Minor Ice-climbing venues in Galloway
This page gives brief details of some of the minor winter crags of Galloway. Those that are smaller, less good or less likely to form. We also have an index page detailing the four more important Winter Galloway Climbing areas. Click on the link for more information and route topos for all of the larger winter climbing venues.
Star ratings used here are as for the main Galloway Climbing index. Places I have no personal experience of have not been rated, but they may well deserve stars.
|Cairnsmore of Carsphairn||*||There are a couple of reasonable winter scrambles on this peak and it's outliers. See our Below for details.|
|Clints of the Spout||***||A big rambling cliff on the east side of Cairnsmore of Fleet split by a big 160m gully - the Spout of the Clints, a.k.a. Lost Pilots Gully. In winter this route and the neighbouring Smear Test give excellent *** routes at grades V and IV respectively. Access begins from the Fleet railway viaduct.|
|Corserine||Some routes at grade II and III have been recorded in winter 2010 just north of the summit of Corserine on See photo topo here.|
|Dungeon of Buchan||**||Though it is not a very natural venue the routes on the Dungeon Hill come into good winter condition once every few years. See pictures and topos on our Dungeon Hill page.|
|Galloway Grey Mares Tail||**||A short but pleasant 25m ice pitch up this waterfall near Murray's Monument - it's mostly over before you really get started. However with less than one minute approach time from a handy car park it's worth the trip.! See photo here|
|Moffat Ice||**||A number of winter routes have been recorded on the crags above Moffat Dale, mostly at about grade II, but with the very notable exception of the Grey Mares Tail waterfall, which when frozen gives a sustained climb of grade III/IV that is relatively serious, partly because the waterfall is rarely completely frozen ..and yeah - I know it's not really Galloway..!|
|Talnotry Trickle||**||An 80m ice stream runs down the side of Criagnelder and is easily accessed form the A712 at Talnotry - just a 30 minute walk along the forest road and up towards the ice. For more details see here.|
For details of the major crags in Galloway please go to our Galloway Climbing Index page.
There is limited winter climbing on the two subsidiary hills to the east, of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn - Beninner and Moorbrock. Both hills are best accessed from the south using a minor dead-end road off the B729. Leave from Craigengillan and walk in to Moorbrock Farm, then carry on to whichever hill you are heading for. If you climb on Moorbrock first you can then traverse over to Beninner Gairy.
An impressive crag from a distance but there really isn't much climbing closer in. Towards the N end of the crag is a small buttress split by a shallow gully. Twisting Gully, I 50m, climbs the gully from the lowest rocks with a couple of easy steps. The rocks on the right of the gully are quite ice-glazed and give an entertaining variation. First recorded ascent 22nd January 2005 K. Livingston and J. Biggar
Beninner Gairy GR 608972 E facing Altitude c. 600m
Pictured above. Just left of the ridge which splits the buttress is a wide ramp that rises back rightwards above steep ground. The following route starts from the bottom of this ramp. New Poons and Panties II, 3 100m Kenny had new poons, I had new panties (though I wasn't showing them). From where the ramp goes off to the right climb directly up ice glazed rocks and shelves for about 30-40m, surprisingly continuous ice, and some variation in line is possible. Then cross easier ground to finish up the gullies either side of the short rock ridge under the plateau (if you're lucky they will have neve in them). First recorded ascent 22nd January 2005, K. Livingston and J. Biggar.
Picture courtesy of Cam Wheeler of new routes done by him at the north end of Corserine.
This is not the famous Grey Mares Tail but the less well known Galloway Grey Mares Tail. Despite the fact that it is less than 100m from the road near Murray's Monument there was no record of it being climbed in winter before the big freeze of January 2010. We went there and climbed it on our way to the bigger hills. It is a short but enjoyable grade II, 3, about 25m in total length. Not bad for a one minute walk-in.!
This famous waterfall, on the lower slopes of the 822m high hill, White Coomb, gives one of the best ice-climbs in the whole of Southern Scotland, but comes into condition very rarely. In ten years in this area I have never seen it formed well enough to climb. It is a fairly scary and dangerous route even when it is formed, due mainly to the unstable nature of the ice.
The Grey Mares Tail almost in condition in December 2010. Although it is not obvious in this still photo there was a big volume of water running behind the ice and it would not have been a very safe (or dry) ascent!.
The nearby fall of Dobs Linn, also a ten minute walk from the road, gives two 15m Grade III/IV pitches - this is the lower one.
An 80m ice stream runs down the side of Criagnelder and is easily accessed form the A712 at Talnotry - just a 30 minute walk along the forest road and up towards the ice. Photo to follow soon.!