Walk: A Criffel cracker - one for the winter

[The snow capped peaks of the Lake District from Criffel summi]

Isolated from surrounding hills, views from the summit of Criffel are some of the most memorable in Scotland on a clear day. Looking south, the cluster of peaks forming the northern Lake District rise majestically beyond the miles of mudflats and seawater of the Solway Firth. But the hill is a double-edged sword despite paths all the way to the top. A trawl through the internet archives quickly reveals why: this hill has a serious reputation for bog, no matter which direction you climb it from. Expect wet feet on this otherwise wonderfully scenic circuit from the New Abbey side, unless you're lucky enough to get a rare day when all the mud's frozen solid. One for the winter...

[Loch Kindar]

Name: Walk: Cold Criffel cracker ★★☆☆
Length: 10 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 570 metres
Main summits: Criffel (569 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: Loch Kindar
Start / finish: Car park at minor road end a mile south-west of New Abbey, G.R.: NX 957655 / clever whiplash lively

Route: Car park - Loch Kindar north-west bank - join track at NX 962654 - leave track at Craigrockhall Burn - Criffel - Knockendoch - start
Terrain: Intermittent paths through fields and woodland paths / tracks lower down. Exceptionally boggy ascent path on the open hill; even worse for the middle part of the descent!
Wildlife today: Cows, sheep and plump robins lower down; a couple of grouse near the summit.
Weather today: 0C with thick frost in the shade and frozen ground throughout, with a dusting of snow in places at the top. -5C on the drive down to the start.

[Looking out to the Solway Firth from Knockendoch]


Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)

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