Auchengibbert Hill & Tynron Doon

With summer well on the way evening walks in the countryside again fall into the realms of possibility. Often, after the searing heat of a summer’s day, the cool of the evening is the best time for a wander around the hills. Wildlife is often more active at this time of day and walking in and throughout a Nithsdale sunset can be truly remarkable. One fine route for such an evening expedition is the Tynron Hills of Auchengibbert and Tynron Doon.

Tynron village is the starting point for this excursion. There is ample parking in the village hall car park at most times. Tynron is the now shortened name for what was once called Tynron Kirk. This was where local merchants called Laurie and Wilson once blended the famous Tynron Kirk Whisky. This was supplied to the House of Commons amongst other places but that’s a story for another time.

From the hall a road, then a steep and rough track winds up through forestry to Auchengibbert house. The whole hillside below the house can be a solid mass of bluebells in season and this is a fine place to linger for a while on a summer’s day.

Once the cottage is reached the route takes to the open hillside and a brisk 200-metre climb over rough grassland leads on to the disused Ordnance Survey pillar on top of Auchengibbert Hill. The view opens up as you reach the summit. Nithsdale and the Lowther Hills, Scaur and Shinnel glens all lie before you. Cairnkinna is the prominent hill to the north. The Keir and Maxwelton hills dominate the southern skyline and the Carsphairn and Galloway hills rear up far to the west.

From there the route descends to a gap and on to the western shoulder of Tynron Doon. The fortifications of Tynron Doon hill fort are particularly well defined from that pass. A short 100-metre climb leads to the summit of this historic hill. This hill top fortification must have seen bloody times and was occupied off and on for several particularly unsettled and warlike centuries. One old legend relates that the hill is haunted by the phantom of a headless horseman.

The hilltop is peaceful nowadays and was flattened off as part of the earthworks for the fort. There are several ditches on the less steep western approach to the hilltop. Camling and Clonrae farms are dwarfed by the hill and Penpont and Thornhill fill the view to the east. This is another spot to linger for a while.

A descent can be made by the signposted route to the west and south and on for the tarred road. This road can then be followed back to Tynron and your car. The Ordnance Survey Landranger map for this walk is Sheet 78 Nithsdale and Annandale. The distance covered is 3.1 miles, ascent 1,000 feet.

Dave McFadzean