The previous day I had climbed Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. Today I was going to walk the Rhinns of Kells ridge, the highest point being a hill called Corserine at 814m (26750ft). The forecast was good and, for March, the weather was relatively warm, albeit with a sharp breeze.
“Rhinn” is a word from old Irish meaning foothill, a landmark or a peninsula. “Kells” is refuge or niche. The name referring overall to Irish settlement in the area. The ridge runs in a roughly north-south direction for roughly 16km from Black Craig in the north to Meilke Millyea in the south. I was not going to tackle the northern section from Carlin’s Cairn to the north. But rather hit the ridge at Corserine and then make my way south.
The normal start point for this walk (and the one that I would use) is from Forrest Lodge on the east side of the ridge. Forrest Lodge is at the centre of a forestry estate owned by the Norwegian Fred Olsen Group.
The estate provides a car park 6km west of the A713 up a twisty no through road. There are warning signs there against overnight parking at the car park.
From the car park the approach to Corserine follows forestry roads at first and picking the right one to start on is key. Once identified it is straightforward with some helpful indicator signs. There is a map on the board at the car park and the initial road is called Birgir Natvig Road followed by Robert Watson Road. On the return to the forest one follows Professor Hans Heiberg Road. I understand that these individuals are all scientists.
After an initial forested section a felled area is passed through and a house, Fore Bush, is on the right. The road swings to the right and back up into forest. After a couple of turns, the path, now rougher and wetter, meets the edge of the forest by Folk Burn and a stile.
Once out of the forest a faint path then leads over grassy ground, trending to the right towards the north east ridge of Corserine.
Here views opened up towards Cairnsmore of Cairsphairn.
To the left are some incipient cliffs.
The path continues up the ridge and eventually to a large cairn (named as Hennessy’s Shelter on the 1:25,000 OS). This is on the edge of the summit plateau around the 800m mark at the Scar of the Folk.
It was then an easy and pleasant walk across to the summit trig. There were great views to the right towards Carlin’s Cairn. Here the view expands to hills to the west, including Merrick, the highest hill in Galloway. There are also great distant views to the Northern Pennines, the Lake District, the Isle of Man, Ailsa Crag (just), Arran, the Southern Highlands and the rest of the Southern Uplands.
Here is Arran to the north-west.
These were the views to the south, including the Lake District in England across the Solway Firth.
The route continued on down the south ridge of Corserine and over the subsidiary summits of Millfire and Milldown. At the next col, Jet and I stopped. Whilst I had something to eat, Jet took advantage of the lochans there – the Lochans of Auchniebut.
A 100m ascent took us up to the trig point and cairn at the southern end of Meikle Millyea. From here, the view back to Corserine is like this.
The view out to Cairnsmore of Cairsphairn is out over a vast expanse of air.
The true summit of Meikle Millyea is not at the trig point and cairn but actually around 350m to the south. So I wandered across the rough ground to that point. The views to Merrick were better here.
And to the snow covered Lake District.
I returned to the trig/cairn and followed the north-east ridge down to Meikle Lump following a broken wall and over wetter ground to the edge of the forest and, in a while, Professor Hans Heiberg Road.
So this walk saw me complete the seven southern Scottish Corbetts. Only about 170 other Corbetts to do now!