OverviewThis 843 metre Scottish Corbett summit has Isolation and Status
Merrick on a cold 2008 January winters day
It gets the great name as the Awful Hand...! This is because from the air the range of ridges and valleys that make up this vast area of upland look like a big hand. The main ridges that terminate in the high summits have the look of being fingers when Merrick is like the thumb...!
Merrick is the highest summit on main land Scotland south of the Ben Lomond. All the summits within the Galloway region are open and exposed rolling hills with various rocky outcrops and lots of lakes / Lochs.
With its isolation and remoteness also with it being in long distance from the main motorway A74(M)/M74 Carlisle to Glasgow road it gets missed out, as many people head off north for the highlands and do not think what an adventure can be had out on these Galloway Forest Summits.
There are two main sections within the Galloway Forest Park area with summits over 800metres. There is Merrick at 843metres and the Rhinns of Kells whos highest point is Corserine at 814metres. The Galloway Forest Park has many other high points that are worth a visit. These are the Cairnsmore of Fleet at 710metres and the Cairnsmore of Carsphairn at 797metres.
For difficulty the easiest route up Merrick is signposted from a giant board in the base car park at the end of Glen Trool and gives alot of route details including advice on safety when out on these isolated hills.
1:50 000 OS-Map Section Showing Merrick
From the Carlisle / Glasgow A74(M)/M74 Motorway. Heading south from Glasgow come off at junction-15 Moffat, take the A701 south west to the town of Dumfries.
Heading north from Carlisle before joining the A74(M) come off at the A75 and head west bound for Dumfries.
From the town of Dumfries take the A75 west bound signposted for Stranraer. Keep following the A75 believe me this is a drag of a road. Following this through you come to a town signposted Newton Stewart. This is a good town to stop for any requirements it also has good accomodation.
From here take the A714 northbound for Girvan. When travelling about 8 to 9miles north take the right turn signposted for Glen and Loch Trool. Follow the Glen and Loch Trool road until the car park with the giant board saying Merrick Climb. It is from here the easiest of routes up Merrick start from.
Below is an embedded Google Earth map from Glen and Loch Trool
View Larger Map
The above map has links to find directions how to get there
Access - Red Tape
The Galloway Forest is an area with a National Park status and it is a free area. There are general tracks and routes up to most of the mountains but you can walk freely across these wild moorlands for miles discovering the many isolated lakes and other areas that one would miss if confined just to the footpaths.
Further information is available from the Forest Park and Forestry Commission Websites:-
www.forestry.gov.uk - Galloway Forest Park
The Galloway Forest Park - Other Sports
The Galloway Forest Park is a vast area of upland and sprawling Forestry Commission land with the status of a National Park.
The are some fantastic summits such as Merrick on this page and others such as Corserine and the Cairnsmore of Fleet. The area has activities to suit everyone from long distance mountain walks, forestry trails, cycling, country parks and visitors centres. The area also supports some lovely distinctive Scottish historic market towns.
There is a website about the park currently under development so although the link is attached it may not yet take you anywhere...!
The forestry tracks throughout the complete area are great for cycling and there are routes marked in various sections of the park from the main car parks. Cycling can be quite an adventure in these forest tracks especially when going deep into the park as the tracks can seem like they go on for ever. If you are cycling then make sure you know your route and that you take the correct route. You can easily get lost in the vast forestry area and that could be bad news in certain weather conditions.
One isolated forest track leads from the Clatteringshaw Reservoir all the way across the forest and through the valleys to Loch Trool where you can of course access the summit of Merrick.
Information on cycling within the Galloway Forest Park are on the following website links:-
Much more is also available via a search engine such as Google
for information on Galloway Forest Cycling.
The Black Gutter ( With thanks to Stephen Reid from Needle Sport )
Information and picture from Needle Sport
The Merrick at 843m is the "Knuckle" of the Awful Hand and the highest mountain in southern Scotland. BLACK GAIRY
, its north-facing crag, has the most reliable winter climbing in the area, though it still requires a prolonged freeze.
For information on the climbing, in both winter and summer, on the Merrick and in the Galloway Hills
Needle Sports - Galloway Index
Another website with information on climbing within the Galloway region is from John Biggar's website via the following link.
John Biggar's website on Galloway Climbs
Bed and Breakfast - Camping
Free to camp anywhere really just dont have camp fires and dispose of rubbish in a professional manner. The mountains are there for everyone to enjoy.
The website below for camping is just right as the site is based in Glen Trool right on the summit of Merricks doorstep:-
Other local campsites from this link:-
www.ukcampsite.co.uk - Newton Stewart
There are many towns within the Galloway Forest Park for Bed and Breakfasts.
Below is a link for a good search website for Bed and Breakfast. This link is for Dumfries and Galloway as in the complete county but there are other links within the page for the more common towns:-
www.bedandbreakfast-directory.co.uk - Dumfries and Galloway
The main local town to Merrick is Newton Stewart. Below is a Bed and Breakfast link for Newton Stewart:-
www.bedandbreakfast-directory.co.uk - Newton Stewart
Of course if the above links are of no help you can always use a search engine such as Google
then go from there.
When To Climb - Mountain Conditions
I can guess the route you use from Glen Trool to head up the paths are only just clear in summer months so they will be more awkward to follow in the snow. These are large rolling summits connected by many open ridges navigation in the fog and low cloud will also be a problem. Navigation by map and compass is always a skill to have and also a modern toy such as a GPS is always handy to keep track of your route.
When out in the vast open wilderness of moorland that this area covers can in the worst weather conditions be very dangerous.
Any website on scottish mountain climbing. A local site of use is as follows.
Details for the local weather are located from the town of Newton Stewart.
Newton Stewart BBC-Weather:-
Newton Stewart BBC-5 Day Forecast