Grey Mare’s Tail Burn to Loch Skeen Walk

Grey Mare's Tail Hike
I took a hike last weekend up Grey Mare's Tail burn to Loch Skeen, up in the Moffat Hills, Scotland. Here's how it went and some photos from a lovely day in the hills.

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My Scotland hiking trips usually entail a Munro or two. But last weekend I headed North for a weekend of adventuring that didn’t involve a single Munro!

hiking at grey mare's tailInstead, amongst my two wanders last weekend, I went to the Moffat Hills for a walk up the beautiful Grey Mare’s Tail to Loch Skeen.

 

I generally lean towards quiet routes for my hiking days. And I knew from reading that Grey Mare’s Tail was quite popular. I held out some hope that the rainy weather may keep it relatively quiet.

We arrived at the National Trust car park to find the main car park almost full (but the overflow practically empty). There were people about for sure but it was by no means busy.

So with a bit of drizzle and a rather grey sky, we headed up very clear path. Here’s how it went.

 

Hike date16th September 2023
Weather conditionsGrey and drizzly for the first half of the route, brightening up a little later on
Distance hiked7.5km 
Walking time3 hours which included a lot of taking photos and wandering off the path too.
Elevation gain total341m
TerrainClear path, rocky in parts and boggy closer to the top
Solo hike?Nope – had company for this one!

Grey Mare’s Tail Route

This one’s a really straightforward route. There’s a managed footpath right up to the loch at the top and you can’t really go wrong.

Here’s the AllTrails route:


As ever, the allTrails estimate for distance and elevation came in under my Apple Watch tracking for the day, but I put it down to the fact we often wandered off the path to go look at things and take photos etc! And once we got to the bottom of the route, we also took a slightly shorter path from the car park to go see the waterfall from the bottom, which added a few hundred metres to the distance.

Route wise, this one is almost impossible to go wrong with. There’s a clear path from the car park. It starts pretty steeply, but within your first kilometre is levels out a lot and becomes much less steep.

The top is simply the Loch. You can walk right round the loch – though do be warned it’s very boggy.

We didn’t. Instead we just had a (very) quick dip in Loch Skeen, a sandwich and then headed back down.

loch skeen

There are some rocky points on the path that may briefly require the use of hands to get around (though it’s certainly not a full scramble). 

All in all an excellent day with spectacular views like these:

 

Is Grey Mare’s Tail Suitable for Children?

Yes. I would say so. Bear in mind the path is definitely not pushchair friendly, so you couldn’t take little ones in a pram. But for little walkers or tots in hiking carriers, this is a lovely route.

Is Grey Mare’s Tail Suitable for Dogs?

Yes. Absolutely. We saw lots of dogs on the day all living their best lives!

Is Grey Mare Tail Difficult?

This will depend hugely on your own fitness level. But it’s accessible for most, I think. We saw a (I hope she wouldn’t mind me saying) an elderly woman with a walking stick making her way up assisted by two family members.

So the only thing I would say is that the fitter you are, the faster you’ll do it. But with so much spectacular scenery around you anyway, what’s the rush?

Would I Hike Grey Mare’s Tail Again?

Absolutely. This is a stunning route and is ideal for the Autumn and Winter months when you have less daylight (if you’re not someone who wants to hike in the dark). You really only need a few hours to do this route and it’s also pretty accessible from the M74.

Not too much of a climb but enough elevation gain to feel like you’re worked and the views are incredible. 

 

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