Cleish Hill Forts

Two circular walks taking in the summits of the Dumglow and Dummifarline ancient hill forts. Both routes are flexible and can be shortened by missing out summits. This area can be very wet so wear walking boots and ideally, gaiters.

Distance (shorter route): 5.5 km / 3.5 miles

Ascent (shorter route): 250 m / 820 feet

Distance (longer route): 8 km / 5 miles

Ascent (longer route): 350 m / 1150 feet

Terrain: Grassy hill paths which can be wet and muddy, plus some forest track. The longer route includes some off path grassy moorland walking. Barb wire fences need to be negotiated on the longer route.

Start / finish: End of the forest track at grid ref NT 093 971 on the Cleish road. There is space for a couple of cars in laybys or on the verge at this point.

Other routes in the area: Cleish Hills West

Both routes

The walking starts off easily enough on a surfaced forest track which is followed for 1.3km slowly gaining altitude. Where trees have been felled on your left you will catch glimpses of the final summit of the day, Dummifarline. After 1.3km when the track starts to level off, you reach an obvious track junction.

Shorter route

Turn left on the main track for about 700m until the track comes to an abrupt end at a clearing with a signpost.

Turn right and look for a narrow footpath which goes uphill through a firebreak. This path can be very muddy at times and has overhanging branches. You will now start to gain height quickly. The final stretch through the forest is a bit dark and brooding although relatively dry underfoot. Emerge from the forest on to the open hill and into the daylight.

A rough path continues upwards on the open hillside to reach a recently (2016) constructed stile. After the stile the grass starts to get a bit longer and the path heads up and over a small hillock. The summit with its trig point is about 250m after the hillock. From the summit there are 360 ° views of the surrounding countryside. Sheep may be grazing on the hilltops so keep any dogs under close control, ideally on a lead.

Longer route

Keep straight on at the junction. The track now starts to deteriorate and becomes nothing more than a wet path as it crosses an open area. On the far side of the cleared area, the path re-enters the forest and is a bit drier before reaching a grassy track. Note if doing the walk in reverse, there are some white ribbons on the tree branches at this point.

Go right on the grass track for about 70m until you reach a firebreak. Turn left into the firebreak where a path soon starts to appear. Ignore a chink of daylight to your left and follow the muddy path to your right through dark trees. It will soon bring you to the edge of the forest at NT 069 967. The line of the path is slightly different from that shown on the OS Explorer map.

Exit the forest onto the open hillside and follow a feint quad bike track uphill to reach the 349m summit of the Georgeton Hills. Continue southwards to reach a wall / fence which must be negotiated. Once across the wall the terrain is mostly pathless as you head over the rise of Black Hill and down to a rather wet dip. Park Hill (339m) now lies in front of you but it is probably easiest ascended by keeping left and tackling it by its eastern slope.

From Park Hill summit descend down the eastern slope but bear right so that you are heading towards the bulk of Dumglow rather than back to Black Hill. The wall / fence needs to be negotated again as does some wet ground. Aim for the junction of 3 fences at the foot of Dumglow and climb across the right hand fence. Acscend Dumglow on a very step grass path with the fence to your left. Although steep this section is thankfully short and you will soon reach the 379m summit with its trig point and cairn.

Both routes

Descend in a south easterly direction on the grass path that was used for the shorter ascent route. Cross a stile and reach the edge of the forest. Follow the path into the dark forest and down through the firebreak to reach the clearing with a signpost.

Keep straight on through the clearing and pick up a wet muddy path alongside a felled area. At one point you need to cross a small burn and this is probably the muddiest part. Soon after the burn you come to the edge of the forest and the middle of the three hills known collectively as the Inneans looms in front of you. Another new stile can be used to cross the fence on to the hillside.

At this point you can choose to include or exclude various summits. If you don’t want to do either of the Inneans (and they are not as bad as they look), you can walk round the middle Innean to the left on an obvious path.

If you want to include the southerly Innean go right on this path into the gap between the middle and south Inneans. Ascend the south Innean on its north west slope. Once the south Innean has been attained you can then descend northward to the middle Innean which is steep. Pick your way up the slope however you choose to reach the summit. Alternatively, just walk round it! Descend in a northerly direction to rejoin the obvious path.

This path has been created by the livestock that graze this area and they have probably chosen the line of least resistance for their routes. The path leads across some wet ground and as you come round the corner of the forest you will see the final summit Dummifarline in front of you. Dummifarline with its prominent cairn is best ascended by its south east ridge where there is a feint path.

Descend initially in the direction you came up, but strike off to your left towards a wall. Cross the wall and pick up a rough path heading down the hill  now in site of the road. The final obstacles of the day now have to be tackled: a barbed wire fence and a ditch, before you reach the road a short distance from your start point.

Cleish route map
Shorter route

View / download shorter route in Viewranger.

View / download shorter  route from Ordnance Survey.

Cleish route map
Longer route

View / download longer route from Viewranger

View / download longer route from Ordnance Survey

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