Coo Palace

Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Walk 14 - Loch Trool Circuit walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Start: At the Caldons car park in Glen Trool about 11 miles north of Newton Stewart.
Refreshments: Seasonal visitor centre café in Glen Trool. House o’ Hill Hotel at Bargrennan, Cafes and pubs in Newton Stewart

A scenic walk around Loch Trool in Galloway Forest Park. Loch Trool is one of the real gems of the Galloway Forest park, a beautiful and tranquil body of water that was once the scene of a fierce battle.

1. The walk starts from the Caldons car park in Glen Trool. This is reached by turning right along a track about two miles beyond the Glen Trool visitor centre. From the car park, cross the bridge and follow the waymarked signs for the Southern Upland Way through the open area that used to be the Caldons camping site.

2. The woodlands in Glen Trool are semi-natural oak woods that have been growing in this area for over a thousand years. They are featured as the “Forest of Buchan” on Pont’s map of 1654. There are many fine oak specimens along with a mix of hazel, rowan, hawthorn, holly and ash. The oak in this area was coppiced from around 1820 but this had ceased by 1900. At this point you can continue along the main Southern Upland Way trail or follow minor trails that stay closer to the edge of Loch Trool. There are views across the loch to Glen Trool Lodge and Bruce’s Stone which we will visit later in this walk.

3. As you approach the far end of Loch Trool you will reach the site of the Battle of Glen Trool where Robert the Bruce defeated The Earl of Pembroke’s forces in one of the early engagements of the first Scottish War of Independence, culminating at Bannockburn seven years later. Bruce’s forces attacked the English cavalry by rolling granite boulders down the slopes of the Steps of Trool as they progressed in single file along the narrow path. The path now climbs up and over a broad ridge with steps on the steeper parts before descending to the Glenhead Burn. There is a bridge over the burn, and you can follow the path of the off-road variation of Cycle Route 7 to the left below Glenhead Farm. The track improves and soon crosses a bridge over the Gairland Burn at an impressive little gorge.

4. You can scramble down on the downstream side of the bridge to get a better view up into the gorge. Continue to follow the track along past the lower slopes of Buchan Hill. The track crosses the Buchan Burn then rises more steeply to zig-zag up to meet the end of the surfaced road up Glen Trool. You can take a steep short-cut on this last section to climb straight up to the impressive monument of Bruce’s Stone.

5. Bruce’s stone (one of several in the area) is a monument to the Battle of Glen Trool. The huge granite block is carved with an inscription commemorating the battle that took place across on the opposite side of the loch. To return to your starting point walk down the road for about a mile then look for a footpath sign pointing to the left a couple of hundred yards after passing the entrance to Glen Trool Lodge. This path leads down closer to the edge of the loch and winds its way through an area of regenerating forest before arriving back at the car park.

6. If you follow the Southern Upland Way path a few hundred yards downstream from the car park you will come to the Covenanters’ Grave. An inscribed stone inside a square walled area marks the communal grave of six Covenanters who were killed by soldiers while they were holding a service in Caldoris Wood in January 1685.

It would be a great help to future walkers if you could record any inaccuracies you come across during this walk and report them to reception so that appropriate amendments can be made. Thank you for your help. Happy walking.

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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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