Screel Hill is a prominent peak located in the Dumfries and Galloway region of southwest Scotland. It stands at an elevation of 344m, making it a popular destination for hill walkers and outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding area is known for its stunning natural beauty, with rolling hills, verdant forests, and sweeping coastal views.
Our adventure began at the Screel Hill car park, which was closed due to fallen trees. Undeterred, we parked nearby on the A711 and set off on foot. As we made our way up the hill, we were struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The lush greenery, sparkling streams, and distant mountains made for a stunning backdrop to our walk.
Hill walking is a fantastic way to get exercise and explore the great outdoors, but it’s important to be prepared. We made sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing, such as waterproof jackets and sturdy boots. We also checked the weather forecast and brought a map and compass, as well as a first aid kit just in case.
In general, we’d recommend bringing the following gear for a 3-4 hour walk in Scotland:
- Good quality hiking boots with ankle support
- Warm and waterproof clothing (including a waterproof jacket and trousers)
- Extra layers for insulation (such as a fleece or down jacket)
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses (even on cloudy days)
- Navigation tools (such as a map and compass or GPS device)
- Adequate food and water (including a water bottle and snacks)
- Basic first aid kit
- Emergency whistle and torch (with spare batteries)
- Mobile phone with a fully charged battery (with an extra power bank if possible)
I had installed the Ordnance Survey app on my smartphone which enabled us easily to track our progress against a recognized route up the hill – really useful.
As we ascended the hill, the weather began to change. The hot sun that greeted us at the start of our journey was soon replaced by dark clouds and heavy rain. Loz, my daughter, was wearing a Rohan Imber waterproof jacket, which proved to be an excellent choice. As the path grew steeper, we entered a forested section where fallen trees blocked our path. We had to pick our way through the debris, clambering over and under trunks and branches. It took quite a while to find a way through, and at one point we were even considering turning back because the risk of injuring an ankle or worse climbing over these huge tree trunks was quite high.
Luckily however, we were able to find a path through, and managed to get back to the original path heading upwards. We’d lost about 30 minutes of time.
Emerging from the forest, we continued our ascent up the hill. The weather grew increasingly severe, with rain turning to hail and wind whipping around us. Despite the challenging conditions, we were determined to reach the summit. The rugged terrain required us to scramble over rocks and boulders, using our hands and feet to propel ourselves upward. At one point, we had to navigate a steep incline, with only the rocks providing any purchase. But the reward was worth it, as we reached the summit and were greeted by stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
We paused for a rest and some food, indulging in some delicious pasties while taking in the incredible view from a shop called Picnic in Castle Douglas. To the west, we could see Ben Gairn summit in the distance, a reminder of the rugged beauty of the Scottish landscape. To the South East we could see a glimpse of the Lake District.
At this point we had a choice to make – carry on to Ben Gairn or start the descent back down to the road. Due to time constraints, we chose the latter as we had a visit to our Auntie and Uncle still to make, as well as a four hour drive back to Birmingham
Descending from the summit, we followed an easy-to-follow path that provided panoramic views of the sea and Auchencairn Bay which is a picturesque stretch of coastline located in the Solway Firth. It’s known for its unspoiled beauty, with crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and rugged cliffs that provide a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.. The sun had returned, and we could feel its warmth on our skin as we made our way down. The path was smooth and well-maintained, making for an enjoyable descent.
As we returned to the car park, tired but exhilarated, we reflected on the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the satisfaction of completing our walk. Hill walking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, get some exercise, and challenge oneself. The stunning views and sense of accomplishment made our trek up Screel Hill a truly unforgettable experience.