Route Notes


Start - Caldons to Lamarchan.  All photos in Caldons to Curleywee and  Photos 1-9

Go through the house garden, and follow round to right. Then you are alongside the deer fence with the river on your right. You will come to a track/bridge. Cross the bridge to your right and immediately turn left with the river on your left. I have put a couple of markers up this route but now many. There is a goat / walkers path that follows the river. Sometimes near the edge of a gully and sometimes it cuts a "bend" and leaves the bank. Try to follow the path as it's easier going. At around 250m the forestry have created a new huge track that you pop out on. There is a made "footpath" leaving this track that ends at the stream. Head up the stream where there is a fallen down tree. There are a few up this valley and I have marked and cut back as much as possible. Then it's easy as a wall on your right leads to the summit. The summit is a shelter cairn.

CP1 to CP2 - Lamarchan to Curleywee Curleywee Cairn

Quite straightforward with good paths. A few bumps you can go round and after the lochan contour left. Then cross the wall and a good path takes you to the summit. No photos as in clag

CP2 to CP3 - Curleywee to Millfore.   Photos 10-31 . No 22 & 24 is looking back at Curelywee descent

The descent to the valley is pretty rough. Don't get dragged right as it's nicer but doesn't descend. Yesterday I went straight down as soon as I could, then goat paths look me left and I ended up contouring right around the tussocks to the fence. The fence has barbed wire on the lower side and plain wire on the upper side. If you cross at the joining post you get onto the ATV track. Although this track curves right and up a hill you don't need to climb it's very good going and so I would follow it. If you can see - the hill summit to your left is NOT the summit you want. The tracks leads to a tarn (Black Loch) From here there is a shallow valley and stream which climbs. You top out and can see a grassy ridge to your right. Drop down and the ATV tracks appear again. Follow these but then leave it as you start to climb to go to Millfore Summit. A Trig.

CP3 to CP4 - Millfore to Cairngarroch  Photos 32-41

There is 1km of open wide expanse that's just a compass bearing. At some point you glimpse the loch located under the word Cairnbaber on the OS map. Head to that. Once you get there you can see Cairngarroch. If you hit the fence where there is a stile there is then a path all the way up to the summit. The summit is a cairn but lost in lots of rocks.

CP4 to CP 5 - Cairngarroch to Track CP Photos 42-48 and  Cairngarroch and Darrou

Head off due north and pass the lochan / boggy area and gently down and across. It's ok going with grass and small tussocks. If you can see you are aiming for the bends in the river in the distance. You arrive at the felled forest and a cairn. I would avoid the felled area as its been pretty trashed. There was a few deer trods alongside and then down. There are grassy areas and paths that lead from to another. If it doubt head to the forest as the sheep graze there and it's ok going. When you get within 100m of the track you can either go in the forest or down the side, which has been planted up but it's ok. And you get to the forest track without much difficulty.

CP 5 to CP6 - Track CP to Darrou  Photos 49 to 53 and Cairngarroch and Darrou

We have been advised that we cannot go into the quarry therefore this will be Out of Bounds and the route will be to continue along the Forest road until you get to a line of standing trees with a small track leading into them. Head up the track which dissapears into the trees. Head directly up through the trees. When you reach the top you can a) follow the track to your left and then ascend by the stream or B) which is better climb directly onto the ridge above you. It's ok going through bracken and grass to the rocky spear where it is heather and grass. The summit has three big rocks and some smaller ones on it. But there is also a tiny green cairn higher up. Either will be counted if in the dark.

CP6 to CP7 - Darrou to Meikle Millyea  Photos 54 to 65

On the map it looks like you could contour Little Millyea but I don't think it's worth it. There used to be a path up this hill marked with little flags but that seems to have gone. The terrain isn't bad as its winter so I plodded up it and then off the other side. You can see a wall in the valley and the old flagged path went to the wall and up it so there is a path on and off. The terrain near the wall is best and worth dropping a bit of ascent to get to the wall earlier. The wall levels off at the first top and a path leads to a cairn on the left. This isn't the summit. Just keep following the wall and there is a big cairn and a Trig.

CP7 to CP8 - Meikle Millyea to Corserine  Photos 66 to 68

From the summit onwards it's all runnable, big wide ATV tracks or paths along the ridgeline. The rough stuff is over. So there's not many route notes. I don't think it's worth trying to contour the summits you don't need to go up of Milldown and Millfire. It's a long drag up Corserine!!

CP8 to CP 9- Corserine to Meaul  Photos 68 to 77

I tried contouring Carlin's Cairn but although the col looks to be at 740m I ended up climbing back up to 780m and it's quite rocky patches so I would just follow the track up and over next time.

CP9 - CP10 - Meaul to Corran of Portmark Photos 78 to 82

I followed the fence and went up and over Bow. Cairn on the right of the fence.

CP10 to CP11 - Corran of Portmark to Track CP Photos 83 to 102

Steve suggested people might try and go direct to the track which on paper looks like it makes sense. But in reality I'm not sure it would work. I've tried to take photos from above and when I was running on the track below to show you what the "forest" now looks like. Some of it still exists but the rest has been cut down and replanted. The route round follows an ATV track off the summit to near the wall and then heads down to the wall where it crosses the stream. There you take a left and follow the wall again on an ATV track to the main track.

