Glen Trool

Looking east along Glen Trool

Normally when we are in Glen Trool we are heading along the glen to walk the hills at the east end.  Not today, and that was a great idea because we ended up with a 5-star walk (and they are pretty rare).  There was no real plan other than trying to do a bit of the Southern Upland Way at the west end of the glen and add on stuff that looked promising: one of those nice “Where does that path go?” days.  Let’s just say the route was very roughly a figure-of-8 centred around the visitor centre at Glen Trool 1.

From the bridge over the Water of Trool (OLEP)

Having parked at the visitor centre we headed east-ish along the river path.  The nice Forestry Folk have clearly been very busy recently because this path is superb: dry, solid, level.  It wanders along to a bridge over the Water of Trool and on the other side joins the SUW.  to head for Loch Trool.  This was just gorgeous walking!  We followed this beautiful river with its Alder,  Birch and Oak.  There was no-one around, the air and water were still, and apart from a Buzzard mewing, not a sound. Jazz and I held a vote and ranked this the nicest part of the SUW we’ve been on 2.  At one point, the Black Loup, the river has a burp leaving a big, still pool that was a perfect mirror.

Tree reflections

Water of Trool

Black Loup

Who can resist a wall like this?

The path emerges at the car park at the west end of the loch.  We crossed the road and continued up-hill following the yellow route.  Again, serious Romanesque path-building has been going on here recently and we follow the path to get great views east to hills we know well.  The path then heads back towards the Visitor Centre and would make a great 6km or so.  But with things this good, why stop here?  So it is back over the bridge to rejoin the SUW and this time head downstream.  You know the exact point where you leave Forestry Commission control because your boots go “squelch!” – we are back on normal SUW mud.

SUW along Water of Minnoch

Now we are following the equally gorgeous Water of Minnoch.  Now if I have a complaint 3 it is that we have to cross a couple of stiles.  Note the “we“.  I’ve had a lot of practice over the years and so can manage a crossing 80% of the time without mishap; however, my Spaniel companion is (how to put this gently?) bloody hopeless and relies on me to project her to the other side.  So if you hear a middle-aged bloke mutter a “bend the knees” mantra while lofting 28kg of recalcitrant Spaniel over a stile, then that’ll be me.  So, my simple plea is this: please put in a dog flap when you erect a stile.

Jazz in Holm Wood in May

The path enters the idyllic 4 Holm Wood with its semi-native woodland that forms part of the Cree Valley Woodland. The combination of gorgeous woodland and lovely river setting is very attractive and we’ll be back in May when this place will be just jumping with migrants and Bluebells 5.

Old Bridge of Minnoch

Update 12-May: Jazz and I enjoyed this so much we thought we’d share it with the Missus and some friends in gorgeous May.  The Bluebells were out and the woods had the promised migrants (Redstart and Cuckoo in particular).  As we left Holm Wood we made a detour to see the Old Bridge of Minnoch which is just off the SUW 6.   This is a 17th/18th Century pack-horse bridge in remarkably good shape with surprisingly steep sides.  With no parapet and a decent drop into the water, my crossing required the full eyes-down-centre-line approach.

Water of Minnoch, Stroan Bridge

The SUW takes a dog-leg (so to speak) when we reach the River Cree and undulates along the riverbank until we get to Bargrennan.  Sadly, we must now follow the road for a while.  Fortunately to ameliorate the situation some considerate person has placed a very nice pub on this stretch: the splendidly named House O’ Hill. It would be churlish of me to ignore this kindness and so Jazz and I stopped off for a pint of the local brew.  The walk finished with a pleasant woodland walk from Glentrool village back to the visitor centre.  We’d thoroughly recommend this walk or any sub-section of it.

Update 12-May: Instead of just stopping for a quick pint at the House O’ Hill as we did back in February, this time we stayed for a meal (and a pint or three, given the Missus was driving) and that was a splendid idea.  The food was just lovely 7 and the atmosphere in the pub was great.  The staff are in the fun-mad-helpful class which sadly is unusual in the Scottish tourism biz, and so it was great to see the place buzzing.  Make sure you book. 8

Previous section of SUW: Darloskine to Bargrennan
Next section of SUW: White Laggan to Clatteringshaws

Notes:

  1. Although it’s currently a building site as they refurbish it, which meant no shop, and hence no lovely Galloway ice-cream.  Update 12-May: full service restored.
  2. And that’s up against some pretty serious competition.
  3. And believe me, I feel bad about even mentioning this.
  4. A perceptive person such as yourself will detect that I really enjoyed this walk.
  5. OK, Bluebells aren’t likely to get a High-jump medal this summer, but it is what we literary types call a “figure of speech”.
  6. I’ve no idea why I didn’t do this the first time.
  7. I’ve no hesitation in recommending the salmon terrine and the steak pie.
  8. BTW, I’ve no connection with the place other than as a very happy punter, but if they see this and want to offer a free salmon terrine as a “thank you” next time we pop in (in mid-July if the plans work out) then I think I might be able to force it down!
Distance:17km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again: