with the first clear views
of the hills.
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.
The image below is is from about two
thirds of the way up, passing a large
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
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.
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.
The image below is of the shelter looking
north with the Merrick above the shelter, and
Corserine between the shelter and trig
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The image below is from approaching the
summit of the Knee of Cairnsmore.
The image below is from the cairn on the
Knee of Cairnsmore, looking back north to
Cairnsmore of Fleet.
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.
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.
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.
The image below is from the hill road,
looking down to where it eventually goes
through the woodland.
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
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.
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?
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
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
Hill Walking OS
Guide Map . Large Click on Hiking
Map of this Area .
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
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
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