SPORTS AND LEISURE IN CARSPHAIRN
The parish of Carsphairn is filled with opportunities for outdoor ctivities, from
walking to bird watching, cycling to star gazing. The Carsphairn Community welcomes and encourages those
interested in outdoor pursuits. The main outdoor activities in the area include fishing, hill-walking, mountain biking and bird watching, and there are Tai Jitsu classes in Lagwyne Hall weekly (see
We strive to maintain a respectful relationship between those who enjoy spending their
leisure time in this spectacular corner of Galloway and those who make their livelihood from the hills and the animals on them, so please read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code - www.outdooraccess-scotland.com.
Safety in the Hills
Be aware that shooters also use these hills. For your own safety avoid walking
through areas, in particular forested areas, where you can hear shooting taking place or where you see signs informing you that it is taking place.
The weather changes very quickly out on the hills so please make sure that you
are suitable equipped with food, water, clothing, a map and a fully charged mobile phone. Please refer to the Galloway mountain rescue website which can be found at www.gallowaymrt.org.uk
Please always check the weather forecast for the period you will be walking. A local weather report is available from a Galloway based meteorological service which can be found at www.mwis.org.uk
The Carsphairn Heritage Centre has put together some heritage trails;
Bardennoch trail, Woodhead Mine trail, and the Carsphairn trail. These walks are designed to take in sites of historic interest as well as dramatic views, details of which can be found on the
Heritage centre website at www.carsphairnheritage.org Trail leaflets can also be picked up in the local heritage centre
which is open seasonally between May and September from 10.30am-5pm weekday (closed Wednesdays) and from 2pm-5pm on Sundays. During winter all emails are redirected so that enquiries may
be dealt with in a timely manner.
Dundeugh Forest Walks
is a great area for walking with dogs and children. The longest routes take about two hours at most.
While in the area why not check out the nearby ruins of Polmaddy settlement. It will take you about 20mins
to tour a site that is significant in Scottish as well as local history.
(Ordnance Survey Landranger map #77)
Carsphairn village lies nestled between the lyrically sounding Rhinns of Kells and the mighty Cairnsmore of
Carsphairn. The whole area is a hill walkers' paradise liberally sprinkled with cairns, monuments, ruins, crosses and history both from the recent past and beyond.
Rhinns of Kells: The Rhinns of Kells are part of a ridge of hills known as the Galloway Hills and
forms part of the Galloway forest Park. At the bottom of Meikle Millyea one may join the Southern Upland way, arrange a pick-up, continue down the Garroch Glen towards St. John’s Town of
Dalry or descend down to Clatteringshaws via Darrou. Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and Benninner: The
Cairnsmore of Carsphairn is the highest of the three Cairnsmores in Galloway; the other two being Cairnsmore of Fleet and Cairnsmore of Dee. The time and distance of the climb depends on your
fitness and the route you take but an average time of 4 hours should be given for a direct ascent and descent using the rough track and following the dyke referred to below.
Southern Upland Way: The Southern Upland Way is a 212 mile coast to coast walk crossing the country from Portpatrick in the west
to Cockburnspath in the east. It roughly takes between 14-20 days to walk. The section between St. John’s Town of Dalry and Sanquhar passes through Carsphairn’s north western boundary and takes in
stunning views of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Benninner and the Water O’Ken. This area is filled with interesting historical sites such the remains of an iron age fort, a dyker’s village and Whig’s
hole, so why not break the journey as the walk meets the B729 and explore, before resuming the journey, and heading for the Chalk Memorial Bothy at Polskeoch.
Climbing Routes (Winter)
Carsphairn village is a great base for those wishing to do some small summer climbs in the Galloway Forest
Park. For information on all these routes please go to www.needlesports.com and click on ‘features’ followed by Galloway climbing.
Another useful site is John Biggar’s, ‘Galloway Climbing’. Winter climbing can be found even closer on Benninner Gairy but again detailed information is to be found on the above sites.
Good populations of wild brown trout are present in all the hill waters of the Carsphairn area. Average
sizes are mostly 8-10 inches but larger trout are caught in the Deugh and Ken rivers and in local lochs. In 1988 a wild brown trout over 17 pounds was angled from Loch Doon. Fly fishing is successful from late April or early May when the main hatches of aquatic insects normally begin. The trout fishing
season runs from March 15 – October 6 inclusive.
The shop in Carsphairn (Carricks of Carsphairn) sells tickets for the Dalry Angling Association for Carsfad Loch
and the River Ken in Dalry. They also sell tickets for the Forestry Commission Lochs, most of which are South of the village. The shop also can give information on who to
speak to regarding fishing on the stretch of the River Deugh behind the shop.
