One of the most remote hills in Dumfries & Galloway, Mullwharchar is a Donald which sits between Merrick and Corserine, high in the Galloway Forest Park. At 2,270ft and around 6 miles out, it is not an easy little walk.
However, it may be the best walk I’d done in 2022.
I have walked in the Glen Trool area a lot and I love it. Corserine is one of my favourite mountains, I spent a wonderful time climbing Merrick in the summer (including a stay at a gorgeous Shepherd’s Hut afterwards) and I recently fly-fished lochs Valley and Neldricken. It’s these lochs that caused me to want to bag Mullwharchar.
Above Loch Valley and Loch Neldricken lies Loch Enoch. Sitting at 1,617ft it is one of the highest lochs in the south of Scotland and I want to fish it. I recently walked out to the loch to scout it out for a summer wild-camp fishing expedition: the weather was horrible and I got soaked in the process. However, I saw enough to see that it is an exquisitely pretty loch, nestled below Merrick, but I noticed at the far end of it is a snub hill called Mullwharchar.
I decided I’d return, get another look at Loch Enoch and bag one of the most remote hills in the south of Scotland.
What I got was a spectular walk and some wonderful pictures.
It was a freezing December day and I’d gotten up early to make the most of the light. It was already bitterly cold and Glen Trool was wonderfully atmospheric, with everything covered in ice and silver frost as the sun was rising over the hills at the south side of Loch Trool.
Parking at the big car park just before Bruce’s Stane in Glen Trool, I followed the Merrick Path with Messi in tow. We were heading for the wee bothy which sits about half-way to Merrick. At this point the path splits. The path to Merrick climbs upwards through woodland while a horizontal Forestry Commission track heads east and this is where we were headed for.
En route to the bothy and the sun was rising, all of the puddles were solid ice and the only soundtrack was the little river flowing beside us. It wasn’t long before I noticed we were being followed. At each ice-rink puddle, as I slowed to (gracefully) slide across, I could see our new friend watching. It wasn’t until we reached the bothy that I stopped and turned to fully introduce ourselves.
I think many of us, be it gardener or walker, appreciate inquisitive little Robins. I explained that we wouldn’t be having lunch for hours yet and asked if he’d hold still long enough for me to get a nice picture for the blog. He seemed happy to oblige, before fluttering off to a fence to continue watching us.
The bothy is now in a very dilapidated state but it sits in a very nice position at the bottom of the woodland that leads to Merrick and looking over the fields that lead back down to Glen Trool. In the picture above you can just make out the horizontal track which heads away from Merrick and this is where we were aiming for.
We climbed the little path behind the bothy and emerged on the wide forestry track. It felt odd to be walking away from the Merrick path but we were heading for the remote glen, hidden above the trees. Even from the path before the bothy, it’s barely noticable.
I was enjoying walking along the track and taking in the morning sun. The rays were now coming over the hills and blanketing the moors below and it was making for some wonderfully atmospheric pictures.
I’ve read some reports of people walking here and not knowing where to go to reach Loch Enoch. There are a few little tracks that branch off in different directions in the glen and if you haven’t checked an OS map it could be easy to go the wrong way.
Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered. Head to the right.
There is a nice new little bridge that’s been built over the small burn that flows down from the Merrick ridge and cuts through the glen. Once you’re over the bridge, climb the little track until it ends and then jump across the burn (where it is tiny) and follow the faint path upwards.
There are a lot of intersecting little paths so it’d be easy to take the wrong one and start heading in the wrong direction. As we gained height the views behind just got better and better, eventually offering views out to sea.
After a while we reached the bealach just before Loch Enoch and things became truly special.
When we entered the narrow bealach we still couldn’t see the loch but some sheep were strolling between the huge boulders and stopping to stare at us in bemusement. This area feels wonderfully remote and the sheep seemed fascinated by who were were and what we were doing there.
I couldn’t wait to get a look at Loch Enoch. The sun was shining, there was barely a cloud and I knew it’d be gorgeous.
But I wasn’t ready for HOW gorgeous it looked and it led to one of the best pictures I have ever taken. A lone sheep was standing on the edge of the outcrop before the loch and seemed to pose for me as the loch came in to view.
I took about 10 pictures of this scene, from different angles and I have agonised over which one to use for this blog post and I’ve settled on the one below.
After I had extensively photographed the sheep, we strolled down to the side of the loch and took it all in. Loch Enoch really is one of the prettiest lochs I’ve seen, with a few little islands sitting in the middle of it and with lonely Mullwharchar towering over the north side.
We headed to the left of the loch and started heading for Mullwharchar and, of course, Messi immediately started posing.
It was still absolutely freezing and the edges of the loch were frozen over in some places. I was glad I’d wrapped up with thermals and I knew the summit of Mullwharchar would require the gloves! As I was thinking this I heard a ‘splash’ and looked to my right…
Messi was casually strolling through the loch. In December. When parts of it were frozen.
At this point I’m unsure if he actually feels cold.
The stroll around the loch is easy and gives great angles of the loch. I kept stopping to take photo’s and I couldn’t wait to be fishing the loch in the summer.
As we arrived at the bottom of Mullwharchar a faint mist drifted in and covered the loch and wrapped around the base of Mullwharchar. It was wonderfully atmospheric, making for some great pictures, and it was fleeting as not long after taking a few pictures it drifted away.
The views in all directions were getting better and better. The Merrick ridge was stunning, covered in a gentle powdering of snow. Loch Enoch was lit up with bright sunlight and when we came over the ridge of the summit, the views north to Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Corserine and Ayrshire were gorgeous.
The walk home was the final icing on the cake of a wonderful day. The sun was setting and the entire walk home was downhill. Walking in these areas, alone, as the sun sets is something I will never get sick of.
The silence and sense of peace is wonderful.
Returning in the Summer
This was easily one of the best walks I’ve done in Dumfries & Galloway and was my favourite walk of 2022. Mullwharchar is remote, isolated and a perfect hike that will take you away from the more popular hills.
The gem of the day though, was Loch Enoch. It is a beautiful loch, sitting high in the hills and perfect for a wild camp and some wild brown trout fishing.
This year, in 2023, I will be making a trip to the loch in the summer. I can’t wait to see it on a warm summer night and I can’t wait to catch a wild brown trout at one of my favourite spots in the south of Scotland.
Route Length: 12 Miles