Introduction The crags at Craigdews are located within the "Wild Goat Park" near Newton Stewart. The crags are south facing and quite quick drying, but unfortunately a bird restriction can rule out climbing on much of the crag during the springtime.
Access The access is easy and extremely short for Galloway. To get to the Goat Park drive along the A712 from Newton Stewart towards New Galloway. You'll see the crag very obvious on the north side of the road from the parking area (for the Goat Park). The walk to the crag is just 5 or 10 minutes, to get the driest ground head to the obvious White Slab first, then from here to the other areas of the crag. Despite the fact that this is a managed "Wild Goat Park" climbing currently seems to be tolerated fine by the Forestry Commission. But watch out for the goats eating all your sandwiches and chewing their way through your new rucksack and ropes..... There is often a bird ban here in the springtime but the White Slab and Kids Buttress will normally not be affected by this.
Guidebook A small selection of the better routes that I have done are shown in the diagram below, for full details you will need the SMC "Lowland Outcrops" guidebook, 2004 edition. The climbing is on granite, generally very good rock but there are some damp patches particularly on the slabs. Protection can be hard to find as many of the cracks are flaring. The longest routes, such as Das Goat and Central Route are up to 100m long, although quite broken by areas of vegetation.
There are several climbing areas, from leftish to rightish these are
Descents Descent routes are obvious, down the various grassy gullies and rakes.
Very nice rock giving relaxing routes of up to 12m long. You'll need some smallish cams for the belay which is better than described in the 2004 guidebook. Three routes are described in the SMC guidebook and we've added a couple of lines since.
Some good pitches on great rock and lots of heather ledges make up the Main Cliffs. As with most of this climbing area, indeed most of Galloway, the rock is generally good when you are on it. The quickest descent from most routes is down to the right (facing the crag).
Climbing on the ramp slabs, note the unusual runner - a "draped" sling weighted with a boot...! The last gear for 10m, so it was worth the faff.
On the right of the crags are the Ramp Slabs, these give some nice climbing, though much more exciting for the leader than the second. Protection is generally poor to none existent. A useful tip is to take mid-size slings to tie-off around some of the marginal placements over "nodules", and also something to weight them down. Parts of some of the routes are mossy, but this really does not affect the grade or climbing much - any moss on a hold you need is easily removed. Two routes are described in the guidebook and we've added a couple of lines since. All these routes really need a 60m rope although you could belay at the crucial runners.
Kids ButtressA long way further right and sitting quite high up is Kids Buttress. This tiny crag has a number of good routes of only 8 or 10m long, and grades of Diff and V.Diff. Access may be better from the parking further east (for Murrays Birthplace). This is on the opposite side of the road from the crag.... getting over the initial bog and fence is something of a challenge!