Rhinns of Kells

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Corserine and Carlin's Cairn from the trig point on Meaul.

The Rhinns of Kells are a range of hills in the Galloway Hills range, part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland. The most easterly of three parallel ridges, they are neighboured to the west by the Range of the Awful Hand and the Dungeon Hills. The eastern portion of the Minnigaff Hills range lies immediately southwest of the range. In total, these four ranges are part of the Galloway Forest Park. The ridge is located entirely within Dumfries and Galloway, with the base of the western flanks being a northwestern boundary of the county.

Although distant, the ridge is paralleled to the east by the A713 road. This road provides access to the majority of the starting points for walking the ridge. Most commonly, these are Garryhorn Farm (the turnoff a few hundred metres north of Carsphairn) and Forrest Estate (accessed much further south a few kilometres north of St. John's Town of Dalry). Unclassified roads, one of which follows the Southern Upland Way, and two others near Clatteringshaws Loch can be utilised, but are much less common due to the difficult terrain when ascending or descending from the south.[1] Due to the linear nature of the ridge, a full traverse will normally require two modes of transport positioned at either end if to be walked in a day. Shorter, circular rounds from Forrest Lodge are, as a result, more popular.[2] A bus service by Houston's Minicoaches runs from Dalmellington to Castle Douglas via Carsphairn and St. John's Town of Dalry multiple times a day.[3]

The Hills[edit]

The hills of the range are the second-highest of the Galloway Hills, with the highest hill, Corserine, reaching 814 m. The terrain is similar to that of the Range of the Awful Hand in that the walking is predominantly along flat grass with occasional boggy sections, however the drops to the west and east are high, steep and often craggy. The ridge south of Corserine, which is named the Rhinns of Kells on OS maps – ignoring the northern portion, is notably rougher.

From north to south (ignoring all satellite ridges other than Cairnsgarroch) the hills are:

The Southern Rhinns of Kells from W of St. John's Town of Dalry
Summit Height (m) Listing[4]
Cullendoch Hill 343 Tu,3[5]
Craigencolon 346 Tu,3[6]
Black Craig 528 Tu,5,DDew[7]
Knockower 511 Tu,5,DDew[8]
Coran of Portmark 623 Tu,Sim, D,GT,DN[9]
Bow 613 Tu,Sim,DT,GT,DN[10]
Cairnsgarroch 659 Hu,Tu,Sim,D,GT,DN,Y[11]
Meaul 695 Tu,Sim, D,GT,DN[12]
Carlin's Cairn 807 Tu,Sim,D,sHu,CT,DN[13]
Corserine 814 Ma,Hu,Tu,Sim, C, D,DN,Y[14]
Millfire 716 DT,sSim[15]
Milldown 738 Tu,Sim, D,sHu,GT,DN[16]
Meikle Millyea 748.64 Hu,Tu,Sim, D,GT,DN,Y[17]
Little Millyea 578 Tu,5,DDew[18]
Darrou c. 470 -


The range forms part of the Silver Flowe-Merrick Kells Biosphere Reserve, which incorporates a considerable portion of both ranges to the west and east, and is a Natura 2000 site.[19] The area is very popular with invertebrates and swarms of Odonata, Syrphidae and Lepidoptera during summer are common.[20] The main lochs attributed to the range are Loch Dungeon, Loch Minnoch and Loch Harrow, all on the east side and in close proximity. Loch Dungeon was known to historically contain Arctic Charr which died out due to acidification; Brown trout populations, however, survived and the water quality has improved.[21] There are currently ten Osprey pairs known to nest in Dumfries and Galloway; these lochs are a known feeding ground.[22][23] The Lochans of Auchniebut, north of Meikle Millyea and at approximately 650m, may be the highest permanent water bodies in the Southern Uplands.


'Rhinns' derives from the Old Irish rind, later Ulster Irish and Scottish Gaelic rinn, meaning 'promontory' or 'point'.[24] 'Kells' is a parish in the historic county of Stewartry of Kirkcudbright to the southeast of the range near New Galloway. Its name possibly derives from the Old Irish cell, later Irish and Scottish Gaelic cill, meaning 'church',[25] but may instead be in reference to its heightened elevation or, historically, wooded land.[26] Most of the hill names are of Scottish Gaelic or Scots origin, such as Meikle Millyea; (Scots: meikle - 'large') (Scottish Gaelic: meall liath - 'grey, round hill'), which translates fully to 'large, grey, round hill'.[27]


  1. ^ Turnbull R. (2019) Walking the Galloway Hills: 35 Wild Mountain Walks Including the Merrick. Cicerone: Kendal.
  2. ^ "Corserine and the Rhinns of Kells, Forrest Lodge". Walkhighlands. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  3. ^ bustimes.org. "520 - Dalmellington - Castle Douglas â€" Houstons Minicoaches â€"". Bustimes.org. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  4. ^ Chris Crocker. "Database of British and Irish Hills: user guide". Hills-database.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  5. ^ "Cullendoch Hill". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  6. ^ "Craigencolon". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  7. ^ "Black Craig". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  8. ^ "Knockower". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  9. ^ "Coran of Portmark [Corran of Portmark]". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  10. ^ "Bow". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  11. ^ "Cairnsgarroch". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  12. ^ "Meaul". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  13. ^ "Carlin's Cairn". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  14. ^ "Corserine". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  15. ^ "Millfire". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  16. ^ "Milldown". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  17. ^ "Meikle Millyea". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  18. ^ "Little Millyea". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  19. ^ "EUNIS -Site factsheet for Merrick Kells". Eunis.eea.europa.eu. 2019-04-22. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  20. ^ [[[Silver Flowe-Merrick Kells]] "Silver Flowe-Merrick Kells - Wikipedia"] Check |url= value (help). En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  21. ^ Galloway Fisheries Trust. "Return Charr To Loch Grannoch". Gallowayfisheriestrust.org. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  22. ^ "Ospreys". WWT. 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "rinn - Wiktionary". En.wiktionary.org. 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  25. ^ Blackie C (1887). A dictionary of place-names giving their derivations. Murray: London.
  26. ^ [[[Kells, Dumfries and Galloway]] "Kells, Dumfries and Galloway - Wikipedia"] Check |url= value (help). En.wikipedia.org. 2019-11-14. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  27. ^ [2][dead link]

Coordinates: 55°09′20″N 4°21′30″W / 55.15556°N 4.35833°W / 55.15556; -4.35833