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One of Scotland’s most famous waterfalls, Grey Mare’s Tail is located near the town of Moffat, within a nature reserve managed by the National Trust for Scotland. It is one of the UK’s tallest falls, cascading 60m down into the glen below. This walk takes you from the car park uphill to the source of the waterfall – the very peaceful and remote Loch Skeen. Surrounded by the Moffat hills, this is an area of outstanding beauty. There is a well-trodden path all the way which is steep in places and built in the form of steps into the hillside. The ground is therefore very uneven and good ankle support is recommended.
Dog-friendly route (note: steep slope next to the path down into the glen – and waterfalls – below)
Park at Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve (chargeable). No public transport to start point.
Route: From Grey Mare’s Tail car park, follow the footpath which heads towards the falls. Keep right (E) to cross the footbridge over the Tail Burn. Follow the path up the steep hillside with the burn on your left-hand side, passing several spectacular waterfalls as you go. You should be walking in a general NW direction. After approx 2km of uphill walking, you will arrive on the banks of Loch Skeen. Return via the same route back to the car park.
WALK REVIEW: 3rd July 2022
This one had been on my hit list for many years so whilst camping in Moffat with my family in the summer of 2022 it was top of the agenda!
We found the car park easily and were surprised to learn that there was a charge to leave the car there. I hadn’t realised that this was a National Trust for Scotland site. The upside of that was that there was a little cabin located next to the car park, with a supply of leaflets about the nature reserve and even a member of staff in it ready to answer any questions we might have.
You can actually see the waterfall from the car park, and it looked stunning. I couldn’t wait to get my boots on and start walking up closer. Even the kids were excited, and that takes some doing :-) As I puffed and panted and stopped many times “to admire the view”, the kids ran ahead, skipping and laughing. Lovely to see, despite my jealousy at how easy they were finding it. Admittedly my heart was in my mouth a lot of the time because the drop to our left was steep and I kept having visions of one of them tripping and rolling down into the valley gorge below and being swept away by the waterfalls. I hushed my inner chimp and let them enjoy themselves.
The path keeps a safe distance from the waterfalls so we went off-piste a couple of times to get a closer look. More heart-in-mouth moments as hubby and children were seen peering over edges into plunging waterfalls.
What a place of beauty we were in. The power of the water, the green rolling hills, the natural deep gorge beside us. Awe-inspiring.
As we climbed higher, above the waterfalls, everything grew quiet. The roaring cascades became a babbling burn. Higher still and around a corner and suddenly there it was – Loch Skeen.
Remote, tranquil, surrounded by hills. I could have spent hours there absorbing the scenery or doing more walking. The path seemed to continue around the eastern side of the loch but according to my map it didn’t go far. It is possible to do a loop of the loch by heading north and climbing the steep slopes of Lochcraig (801 m / 2627 ft) then following the ridge round to Midcraig (729m / 2391 ft) and back down to the lochside. Another time!