Descending 200ft into the Moffat Valley, Grey Mare’s Tail is one of Scotland’s most spectacular waterfalls. For a real sense of its scale, take a walk up the hillside to find the hidden Loch Skeen at the top, the Dumfriesshire scenery is something rather special.
Grey Mares Tail, Moffat
The Grey Mare’s Tail and Nature Reserve is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is 10 miles north of Moffat (and the M74 motorway) along the winding Moffat Water. There is a large car park (£2 or free for NTS members) at the bottom of the reserve, with a small visitor centre. From the car park you have two options: if you just have 15 minutes there is a short walk to the base of the waterfall, but if you have a couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend crossing the Tail Burn over the bridge and heading up the hill.
You can see how the waterfall got its name!
At first the path is steep with vertiginous views of the waterfall – for scale, you can just see the path to the falls to the bottom left of the photo above. After about 15 minutes of climbing the path levels out and you will find yourself meandering through a beautiful glen hidden above the hanging valley over which the waterfall flows.
Climbing up the valley you can’t see the loch until you are standing on its banks. The loch is the largest in the Southern Uplands, and is surrounded by mountains, White Coomb to your left is a Corbett and Mid Craig and Lochcraig Head are all over 2000 ft. We made a promise to come back and climb them someday.
The Nature Reserve is home to a huge variety of wildlife; you might spot ospreys, peregrine falcons and ravens. We had to be content with darting Skylarks shouting and squawking at us as we passed by. This one was being particularly cheeky, giving me the beady eye whilst posing for photos.
The most famous residents in the reserve are a herd of wild mountain goats. We were lucky to find them down by the river – they pop out from behind rocks when you least expect it. I jumped a few times I must admit. This one kept sneaking up on me, I swear! It looks just like it’s wearing make up. So pretty.
I think this pair were my favourites. Hanging out, just chilling out by the river. You can’t help falling in love with the cuteness of the tiny kids.
With no one else in sight, the sound of the trickling water flowing off down the hillside and the light changing across the mountains and sky overhead, I think Loch Skeen is now one of my favourite places in Scotland. It is a beautiful place. I think I’d be rather happy being a mountain goat and living here… wouldn’t you?
Love from, Scotland x
Grey Mare’s Tail Walk
We walked up to Loch Skeen from Grey Mare’s Tail, which is around 2.75 miles, with an ascent of just under 300m. The first section is steep and there is a deep ravine, so watch out if you are scared of heights! It took us an hour and a half, but we were walking pretty fast, so I’d leave a good two hours.