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The Crown of Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Walk

County/Area - Dumfries and Galloway

Author - Simon Tweedie

Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km    Ascent - 1850 feet / 561 metres

Time - 6 hours 20 minutes    Grade - moderate

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 330Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 330Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 79Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 79Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - The Crown of Scotland
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An interesting walk that includes mystery, history, myth and fiction.

The Crown of Scotland, as its name proclaims, is of great historical importance. The start of this walk is some five miles north of Moffat which is to be found near Junction 15 of the M74/M6. Driving north out of the centre of the town take the A701 and turn right just past Moffat Academy. Continue along the old Edinburgh road until Newton Farm (Grid ref. NT073107) is reached. There is parking on the track opposite the farm that bears off to the right.

The walk starts by following this track through farm buildings for a hundred metres until you meet a bridge cum cattle crush constructed of motorway crash barriers. The route crosses the bridge but take a few minutes to deviate off just to the right. There is a mysterious red sandstone outcrop below Newton Farm Cottage. On the south face of this outcrop are two small caves. Arthurian legend has it that Merlin spent his final years living in a cave on Arthur's Seat, which is just to the east, and roaming the hills often in the guise of a deer or hart. Perhaps it was these small caves that played host to the great Magician.

Cross the bridge and continue along the track passing through a number of farm gates and fields. Though the map marks a direct route through the field system some deviation is necessary to find the gates and avoid the fences as the route becomes indistinct. As you climb above the valley floor to the left Corehead is visible. Corehead has strong connections with Robert the Bruce of which there is more in a minute. Heading past Broad Tae (Big Toe) up the right of Tweedhope Burn the country opens up between Chalk Rig Edge and Spout Craig. The Crown of Scotland is clearly visible across the Powskein Burn.

Follow the county boundary easterly along the Tweed/Annan watershed up to Whitehope Heights and continue to Whitehope Knowe. Strike off north to Garlet Hill, do not loose too much precious height as Lamb Craig and Barncorse Knowe are taken in before the short pull up to The Crown of Scotland. It is at this spot in 1306 having murdered his rival the Red Comyn in Dumfries that Robert the Bruce forged an alliance with James Douglas that resulted in Bruce becoming Scotland's most celebrated king.

The source of the River Tweed is visible to the west and to the north Broad Law can be seen above Tweedsmuir, which brings us neatly to the fictional character of Richard Hannay the creation of John Buchan who took the title Viscount Tweedsmuir on becoming the governor of Canada. He is better known now as the author of the famous thriller Thirty-nine Steps the father of all chase novels. It is over these hills and glens before you that his hero Richard Hannay is pursued by evil villains until finding refuge in "a humble Moffat public-house" so let us move on swiftly.

From the Crown drop down to the ruined buildings at Earlshaugh and follow the track southerly to Strait Step. Enter the great Devil's Beef Tub a vast coomb that forms the head of Annandale. By tradition, it is here that cattle purloined or reived from over the border in England were hidden before being dispersed. Taking care on the scree, pick up the path at Corehead and from there it is but a short walk back to Newton Farm.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2035 Hart Fell via Hartfell Spamoderate7.2 miles
Walk 2280 Hart Fell & Whitehope Heightsmoderate8.4 miles
Walk 2268 Annandale Waymoderate9.0 miles
Walk 2045 Capel Fell via Sailfoot Law & Broken Back Hillmoderate5.8 miles
Walk 2008 Hart Fell via Saddle Yoke & the Black Hope Horseshoemod/hard8.5 miles
Walk 3612 Ettrick Hills Horseshoemod/hard8.0 miles
Walk 2006 Grey Mare's Tail & White Coombmod/hard7.2 miles
Walk 2618 Broad Law & Megget Stonemoderate5.0 miles
Walk 2135 Camps Reservoir Circulareasy5.8 miles
Walk 3759 St. Mary's Loch Circulareasy/mod7.5 miles

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