John : Climbing Instructor and Guidebook Author

Rock CLimbing at Money Heaad, Galloway 

Introduction - Money Head is a small but pleasant climbing areas on the coast SW of Stranraer. The rock is Greywacke, but noticeably more solid than other Greywacke climbing areas. The easiest approach is a scenic 40 minute walk from the farm called Cairngarroch.

Access  The easiest approach is from the farm at Cairngarroch. To get to the farm follow the A77 or A75 towards Stranraer then the A776 southwards to Sandhead. From Sandhead take the B7042 (signposted Portpatrick) for a short way west before turning onto an un-numbered road just after a sharp 90 bend. This unmarked road leads straight to Cairngarroch farm. Park where you can a few hundred metres before the farm and look for a rough farm track through the field on the left that leads down to a small valley. This track can be hard to spot with all the mud.! But once in the small valley the track is obvious and leads down to the shore. Just before the beach cross a style on the left and then head up and around the back of the small house and onto the moor. Don't be tempted to try and traverse round the top of the shore like we did. Instead follow an (electric) fence upwards and southwards over the moor for 15 minutes until it bends leftwards on top of a tiny hill (ring contour). From here head more or less due south to the headland. Once on the uttermost grass descend slightly rightwards to drop down to a platform below the main cliffs. As you descend, Bear Pit is immediately on your right and ECU wall on your left.

The rock is greywacke, a kind of hard sandstone that tends to break in layers and slabs. Routes are mainly about 15m to 25m long. There are a few nesting sea-birds here, but the ECU wall area is normally free of them and so probably climbable in the spring.

Linda Biggar chequing out Martins Bank, Money Head.

Linda Biggar chequeing out Martins Bank, Money Head.


Guidebook  For a definitive list of all the climbs here see the SMC published Lowland Outcrops guidebook.

Dangers  These are adventurous sea cliffs and the protection is not always reliable. This is one of the most open stretches of coast so most of the crag will be hazardous in big seas and is open to rapid weather changes.

ECU wall

A good introduction to the crag is ECU wall. It is on the left as you descend towards the sea. Just after the short descent scramble a long ridge of rock runs out leftwards into the sea, and there are good views of the cliff from this feature. Most routes can be easily started from the left end of this ridge, but Insider Dealing is better started by scrambling down from the right. Insider Dealing starts quite a long way further right than this photo-diagram shows. It's a really long rising traverse, about 45m in total length!

ECU wall at Money Head, Galloway Climbing

Cranesbill flower, Money Head

Cranesbill flowering in June at Money Head, The Rhins, Galloway.

Bear Pit Area

The Bear Pit Area is on the right as you descend towards the sea. Just after the brief descent scramble go out onto a platform on the right from where there are good views of this cliff. Most routes can be easily started from here. This area is prone to seepage and will need two or three days at least to be dry. It was photographed below just a few hours after light rainfall.

Money head - Bear Pit

Cioch Area

The Cioch Area has the best climbing and most solid rock at Money Head, with 5 great routes. This area of steep slabs is about 100m north of the Bear Pit. The slabs are just south of a very prominent overhanging beak of rock "the Cioch" which is probably still unclimbed. Approach this crag from the moor by descending slabs immediately south of the routes. There are two good VS's and two good Severe's on the slabs. There is also nice grassy area at the top for gearing up and picnicking.

The Pot of Gold Area at Money Head.

The routes are about 15m long, the photograph above is very fore-shortened. All routes start in much the same area at the foot of the lower slabs, which is just accessible at high tide (but not in big seas!!). Descent is by easy slabs on the right, graded about "Easy" but not exposed.
It is difficult to follow the SMC guidebook descriptions in this area, in particular Rainbow's End  looks very bold the way it was described, but is OK (but not well protected) if you just climb straight up through the obvious break in the middle of the overlap. Martin's Bank was very hard to figure out, we did some variation of it that was about Severe, but with fairly poor runners. Quantitative Oozing and Loan Shark are both well protected.