The Andy Goldsworthy Striding Arches - Hill Walks
Distance: from a short uphill walk to 6 miles to 9 miles depending on which walk is taken.
Walking on: road, forest paths, moorland, grass, beaten earth - can be muddy at certain times of year.
Starting point: Cairnhead
The Striding Arches at Cairnhead are signposted from the centre of the village of Moniaive (for more details see "How to Get Here" below).
The first Andy Goldsworthy Striding Arch to be found is just up the hill from the car park at Cairnhead. It is built into a Byre. This one is very easy to get to and still allows for a view of some stunning scenery and views down the glen.
This first walk is suitable for children and a before or after stop can be be made at a picnic spot just of the road near Bail Hill - a wonderfully peaceful spot with a lot of opportunities for stone in water throwing!
The other Striding Arches are a bit more of a walk ... the second nearest arch to the Cairnhead car park is on Colt Hill. This is a 6 mile round walk and is strenuous and uphill on road and hill terrain.
Another arch can be found on Benbrack via a 9 mile round walk from the car park. This walk follows the Colt Hill walk to start with before turning off then joining part of the Southern Upland Way.
There is another arch to be found at the top of Bail Hill - but this is further down the valley (towards Moniaive) and there is no set path to it. A map and compass are required ....
All the hilltop arches have been built around the Glen perimeter and can be visited one after the other via a strenuous hike over rough terrain of approximately 10 miles. Again a map and compass are essential.
Look out for
Cairnhead is a working forest landscape and the glen is remote, beautiful and bursting with life. Though only 7 miles from Moniaive it feels a world away from anywhere ...
Moniaive has some great places to eat, drink and recuperate after any of the walks.
How to get here
Moniaive can be reached from several roads that turn off from the A76 (Dumfries - Kilmarnock).
Once on Moniaive High Street (the A702) you will find the sign to The Striding Arches near the High Street / Chapel Street crossroads and you will be directed to North Street. Just keep driving along this road for approximately 7 miles / 11 kilometres. It's a small, stoney one track road but it does eventually reach a car park at Cairnhead and you will pass through Dalwhat water valley - remote and beautiful.
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