Coo Palace

Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Walk 10 - Cairnsmore of Fleet walking and hiking route


Walk Instructions

Start: At a small car park near Muirfad off the A75 about 3 miles north of Creetown.
Refreshments: Hiking boots recommended.

The Cairnsmore of Fleet (2332ft/711m) is the most southerly two thousand foot hill in Scotland and a magnificent viewpoint for the Cree Estuary and the Solway Firth. The walk is straightforward but moderately strenuous as it starts close to sea level. In winter be prepared for severe winds and icy conditions as the route is very exposed to the prevailing winds.

1. To get to the start of this walk, drive along the A75 towards Newton Stewart until about 3 miles north of Creetown. There is a small, unmarked turning on the right past a group of houses called Muirfad. After a sharp left bend by an old railway bridge look out for a parking sign at a lane on the right. Park in any of the bays along this lane. Go through a gate at the far end of the lane and follow a good track next to the Graddoch Burn towards Cairnsmore House. Stay to the right on this track until you see a signed path on the right just before you reach the buildings. Follow a short path through woodland to emerge on another track where you turn left. The track ends at a gate where you go diagonally uphill across an open field to reach another gate at the edge of mixed woodland. Continue to follow the path upward along a fire break in the forest until you arrive at a track and a granite seat.

2. The seat is carved from a huge chunk of granite and bears an inscription to Rosemary Pilkington who was a supporter of the local forestry plantations. Continue plodding up the forest firebreak until eventually the angle eases then a final steeper section leads to the open hillside. The way ahead is now obvious as the path makes its way up quite steep ground with a few zig-zags to ease the angle. Don’t forget to turn round occasionally and enjoy the ever-expanding views across Wigtown Bay. Eventually the angle eases as you reach the broad summit ridge/plateau. This area can get quite boggy after a spell of wet weather, but the worst bits can normally be avoided. Just before you reach the summit there is a memorial to airmen who have lost their lives in nine aircraft crashes on the hill.

3. The summit of Cairnsmore of Fleet is a magnificent viewpoint. To the north and east you can see the whole range of the Galloway Hills. To the south and west you can see the Lake District, the Isle of Man, the Mull of Galloway and on a clear day you can see over to Ireland and the Mountains of Mourne. The easiest way back from the summit is to retrace your steps using the path that you ascended. More experienced hillwalkers who like a bit of heather bashing might prefer to vary the return by a rougher, pathless route over the Knee of Cairnsmore - for this head across the plateau to this outlying summit, keeping above the much craggier eastern side of the hill. Once at the bronze age cairn descend roughly southwest down rough, pathless slopes, eventually picking up a track that leads on and descends just south of the Craddoch Burn. This track leads back down towards Cairnsmore House where the outward route can be rejoined.

Please help future walkers by notifying us of any errors in the walk description or any suggestions for improving the directions.


Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.


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