CP11 to CP12 - Track CP to Track CP Photos 103 to 107

Not a lot to say - it's a track and goes on a bit! That's why we are putting a CP at the end of it so you can get more food/drinks. I took one photo looking back at the carparks. The CP will be in whichever has more room at the time. One thing I love about this race route is that you can see where you have been and where you are going. As you get to the end of the track you can see the whole ridge leading to Merrick. It looks a long way but it's about 5 hours. Timings to follow.

CP12 to CP13 - Track CP3 to Shiel Hill

I have cut back and flagged with red/white tape to the end of forest and open clearing. Basically follow the tapes over the stream and between two tapes onto a grassy hillside. Then turn left and follow the tree line into some smaller trees which are cut back. You're heading back towards the big stream. When you get to the boggy marshy area head alongside the stream into some more trees. There is an old balloon tied on the way through these trees. Then left again back towards the stream and alongside the stream with a steep bank on your right. This gets very narrow and you have to scramble up heather/grass to your right and the bottom of the tree line. Keep looking right and you will see where I have cut a way through the trees. Go through there and straight up, parallel with the stream. You then cross the stream in a boggy area to the low side of the forest and follow that to open ground when you head up heather/grass. The Trig can be accessed directly or the path goes round the back of it.

CP13 to CP14 Shiel Hill to Craigmansheenie

There is a good path off Shiel Hill which drops you to the base of the forest. Here do not follow the deer trods going left/right but head up the rougher ground in front of you. The top is a good way off and you can contour / climb round the first hill on the right to arrive in a grassy gully which you drop into and then walk up to your left. There are a few grassy steep inclines through the slab of rock which lead to to the top which is a flat piece of stone. No cairn.

CP14 to CP15 Craigmansheenie to Shallock on the Minnock.

There is a path leading off the summit but its pretty easy to lose so keep your eye on a bearing etc. You drop to the left of the lochan and pick up some quad bike tracks. There is a good stream here for water. Follow the quad bike tracks but then strike off directly up the hillside. It's steep and there are shorter grassy bits. When you get onto the short grass and flatter climb you can contour round to your right as the Trig is off on a plateau.

CP15 to CP16 - Shallock on the Minnock to Tarfessock.

Head along the path off the summit to the shallow col and then fork right on the path. I wouldn't advise going directly from the summit down to the col as the ground there is rough and boundery. There is a path on the left hand ridge which leads down and then up the ridge to Tarfessock which has two summits and it's the second one with the big cairn on it that will record on Opentracking.

CP16 to CP17 - Tarfessock to Kirriereoch.

Initially head down the spur rather than direct to the lochans as there is a path and it will lead you through the lochans to the fence. Here there is a wide path which splits at the base of Kirriereoch. Generally the left handside is drier and there are two routes - either right on the far left ridge which is a path through the rocks. Or and better if there is snow, head directly up and when you get to rocks/snow then head left to more grass. The climb is steep and then levels off. You get to a wall with a cairn on it which isn't the summit. The summit is a smaller cairn further on.

CP17 to CP18 - Kirriereoch to Merrick.

The descent is grassy and easy to go wrong so get a bearing on it. Get down to the col and I would ignore the path that heads off right as it doesn't climb and you end up leaving it anyway. Head up the stony / grassy spur on pretty good ground getting steep and then flattening off on Little Spear. Most of the climb is done now and you're on a good path to the summit of Merrick. A big summit cairn with a trig.

CP18 to CP19 - Merrick to Gate in Wall.

Be very careful off Merrick. It's a big plateau and the tourist path is not clear and heads right initially. It's short grass and the path is easily covered in snow/grass. Further down at about 800m it becomes more obvious and heads down to a wall. The best ground is to cross the wall and then recross it further down to climb up to Benyellary. You don't need the summit so follow the wall. Be careful about staying near the wall as it's extremely easy to get dragged too far down and left on the Tourist path. Stay by the wall and you pick up a quad track thats leads you across and to the gate. There is only one gate in this wall so find it!

CP19 to CP20 - Gate in wall to Bruce's Stone.

Through the gate and across on a big path to a deer fence and big step stile. Over the stile and onto the track which leads up to the mast. When you are opposite the loch look for flags and a path to your left between two knolls. Follow this path / flags all the way to down to the carpark basically. It's quite clear and well marked. If you lose it I think it's worth retracing your steps to find it again. Describing it is hard as it wavers about, goes round bogs, heads steeply down to a deer fence which you cross on the stile, then down again to the forest road which you cross. Then right and along the top of a ridge to a big cairn. Then it drops through tussocks, down and down steeply towards the main valley before turning right in the bracken and dropping steeply to the car park.

Once in the top Bruce's Stone car park head straight across the road onto man made paths to get to Bruce's Stone.

CP20 to Finish - Bruce's Stone to Finish.

There is a little path on the right of the Stone down some slabby rock which leads to the bottom carpark. Then it's on the road until the footpath. You can't miss the footpath sign. It says "Southern Upland Way and some other path signage. It's a well made path and a bit wavy but doesn't have much ascent on it. You will come alongside the loch and then turn left over the bridge, left at the fork, over another bridge and into Caldons. The Finish is on the track to your right.


Merrick Trig with Bruce