John : Climbing Instructor and Guidebook Author

Rock Climbing in Galloway Index page

Major Crags in Galloway

Go Climbing  Information about the services I can provide, both locally and nationally, as a Mountaineering Instructor.

This is an index page to the main crags of Dumfries and Galloway, all but one of which are actually in Galloway itself. Both rock and winter climbing are covered. There are links to further information pages for each crag containing photos, descriptions and route topos.

There is now also a Minor Crags page with brief details of some of the smaller, poorer or less popular summer venues and a Minor Winter Crags venue that does the same with snow on it. I also have a specific page detailing  New Routes in Galloway that I have been involved with. Also for those interested in skiing check out the Skiing in Galloway page.

Trouble choosing the perfect crag??
 See the Galloway Crag Chooser page for tips about the best and worst venues for all kinds of climbing. From serious adventures to mellow barbecues and picnics, the quickest and slowest drying crags, the best venues for an evening trip and the worst venues for midgies and loose rock. There is also now a map at the bottom of this page.

 For details of what the stars, season,  grades, etc., mean see the bottom of the table or click here.  Also scroll down to read the notes and see the map of where the crags are.  

 Name, Photo & Link Star Rating Season No. of Routes at Grades Notes
Cairnsmore of Fleet

** JFMAMJJASOND  6, 5, 1 Remote and rambling, but with some very good quality rock. About once a decade two amazing ice routes form.

Rock climbing routes at Clifton Crag, Kirkcudbrightshire 

*****  JFMAMJJASOND   12, 21, 11, 3 Easy access, classic routes and generally good protection make this easily the best evening venue in Galloway. Over fifty 10m-20m high routes
Clints of Dromore

*** JFMAMJJASOND  18, 7, 4 A pleasant south facing crag with lots of long easy routes. It can be warm enough to climb here on sunny days throughout the winter. Routes to 60m.

Corwar Crag near Newton Stewart

***  JFMAMJJASOND  2, 4, 5, 1 A good afternoon venue in spring and autumn, but often midgy on summer evenings. Routes to 30m.

**  JFMAMJJASOND  7, 10, 1 Covered in grass, goats and goat inspired route names - all equally bad!  But some nice climbing with a  few routes up to 100m  long.
 Name, Photo & Link Star Rating Season Routes Notes

Rock climbs at Craigencallie

*  JFMAMJJASOND  5, 9, 4, 4 Can be damp and often midgy. Best in the mornings in spring, but there are sometimes nesting raptors. Routes up to 50m long.

*  JFMAMJJASOND  1, 4, 1 A nice wee venue in a remote setting, with a sunny outlook and excellent 10m routes.

Criaglee, the wee but brilliant sound clint.

***  JFMAMJJASOND  1, 7, 2 A very small and remote venue, but the rock is perfect and it has an idyllic grassy base. 10m-15m high.
Craignarget Rock Climbing at Shiel Hill. **  JFMAMJJASOND  4, 3, 1 A small crag of excellent rock in a good open location. Worth the long(ish) walk
 Craignaw - Memorial Crag

****  JFMAMJJASOND  4, 4, 6, 1 Very remote, but short (15m) and steep with excellent rock. Unlike many of the mountain crags this one is entirely birds-nest free and mostly midge-free.
Craignaw - The Slabs

*** JFMAMJJASOND  4, 1, Entertaining slabs giving long routes with strange grades on impeccable but unprotectable granite. Easily combined with Dungeon Hill.
Craignaw - Snibe Hill

Snibe Hill, Kirkcudbrightshire

*** JFMAMJJASOND  8, 11, 3, 1 Remote and with mostly short routes, but south facing with excellent rock. Routes to 50m long.
 Craignaw - Ice

Craignaw Ice

****  JFMAMJJASOND  Grades II-IV Relies on a good 3-4 day winter freeze, but no snow is necessary. Routes to 250m long. Usually best in January and February, due to being exposed to morning sunshine..
 Name, Photo & Link Star Rating Season Routes Notes
 Crammag Head

Climbing at Crammag Head

*****  JFMAMJJASOND  25, 25, 8, 2 Extensive diorite sea-cliffs near the Mull of Galloway. Some excellent friendly wee areas and some more adventurous routes requiring abseil approaches. Good rock quality. The routes are single-pitch, 10-30m long.
 Dungeon Hill

Dungeon Hill rock climbing routes

****  JFMAMJJASOND  7, 15, 10, 3 A remote but excellent big cliff with lots of great rock. Mostly midge free, especially on windy afternoons. The biggest routes are 150m long, but there are lots of shorter routes too.
Fleshmarket - Rock

 (Craig an Eilte)

***  JFMAMJJASOND  7, 11, 2, 1 Some areas are very slow to dry, but the outlook from this large south facing crag is very scenic. Routes to 60m.
Fleshmarket - Ice

**  JFMAMJJASOND  Grades II-IV Relies on a good 6 to 8 day winter freeze. No snow is necessary. Routes to 80m long.
Fish Kettle

Climbing at the Fish Kettle

** JFMAMJJASOND  5, 8, 4, 7 A nice wee area a short walk south of Portobello. Short 10m-20m routes, mostly with abseil approaches.

