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  • Katherine Grugeon

Today's the Day.


I've come to realise that I have lots of things I've said I will do 'one day' and that days are running out, so I thought it's time to make a start.


Driving to Ayrshire from Gretna, along the A75, for many miles on the left you can see a rather inviting looking mountain. Its name is Criffel. I calculated I have driven past it over 100 times on my way back and forth from Ayrshire, back in July I was admiring it from another angle looking across the Solway Firth from Cumbria. I saw it a few years ago from furthur up the Cumbrian coast on the final section of the Hadrian's Wall path.


Criffel, Dumfries and Galloway, viewed across the Solway Firth from Cumbria.

Tuesday 29th October 2019 was to be the day I climbed it. Leaving Ayrshire early we drove to the car park just beyond Kirkbean. The road approached the mountain from the West and then we went South, driving between it and the sea, before heading North again. Plenty of time to see the hill from all directions.

The path was well signposted from the car park and we set off in sunshine.

Criffel, the summit just hidden by the ash tree.

The mountain is 569m and its just 1.5 miles from the car park to the summit, just after the easy track start a well marked path climbs steeply through the forestry, the larch just getting its autumn colours, the view behind us showing the Nith Estuary with the tide well out.

Views across the Nith Estuary

Once out of the tree line the path was clear, but very very boggy. The autumn sun was still low in the sky, just clearing the summit ahead to shine into our eyes and make route finding difficult.

Looking back away from the summit, resting from the bright sunlight.

The bog and the sunshine lasted all the way to the top, the views were amazing, back to the lake district, along the Solway Firth to the East and West and back to the Galloway Hills. By now it was a little hazy and the tide was in, the estuary had been sandy, now it was all water.


A pause for coffee and a biscuit then back down. Whole mountain complete in a morning, not even a whole day.


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