The car was parked at the end of the road in Glen Trool, and Mark and I set off at 10.05 am. It was a pleasant sunny morning but we wondered how long the good weather would last, as the forecast wasn’t good. We stopped at the Bruce’s Stone and enjoyed the views over Glen Trool and the hills of Mulldonoch and Buchan Hill. The bracken on the hillsides was starting to turn brown, as were the trees in the Buchan and Glenhead Oakwoods. The oak trees were festooned in moss and the woodland had a wild quality which to me made it a special place. We crossed a bridge over the Glenhead Burn and walked along the river on the Southern Upland Way, before taking a forestry track that climbed up towards Lamachan Hill. After a while the forestry came to an end on our right hand side and we could see the lower slopes of Lamachan Hill. However, it was windy, cloudy and rain was in the air. We left the track at NX435790 and climbed up by the Shiel Burn, which fell in some attractive waterfalls. We followed a ridge which petered out in a sort of bowl, the slopes of which led on to the summit plateau. Before we reached the exposed plateau we took lunch in the shelter of the upper slops of the hill.
It had stopped raining but before we set off after lunch it started again, and became heavy. On reaching the plateau the wind increased and with the heavy rain and mist it was an unpleasant place to be. We navigated by both compass and GPS and they complemented each other well, allowing us to reach the summit of Lamachan Hill at about 2 pm. There was no view and we stayed for about 10 minutes before moving on.
The onward route to Curleywee was complicated and it took some careful navigation by Mark to get us on the right route. At the pass between Lamachan Hill and the 603m spot height, known as Nick of the Corners Gate, the mist temporarily cleared and gave us a view of Curleywee. However, in the misty conditions our senses misjudged the scale of the landscape: we thought that Point 603m was Curleywee and we were mystified by a much higher hill rising behind. After a while we realised that the higher hill was Curleywee but this illustrated how mist can confuse the senses and distort perceptions. The mist closed in again but while we were climbing Curleywee it parted, giving us views to Lamachan Hill and Cairnsmore of Fleet, before closing in yet again. We reached the cairned summit of Curleywee, 674m, at 3.35 pm and stayed for 25 minutes because while we were there the mist lifted and disappeared. The sun came out and the views were fantastic, especially to the Merrick, Mullwharchar, Craignaw, Ailsa Craig and the Rhinns of Kells.
The descent was slow going on account of the rough, tussocky grass , interspersed with rocks which is typical of Galloway. The views to the Merrick, Mullwharchar, Craignaw and the Rhinns of Kells were delightful in the sunshine. Eventually we reached the track along which the Southern Upland Way runs, near Loch Dee and after a rest we walked along this track back to the car. This walk was lovely in the sunshine and was notable for two things: the runic stone we came across, which is a recent artwork installation, and the beautiful Buchan and Glenhead Oakwoods in the evening sunshine. We reached the car at 6.50 pm and started for home 10 minutes later.