The Merrick Circle - part 1

Mountain Bike Trails


    A long circular route in Galloway Forest Park, this section is hilly; NOT RECOMMENDED IN WINTER OR IN PROLONGED WET WEATHER.

    If you've never biked in this area before get ready to be surprised! Galloway Forest covers a huge area with a big variety of scenery. True, the mountains aren't as high as in the highlands but you might not know it to look at them. A big plus is that Galloway is just so quiet.

    This route is quite long, you might prefer to do it over two days. Most of the route is on forest dirt road but there is one section of just over a mile where you will need to walk.

    Route Description

    Start at the Forest Visitor Centre in Glen Trool (car park, toilets & cafe). Continue up Glen Trool to the end of the road. At the end of the public road continue along the stony track which plunges steeply. Cross a little bridge near a waterfall. The track drops steeply again to loch level. Go over a bridge and enter oak woods.

    Shortly after the track crosses the stream (Glenhead Burn). Continue until you reach a forest road where you turn left. Continue climbing to a concrete bridge, after this there is a descent, with views over Loch Dee towards the Silver Flowe. At the end of this you enter a more open forest area, then cross White Laggan Burn. White Laggan Bothy (rough shelter) is a little way upstream on a footpath.

    After Loch Dee there is a further climb then an increasingly rapid descent. Look out for a circular stone sheep pen on your left; turn left here to cross the River Dee. Immediately after crossing the river turn left again to go upstream. After this bear left at any other junctions. The forest road takes you deeper and deeper into the forest, there's a fine sense of remoteness to it, and occasional views of the Silver Flowe, now a nature reserve. After a while you pass a clearing with the Backhill of Bush bothy. This is reasonably comfortable for a bothy, with two wood burning stoves. After the bothy there is a gradual climb. A couple of miles after this you need to look out for a small stone cairn which marks the point where you leave the Land Rover track. Turn left at the cairn and walk down the fire break for 300 metres. After this turn right and follow a faint track leading north. If it's not too wet you may be able to bike it. After a little way you cross a burn at a stone ledge. After just over a mile you join another forest road - turn right

    Note: in the opposite direction leave the forest road just before a metal bridge, the path is by a small Bird Cherry Tree surrounded by lots of spruce trees.

    Going north, after a mile or so Loch Doon comes in to view, turn left over a bridge then turn left at the next junction again. Possibly you might want to turn right to visit the cafe and craft shop (bike hire) or visit Loch Doon Castle (a re-erected ruin).

    Opening Times
    Open All Year
    2014 Opening Times
    1 Jan 2014 - 31 Dec 2014

    Difficulty

    • Moderate

    Environment

    • Rural

    Type of Ride

    • Mountain Biking

    Distance

    • Miles 21

    Surface

    • Tarmac

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