One of this year’s walking goals is to climb Mullwharchar: one of the most remote Donalds in Galloway and so a bit of challenge. The standard route in is from Glentrool but I thought there might be an alternative by going over The Wolf Slock, and so today’s walk was a recce of the possibility. To be honest it was really too good a name to miss! 1
We parked at NX457935 and headed along the forestry track to the footbridge over the Eglin Lane. This was a good move because the river was in spate after all the rain and snow-melt and my original idea of wading over was quickly discarded. 2 We headed along a faint, squelchy path beside the Lane past the Wolf Rock until we got to the old sheepfold where the Black Garpel stream joins the Lane. Building the sheepfold in an easily defended small peninsular was a clever move in wolf country!
From here we headed for the ridge heading up Gordon’s Loup to get our first view of The Wolf Slock. The walking was pretty good here because there are lots of exposed granite slabs that are much easier that stumbling along soggy paths of purple moor grass. Some of these slabs had lots of small boulders scattered about – the Devil’s Bowling Green. 3 The view of the The Wolf Slock from the ridge is spectacular. It is a few hundred metres of cliff with boulders of all sizes littering the floor. The path up looks pretty daunting for someone who has no head for heights but was actually fine. My only concern was that Jazz would spot a goat 4 and give chase until she became airborne momentarily before going splat on the boulders at the bottom like a Wiley Coyote cartoon. So she went on the lead until we got to the top.
The Wolf Slock is actually the interesting gash in the side of Hoodens Hill (568m) and it took us just over 2 hours to get to the top. This hill is strewn with erratic boulders in all sorts of precarious and interesting positions and we spent time trying to figure out how they got that way. From the top we could at last see Mullwharchar and it looked a pretty straightforward route. The hill itself is a big conical lump. It was amazing that it was once short-listed as a place to go dump nuclear waste: I suppose with all that granite around who is going to notice a little more radioactivity in the middle of no-where?
I had intended to go back via Loch Macaterick but with the lanes in spate all we could do was head back the way we came. I always prefer circular walks but there wasn’t much choice today. It would the same tackling Mullwharchar from this side, so I think we’ll be doing it from the south later in the year. 5 The next time we come this way I think we’ll go around the base of The Wolf Slock and explore it a bit – it looks fascinating. On the way back today we took a slightly higher (and drier) path around the Wolf Rock. This is a lovely exposed lump of granite that seems to peeling into slices. There is also a covered area that I told Jazz was where the wolf slept and she looked suitably worried: always nice to scare the gullible.
- The Ordnance Survey’s glossary of place-names says that it means a hollow between two hills favoured by wolves (in days of yore). ↩
- The fact that the water was bone-numbingly cold helped convince us. ↩
- These crop up in other places in the Galloway Hills. ↩
- There was lots of fresh “evidence” but no sign. ↩
- The main reason for delaying is that it will be long day and it would be nice to do it in daylight! ↩
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