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Carlisle Group

We are the Carlisle Ramblers. We open the way for everyone in our local community to enjoy the pleasures of walking.

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Overview

A tough walk right from the start. The use of poles for the ascents and descents is highly recommended as are gaiters for the marshy spots and for crossing the ford towards the end of the walk. There are two options - clockwise and anti-clockwise; after a second recce we'll opt for the clockwise option. The main description below is for the anti-clockwise route but the details are the same with the the following differences; Once completing the climb up the steps past the falls, we will ford the Tall Burn and then go for a steeper but shorter (it may not seem like it!) ascent up to White Coomb. We get to ascend, rather than descend Rough Crags then meet numerous false summits until we reach the top. The decent off Loch Craig is long and steep (and is one of the reasons for the route change direction) and will get our boots soaked as we cross the bogs at the bottom.

The anti-clockwise route. A steep ascent up the east side of the Grey Mare’s Tail, with fantastic views of the falls and back up the valley towards Moffat, leads to Loch Skeen. Skirting the side of the Loch we can see the route up towards Loch Craig.  A stiff climb, crossing peat bogs, small pools and streams levels off as we approach the top and see the cairn. Great views southwards, especially the bird’s eye of Loch Skeen, which gets better as you approach the edge.  This will be lunch providing the wind is not too strong. A short walk, crossing a stile, gets us to Lochcraig Head (801m) with fabulous views to the north, east and west.

Crossing back over the stile we continue anti-clockwise dropping sharply and then ascending again as we approach Firthybrig Head (possibly performing a balancing act on the remains of a dry-stone wall).  We then head south, circling past Water Craig until we reach Firthhope Rig where we change direction and head towards White Coomb.  A short diversion takes us to the summit (821m) where photos can be taken towards Criffel, the Solway and Skiddaw before rejoining the track. There then follows a steep descent which becomes even steeper as we approach Rough Craigs.  One section is very steep, but helped slightly by stone steps put in by the NTS paths team. There is no alternative route and unless you are confident coping with very steep descents, over rocks that may be wet and slippy, you may be advised to miss this walk out.

Eventually we are at Loch level again and need to cross the Tall Burn by a ford.  If there has been recent rain there is a good chance that the water level will be higher than your boot tops!  A change of socks may be needed before rejoining the path alongside some smaller falls until the final descent back down to the car park.

Tuesday, 27 August 2024
Start time:
9:30 am
Estimated finish time:
3:30 pm
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Distance:
11.3km / 7.0mi
Ascent:
765m / 2510ft
Type:
circular

Limited parking (as this is a very popular tourist spot) so car sharing would be advisable as would an early arrival for the early departure time of 0930!

The car park requires purchase of a ticket (exempt for NTS and NT members displaying car badge).

Features

  • Car parking available
  • Car sharing available

Starting point

Grid reference:
NT 18599 14523
Nearest postcode:
DG10 9LH
what3words:
schooling.drip.careful
Start time:
9:30 am

Meet at the NTS Grey Mare’s Tail Car Park. Payment required for non-NTS/NT members. The A708 from Moffat goes through some wonderful scenery but has a lot of potholes and wood-carrying HGV's.

Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking