Funding to upgrade the path to the summit of Criffel has been secured by Dumfries and Galloway Council, working with the Southern Upland Partnership and the local community.
The Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure has granted £210k through Visit Scotland to improve the path and provide new signage and interpretation.
The walk to the summit of Criffel has long been popular with locals and visitors. Peaty soil, high rainfall and heavy use have resulted in sections of path being eroded and damage to its moorland habitat.
Criffel may be only 570m (1,866ft) high, but its modest altitude belies its prominence. Rising from the Solway Firth, it dominates the coastline as the highest hill for miles around. Although it’s no more than a big hill, it feels like and can behave like a mountain. The ascent is short and steep, rewarding walkers with stunning views of the Solway, the Dumfries area, its estuaries, and the English Lake District.
In 2010, the Council upgraded the lower section of the path. This work will improve the upper stretch of path to the summit, making Criffel a more attractive and accessible tourist destination.
Dependent on weather, specialist contractors are expected to complete the work in around 12 weeks. The route will remain open during the work but walkers are advised to heed any signage and guidance from the contractors to stay safe.
Once the work is completed, walkers should keep to the path to enable vegetation to re-establish and avoid further erosion.
Councillor Rob Davidson, chair of the Economy and Resources committee, said: “I’m delighted that the Council has secured this funding to carry out improvements to this popular path to the summit of Criffel. As our region emerges from lockdown and we welcome the return of people to the countryside, it’s vital that they have the best possible visitor experience.”
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, vice chair, said: “I’m excited that this work can now begin to improve this popular path. Once completed, it will be a fabulous destination for people living here and for visitors to the area.”
Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure was open to applications from local authorities working in partnership with their local communities with the aim of improving visitor infrastructure.