Walk: Crichope Linn - Finnich Glen's arch-rival

[Crichope Linn - view from beyond the arch]

Hidden away in the un-touristy interior of southern Scotland, Crichope Linn is a magical abyss with dramatic scenery and fascinating history. The rocky walls amidst lush surroundings have been attracting visitors for at least two centuries, and today's intrepid explorer follows in the footsteps of early tourists including Sir Walter Scott (who wrote about it in Old Mortality) and Thomas Carlyle. You enter the glen at its foot and soon reach the most dramatic section, where a spur of path leads through a natural arch to a fantastic viewpoint for the lower gorge. Look carefully as you pass under the arch: dozens of past visitors have carved their names into the rock, some as long ago as the 1800's. Return to the main path and it threads its way along the gorge rim with occasional, dizzying views down. After one of many burn crossings there's a fork. Left is less interesting but probably continues at a higher level to a track at the top of the gorge, enabling a circular walk. Right (as described here) enters a second gorge section, with ever more hazardous erosion and increasingly alarming drops to the side. Eventually you're hemmed in on a ledge surrounded by cliffs, with a jumble of boulders ahead making it too risky to continue: return the same way. An excellent alternative to the overcrowded Finnich Glen further north.

[Heading into the upper gorge]

Name: Walk: Crichope Linn - Finnich Glen's arch-rival ★★★★☆
Length: 2 km / 1 mile
Ascent: 50 metres
Points of interest: Crichope Linn gorge, carvings & natural arch
Start / finish: Space for a few cars near small quarry off minor road a mile south of Gatelawbridge, G.R.: NX 907955 ///brisk.below.teach

Route: Start - path entrance to Crichope Linn 100 metres to south - follow north bank of burn past carvings & arch (short detour) until it's no longer safe to continue - return by outward route
Terrain: Increasingly rough path through gorge with some fallen trees and unstable ground. Large drops next to the path, which is eventually blocked by boulders. Extreme care needed in places.
Wildlife today: Small birds, spiders, fungi.
Weather today: Sunny spells but cool and shady in the wooded gorge.

["James Kirkpatrick, Bangor, N.W. (North Wales), 1879"]

Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

[Lower glen]

[Lower glen]

[Rock walls]

[Rock walls]

[Lower gorge]

[Arch (with carvings) leading to the viewpoint for the lower gorge]

[Natural arch]

[Peering into the lower gorge]

[Lower gorge]

[The gorge sides relent a little for the middle section]

[Fungi]

[The gorge is seemingly narrow enough to jump across at times (but don't try it!)]

[Fallen boulders block further progress along the upper gorge]

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