Looking for somewhere different to test yourself an your trekking gear this summer, why not head for the Range of the Awful Hand, where I hear you cry? Well this is actually the high point of one of Britain’s best kept secrets when it comes to walking, lying in the centre of the Galloway Hills in Scotland’s Southern Uplands. An area that is often bypassed as walkers head for the better known Highland region, but offers some great areas to enjoy, from forest trails to lofty peaks and thousands of years of history to boot.

There is a great range of short family walks based around the Kirroughtree Forest, with its brand new visitor centre including one which after a short initial climb takes along a narrow flat path through the forest to the base of the dam that forms Bruntis Loch. Information boards are paced at regular intervals supplying enough information for any inquisitive children, or big kids like me for that matter, before returning to the visitor centre where there is a children’s play area to burn off any residual energy, exhibition areas and a café for those on need of refreshment.

If you fancy something coastal then head to Portpatrick, situated a few miles south of Stranraer, this picturesque fishing village looks out over the Irish Sea, and is the starting point of the Southern Upland Way – a four mile walk which takes you over exposed cliffs which on a clear day might just allow you to see Ireland, before descending into Port Mora, which is a sheltered little bay featuring a waterfall. Then its inland before the path takes you back to your starting point.

As Galloway is now the first Dark Sky Park in the UK why not bring your telescope and set up in the Red Deer Car Park, about eight miles north-east of Newton Stewart on the A712. There is a marked path to take you a little further into the gloom but then you can gaze at the night sky to your heart’s content, and you may even spot one of the local red deer too.


So whatever you fancy there is something for everyone to enjoy in this hidden part of Scotland, a perfect place to test out your trekking gear without having to trek to the far ends of the earth. And always here at Outdoor Look we have the latest quality gear at the best prices to fill that gap in your rucksack.