Bouldering at Garheugh Point near Port William

** JFMAMJJASOND  3, 10, 4, 4 A fairly limited climbing area, but an all year round bouldering venue (weather permitting of course..!)
Kiln o' the Fuffock ** JFMAMJJASOND   A steep and serious greywacke sea cliff with (reputedly) a lot of good hard routes.
 Name, Photo & Link Star Rating Season Routes Notes

Rock Climbing at Laggantalluch

****  JFMAMJJASOND  14, 12, 15, 5 Big diorite sea cliffs up to 50m high, on the west coast of the Rhins. Some very high quality lines.

Killantringan Lighthouse from Larbrax Beach, Wigtownshire

** JFMAMJJASOND  1, 1,  5, 3 Lots of very hard routes on steep 20m greywacke slabs in a lovely location.
 Loch Grannoch

Loch Grannoch Slabs, Cairnsmore of Fleet

**  JFMAMJJASOND  10, 4, 2 Lots of wee slabs and walls up to 20m high on these low lying mountain outcrops.
 The Lookout

Family climbing venue on the Solway coast near Dumfries

* JFMAMJJASOND  3, 2 A very small climbing area on the coast near Sandyhills, but a pleasant spot for picnics and barbecues.
 Meikle Ross

Climbing at Meikle Ross, sea cliffs near Kirkcudbright

***  JFMAMJJASOND  28, 38, 14, 3 Huge sea-cliffs with a great atmosphere. Some very good routes but also some dubious rock in places and lots of lichen. Routes are from 10m to 60m high.
 Name, Photo & Link Star Rating Season Routes Notes
 Merrick Icefalls

 Merrick Icefalls

****  JFMAMJJASOND  Grades I-VI Big 200m icefalls that rely only on a good 4-6 day freeze. Snow is not really necessary to climb many of the routes, but snow on the plateau may help them to form. Usually best in March.
Money Head

Money Head 

****  JFMAMJJASOND   7, 6, 2 Small but high quality sea cliff in a remote and scenic location. Some of the best greywacke rock in Galloway. Routes to 20m.
 Mull of Galloway

Puffins Galloway

**  JFMAMJJASOND  13, 14, 5, 1 Big atmospheric sea cliffs in an exposed and scenic location. A wee bit adventurous!
 Point of the Cleugh

Point of the Cleugh

***  JFMAMJJASOND   7, 2, 1, A nice wee 15m high granite slab just north of Crammag Head. Easy abseil free access

Climbing at Portobello

***  JFMAMJJASOND  20, 15, 10, 5 A small scenic area on the west coast of the Rhins. A big variety of short routes, with a nice beach and superb grassy picnic area on site.
 Rhinns of Kells Ice

Ice climbing in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

**  JFMAMJJASOND  Grades II-IV Winter routes at the southern end of  the Rhinns of Kells. Many are best with some snow. Usually best February to March.
Salt Pans Bay Salt Pans Bay, Wigtownshire **  JFMAMJJASOND 5, 2, 1 A relatively remote spot. Short but interesting routes.
The Thirlstane

The thrilstane at Powillimont, bouldering venue in southern Scotland

**  JFMAMJJASOND  4, 3, 1, 1 An excellent family picnic venue and bouldering spot on the beach near Dumfries. 10m high.
 Minor Crags Brief details of the smaller, less good and less popular summer rock climbing areas.
 Minor Winter Venues Brief details of the smaller, less good and less popular winter areas.
Galloway Crag Chooser

Trouble choosing the perfect crag?? See our Galloway Crag Chooser page for tips about the best venues for serious adventures or mellow barbecues and picnics, and the best venues for an evening trip and worst venues for midgies and loose rock.

  Star Rating A crag star rating out of five is given. Stars (or part stars) are awarded in an approximate way for the following:-
1. quality of rock/ice, 
2. quality of climbing,
4. likelihood of good conditions (weather/midges/weeping),
5. setting and scenery.
  Season Green = optimum season and/or conditions.  
Grey = neutral, not optimal but climbing will be possible in good weather or conditions. 
Orange = bird nuisance or problem in some areas, or poor winter climbing conditions very likely.
Red = climbing not possible or bird ban on large areas.
  Routes The approximate number of average, good or excellent routes at these grades is given. Green VD, S, Blue VS, HVS, Red E1, E2, Black E3, E4 or harder Generally speaking poor routes are not mentioned on this website..!! This same colour coding system is used in the photo-topos deeper into this website.
 Note I have only given information on this website on routes I have climbed personally, or have detailed personal knowledge of (e.g. from belaying someone). There is a lot more climbing in Galloway, particularly at the higher grades. The last definitive guide to be published was the SMC Lowland Outcrops guidebook, 2004 edition, now out of print, but a new edition is due by 2021. There is some variation between the grades quoted in this guidebook and on this website - these reflect my abilities (bold slabs) and prejudices (I don't like strenuous jamming!).....

Pictured Below :- Giant tussock grass in Galloway, Winter 2006. Known locally as "Dougals" (...think of that wee dog in the Magic Roundabout...). These ones were on the way across the Silver Flowe towards Craignaw  and were the deepest yet!

Giant tussock grass in Galloway, known locally as "Dougals", Winter 2006

Go Climbing  Information about the services I can provide as a Mountaineering Instructor.


Minor crags page with brief details of some of the smaller, poorer or less popular summer rock-climbing venues.

 Minor Winter Crags  does the same with snow on it.

New Routes in Galloway  First ascents that I have been involved with, mainly since the publication of the definitive 2004 SMC guidebook.

Skiing in Galloway  For those interested in skiing (often mainly on grass!) check out this page.