The upper reaches of the Deugh and Ken are controlled by the New Cumnock Angling Association. Bank fishing on the
stretch of the Deugh from the bridge at Carsphairn down to Loch Kendoon is permitted only by permission of the riparian owners of the fishing rights (who are not always the land owners).
Members of Carsphairn Angling Club have permission to fish on the River Deugh from Marbrack Burn to the Loch, but by boat only. Some other stretches and tributary burns can sometimes be fished
with permission of riparian owners.
Free fishing is available on Loch Doon which is 10 miles long and holds a large head of trout and perch plus South
Scotland's only remaining natural population of Arctic char. Some salmon also reach the loch from the River Doon in September and October. Access to the remote Carsphairn (Galloway) side of Loch Doon
is by foot from the A713 while the whole Ayrshire shore is served by a road which joins the A713 at Mossdale farm a mile south of Dalmellington. For the mobile angler Carsphairn is well situated for reaching Galloway Hills' trout waters as well as the salmon and sea trout
rivers of both Galloway and Ayrshire. September and October are normally the most productive months for salmon fishing on the Cree, Fleet, Urr, Doon, Girvan and Stinchar.
For further information please contact Carricks (the village shop and Post Office) on 01644 460211 or local fish
and wildlife expert Robin Ade on 07791 529 487 or visit www.robinade.co.uk
Great fun can be had ski touring in Carsphairn. Naturally it all depends on the amount of snowfall that we
have and in Galloway it doesn’t tend to stay long so get out as soon as you can. Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and the Rhinns of Kells are very popular. The best site for information on this sport
is John Biggar’s Climbing in Galloway and click on ‘skiing in Galloway.’
There are some rivers in Carsphairn where there is potential for some good kayaking. Current research show
that the Water of Deugh is the only river as yet assessed. Graded at level 2/3, the course runs for about 8miles and takes about an hour. Be aware that there are hazards and make sure that you get
detailed information. A good place to start is www.riversguidebook.co.uk
Carsphairn has private and commercial shooting take place in both the grass and forested land within the
parish. It mainly consists of red deer, sica and roe deer. The shooting seasons are found and explained on www.shootingscotland.com/page/game_and_fishing_seasons Please understand that you cannot go
shooting without the express permission of the landowner. If you have not been invited on a private shoot and you wish to go shooting within the parish you should contact one of the local firms, or
the Forestry Commission for information. Firms based in Carsphairn can be found on our website or local business pages.
Mountain Bikes and Bicycling
(Ordnance Survey Landranger Map #73)
Carsphairn forest offers an array of tracks and roads that are perfect for mountain biking with some great
views and sights of historical interest. Access to Carsphairn Forest is found via the A713 north of the village.
Another route enjoyed by cyclists is from Carsphairn to Moniaive using the B729. Not only is there beautiful
scenery and historical sites, but you can take a little diversion down the Water o’Ken/Lorg glen or turn off the B729 and follow the bicycle byway to B7000 (turn left for Dalry and right for
Carsphairn) to experience fantastic views of the Rhinns of Kells – do watch out for timber lorries though.
A third area for mountain bikers within Carsphairn is found in Dundeugh Forest – see the section on walking above
for information. Carsphairn is a great base for cycling and mountain biking in the Glenkens and Galloway Forest Park. The Galloway Forest Park is famous for it’s off-road mountain bike routes.
The Seven Stanes cycle route is made up of eight mountain biking centres across southern Scotland, with 5 in Dumfries & Galloway and 2 in the Galloway Forest Park, namely; Glentrool and Newton
Stewart. Their excellent website will give you all the information you need: www.7stanes.com
Carsphairn lies on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park and is the first Dark Skies Park in the UK and the
first outside of the United States. The Forestry Commission website suggests many places within the park where telescopes can be set up. For more information please visit the
Forestry Commission website: www.forestry.gov.uk/gallowayforestpark and follow their links, or phone the
Recreation Ranger on 01671 402420. For those of you interested in stargazing and learning more
about the night skies, the Wigtownshire Astronomical Society aims to promote and advance public education in astronomy. They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01671-404387.
Anywhere around the Carsphairn parish is a good place for bird watching – those of you wishing to get some
tips on where to go should visit the RSPB website; www.rspb.org.uk. Also within the Glenkens, within a 15 minute or so drive of
Carphairn parish, there is the Galloway Kite Trail - www.gallowaykitetrail.com, and the Ken Dee Marshes which features such species as
the pied flycatcher, redstart and white-fronted goose - www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/k/kendeemarshes/index.aspx