White Coomb and Hartfell

Hillwalking route from the Grey Mare's Tail up White Coomb and Hartfell

The Grey Mare's Tail, a lovely waterfall north-east of Moffat, is the starting point for a hike up White Coomb and Hart Fell.

Route outline


White Coomb, 

Hart Fell

Ascent 1050m (3440ft)
Distance 15km (9m)
Time 5:30hr
Start Grey Mare's Tail car-park
Grid Ref : NT186145
Finish Blackshope
Grid Ref : NT147098
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

The Grey Mare's Tail, a stunning waterfall 15km north-east of Moffat on the quiet A708, is the starting point this fine hike up White Coomb and Hart Fell from the south. Leaving a bike at Capplegill will avoid a 6km walk back along the A708.

Route map

Show map

Route description

1. Getting to the Grey Mare's Tail

Grey Mare's Tail car-park

Grey Mare's Tail car-park

The town of Moffat lies by the M74 and on the Southern Upland Way, nestled between the Lowther Hills to the west and Eskdalemuir to the east.

Running north-east from Moffat is Moffat Dale, through which the narrow A708 travels. Just below the highest point in this glen is the NTS car-park for the Grey Mare's Tail. Currently there is a charge of £3 to park here.

To avoid a hike of 6km along tarmac at the end of the day, best to leave a bike (or arrange other transport) at the foot of Black Hope near Capplegill.

2. White Coomb

Path up side of Grey Mare's Tail

Path up side of Grey Mare's Tail

From the car-park, there is a path on the west side of the Grey Mare's Tail which leads to an abrupt end at a viewpoint below the waterfall. So instead, cross the footbridge by the car-park and begin hiking uphill following the path up the north-east side of the Grey Mare's Tail.

The path is well constructed at first, though becomes slightly worn and erroded higher up. Above the waterfall is a second smaller waterfall and above this the path begins to level out. From here, begin to look for a dyke heading westwards on the opposite side of Tail Burn, then look for a suitable place to cross the burn - you may have to travel further upstream to do so safely

Once over, head towards the wall, pick up a path on its north side and follow it.

After around 1km, the path and wall approach the base of Rough Craigs , where the path briefly turns northwards, where a short constructed section of steps take an easy line uphill.

The path rejoins the wall for the remainder of the journey up White Coomb. The summit with is slightly feeble looking cairn, sits a few metres south of the wall, with the path making an obvious detour from the wall to get there.

3. Hartfell

Hartfell from White Coomb's cairn

Hartfell from White Coomb's cairn

The route from White Coomb to Hart Fell follows faint paths and ATV tracks aside lines of fence-posts all of the way. Taking shortcuts may not prove worthwhile, as terrain can be rough, clad in deep heather.

From White Coomb's summit cairn, return to the wall and meetup with a fence-line. Ignore the stile and keep to the north side of the fence where faint traces of an ATV track can be followed. 1km on from White Coomb, you'll meet another fenceline on Firthhope , cross this via a stile, and continue to keep to the north side of the fenceline as it travels westwards for the next 750m or so.

The fenceline changes direction more southerly, but keep to the faint path aside it as far as the weird rocks of Games Castle . Beyond this the path disappears and terrain becomes rougher.

Head for the ground above Raven Craig, where you'll come to another junction in fencelines. Cross the fences, then leaving them behind, make a beeline over more rough heather-clad terrain for the col before Hartfell. The fenceline is met once more and followed up to Hartfell Rig , with terrain becoming easier underfoot as height is gained.

The final approach ot Hart Fell lies ahead. Crossing to the south side of the fenceline will enable a fairly obvious ATV track to be used. The fenceline turns south-west for the final 200m or so to Hart Fell's summit , indicated by a trig point close to yet another junction in fencelines.

4. Return

Black Hope

Black Hope

From Hart Fell's summit, there are options of descent down into Black Hope and I've tried a few, the first two of those below are indicated by a dashed line on the map and it may be prudent to either of these if rivers are in spate as the main burns are crossed higher up.

You could return along Hart Fell's crest for 200m, then turn and descend towards Cold Grain. It's not as steep as you'd think and the grassy terrain is quite grippy.

Alternatively, from Hart Fell's summit, follow the fenceline south, then south-east to drop to a col , just before Falcon Craig. A faint path heads northwards from the col taking a gentle line to meet with the burn of Cold Grain.

Most recently, I continued over Falcon Craig to a break in the crags above Black Hope, from where a steep, grass-covered descent lead down into Black Hope, with the burn still fairly easy to cross.

All of the above options converge and follow an estate track south-eastwards through Black Hope to the roadside near Capplegill.

5. Alternative route from Megget

Returning to road by Talla Farm

Returning to road by Talla Farm

An alternative route is to approach from the Megget Stone to the north. This isn't quite as interesting or enjoyable as the route above, but if you'd been up Broad Law earlier in the day, you might want to save on driving and still bag some more peaks.

I started from the Megget Stone, headed down over wet grass and rush covered ground to pick up a fence-line and cross Talla Water. After following the fence-line up Molls Cleuch Dod, I then turned south-east and jogged to Firthybrig Head. Heading southwards and gradually turning south-west I found myself on Donald's Cleuch Head, from where I continued south to the junction of the fence-lines on Firthhope Rig .

A de-tour to White Coomb was followed by the route described above over Raven Craig and Hartfell Rig , then up to Hart Fell .

The return is a case of re-tracing footsteps without the detour to White Coomb ! However, after heading over Hartfell Rig , I opted to travel up Cape Law then dropped down to Games Hope Burn and followed its banks back to the roadside.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

GPX file(s) :
Download GPX
of route
Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

The map images above link to items on Amazon. A small commission is earned on any map purchased which helps fund the operating costs of this website.

Weather forecasts »

Alternative and nearby routes »

Broad Law and Dollar Law

A delightful route following fencelines which aid navigation over the undulating ground between Dollar Law and Broad Law.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 810m (2660ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 5:20hr

Tinto from Wiston and Thankerton

The most popular approach Tinto's summit is from the north and is also used for the line of the Tinto Hill Race. But a more quiet alternative is to aim up from Wiston to the south.

Peaks : 1 Graham

Ascent : 455m (1490ft)
Distance : 5km (3m)
Time : 2hr

Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and Windy Standard

A circular hillwalking route south of New Cumnock over gentle rolling hills above forests, farmland and wind farms.

Peaks : 1 Corbett plus 1 Graham

Ascent : 1250m (4100ft)
Distance : 24km (15m)
Time : 8:5hr

Culter Fell and Gathersnow Hill

The rolling Culter Hills lie in the Southern Uplands, just south of Biggar. The highest peaks are Culter Fell and Gathersnow Hill - vast heather and grass covered lumps. Navigation is fairly easy following well-maintained fences.

Peaks : 2 Grahams, 4 Donalds

Ascent : 960m (3150ft)
Distance : 19km (12m)
Time : 6:30hr


Contact me