The 1,975 ft Craignelder is situated in a
remote area in the Galloway Forest Park, next
to the A712 road that runs between the towns
of New Galloway and Newton Stewart, southwest
Scotland, in the county of Dumfries &
Galloway, about 40 miles southeast of Ayr.
This road is known as The Queen's Way.
The Queen's Way has a number of
interesting attractions such as:
Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre with a Bruce's
Stone marking a battle site, large dam,
forest road with the otter pools, deer park,
goat park, platform out over a glen, many
biking trails, and many walking and hiking
The image below is of Murray's Monument
situated about 5 miles west of the Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre on
the A712 Queen's Way road. One of the car
parks for the monument, and the hike to
Craignelder, is just to the right in this
Murray’s Monument was erected in
1835 in memory of Alexander Murray, a local
shepherd boy who later became Professor of
Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University.
The monument is situated on a 597 ft hill, a
steeper hike than it looks. More
For this hike, you can park here at the
monument east side car park by the
waterfalls, hike over the monument hill, and
down to a smaller car park on the west side
of the monument.
Google Road Map
The image below is from Murray's Monument
looking south to Craignelder hill. You can
see the forest road leading round to the
hill. I took this image a few weeks earlier
in November 2012, when there was no snow on
the top of Craignelder. The rest of the
images were taken in December 2012.
You can follow a trail from just below the
monument, round and down the west side into
the forest. That trail then leads down to a
smaller car park, by the forest road over to
The image below is from the smaller car
park on the west side of Murray's Monument.
The forest road to Craignelder is just across
the road from here, to the left. I parked in
this car park as I had visited the monument a
few weeks earlier. When I saw the rocky
Craignelder from the monument, I had to
return for the hike to the top.
The image below is of the forest road
leading round to Craignelder. It is a short
walk of about half of a mile from the car
The wide image below shows the route onto
Craignelder's northwest ridge. The first 100
yards is cleared woodland, so is rough going
passing a few large boulders. Once over the
stone dyke, the lower part of the hill was
deep heather and ferns, so I tried going
straight up the cliffs via a narrow gully. At
almost the top, I hit a granite rock face.
The only way from there was along a 20 ft
long ledge, that was about three feet wide.
It looked like the other side of the ledge
had a route to the top.
The ledge sloped down and away from the
rock face, and had a good inch of ice on it.
The wider ledge about 30 feet below, was
littered with boulders. The slippery granite
meant it was back down the narrow gully, then
round and up the northwest ridge, the way I
had originally planned anyway.
The image below is after hiking round and
looking up the northwest ridge. I looked for
other ways up on the road round as the cliffs
were getting lower, but ended up going right
along close to the bottom, as there was no
clear route up without hitting more
This showed the cliffs here had to be
avoided on the road back down. Even though it
looked like it would be clear all day, I took
a compass reading, and paid attention to the
rout back down. I should have laid a marker
where I began hiking up, so I would have
known when it was safe to start hiking back
round to the road on the way back down.
The image below is from the first cairn on
the northwest ridge, close to the cliffs.
Most of the way up to this cairn was tough
going, with no trails of any kind most of the
way. It was a matter of trying to follow the
rocky ridges up. Off the rocks was deep
heather and tussocks.
The image below is from the first cairn to
the highest cliffs on the west side of
The image below of the route up past the
cliffs to the summit.
The image below is of a large rock and
second cairn close to the summit, a good
marker for the way back down. There were
faint trails from the first cairn to the top,
making the hiking a lot easier than below the
The image below is of a third cairn, close
to the top of Craignelder. There are two tops
here, the first is Craignelder, and the
second, according to the OS Map, is Millfore.
Both tops are about the same height.
There is another Millfore at 2,152 ft,
just north of Murray's Monument. That
Millfore can be hiked from the same car park,
by going north past the Black Loch.
The image below is approaching the main
cairn on the summit, that is on the east
side, the one named Millfore by the OS Map.
The image below is from the summit cairn
looking northeast to the Rhinns of Kells
range, with the first hill being the 2,457 ft
Meikle Millyea, and behind that, the 2,671 ft
Corserine. Top left in this image is the
other Millfore across the valley, and the
2,766 ft Merrick can be seen behind that.
The image below is from another cairn,
about 100 yards north of the main cairn. This
cairn gives great views to Murray's Monument,
and the rocky Craigdews Goat Park next to the
The mountains above the monument are from
high left, Larg, Lamachan, Curleywee and
Millfore. Behind Millfore is the Merrick.
Just right of the Merrick is Mullwarchar,
with Dungeon and Craignaw just in front of
The image below is is from the south side
of Craignelder, looking south to the
Cairnsmore of Fleet range. This seems to be a
popular route by getting dropped off at
Murray's Monument, hiking over Craignelder
here, over the hills seen below, then down
off Cairnsmore of Fleet to the hiking car
park at Cairnsmore House by Palnure, 4 miles
south of Newton Stewart on the A75.
That is 2,332 ft Cairnsmore of Fleet
right, the 2,007 ft Meikle Mulltaggart on the
route over, and the 2,155 ft Knee of
Cairnsmore in the distance. These are the
last of the 2,000 ft plus hills in the south
of the Galloway region. There are about 30
hills between 2,000 ft and 2,766 ft in this
area between Loch Doon and Palnure, over a 26
mile area, all well worth hiking. I watch the
local weather forcast, and the Internet
Satellight as some days the north hills
can be sunny, and the south cloudy, or the
other way about. Some days I have headed for
the north hills and seen better weather south
from the road in the car, so headed for the
south. The weather has a lot to do with what
order I hike the hills.
As I was parked at Murray's Monument, it
was back down the same route as I hiked up,
as seen below. The many cairns are good to
follow back down.
The image below is heading down to the
first cairn. There are cliffs all the way
down the west side here, so you have to be
careful. If it clouds over, you can head down
the right side of the ridge through the
heather, a lot safer route, although through
some deep heather.
The image below is from the first cairn
looking west out over the Irish Sea. You get
great views from this cairn all around.
The image below is heading down the
northwest ridge. You can see the two car
parks at the monument, and the forest road
leading back to the west side car park.
All down the left here is cliffs. You have
to head for the trees down to the right, then
when below the cliffs, head round to the left
along below the cliffs. If you turn left too
early, you will get stuck on top of
I tried to follow the dyke down the side
of the woodland and round to the road. That
area is cleared woodland with rotten stumps
and branches sticking out of deep tussocks. I
had to head back and round to the road the
way I went up. Two wrong routes in the one
The Map below shows the attractions along
the A712 that is also known as The Queens
Way. The map also shows the hiking routes
onto the hills. Green and brown dots are
rough sections, green and yellow fairly good
trails. The photo tour above followed the
west side trail. The east route up from the
deer range car park is a fair bit longer.
Map . Change Newton Stewart to your town
or postcode to get driving directions.
Large Click on
Hiking Map of this Area . Cairnsmore of Fleet
Photo Tour .
The hike up Craignelder was tough going up
to the first cairn, through a lot of ferns on
the lower part, and deep heather higher up.
From the first cairn, up past the cliffs, was
better going with interesting views. The
route from the south side, over to Cairnsmore
of Fleet, looked very interesting, probably
my next hike from Cairnsmore house. Will
cross over the whole range one day when I can
be dropped off and picked up, or with someone
with another car.