Grey Mare’s Tail and Loch Skeen – wild swimming

A Beautifully sheltered location, remote but no issues getting parked, great path that goes all the way to the loch and it’s at a good elevation for lots of fresh air. What more could you ask for?


Click to open in OS Maps

Grey Mare’s tail is roughly 16Km from the village of Moffat. If you drive into the village off the M74 (J15) then you will see signs for the waterfall which lead you along the A708. Essentially just keep driving along and you can’t miss it. There is a big enough sign and car park, which is owned by the NTS. So there is a small fee to park, which is obviously used to help maintain the path.

Time to walk and conditions

As you can see from the previous photo, the path (certainly on the main part going uphill anyway) is a well constructed and makes getting up as easy as possible. You start of at around 240m and by the time you reach the start of the loch it’s about 510m and most of the elevation gain is at the very start of the walk. The distance from the car park to the loch is close to 2.15Km (you return the same way), so all in around 4.3Km.

When you do get past the main climb, the path is still firm under foot, a couple of places care needs to be taken – but nothing to put off an able bodied walker.

Path is well maintained even further up towards the loch

You’ll pass more mini waterwalls on the way after the main larger ones at the start. All rather spectacular!

The Loch

So what to expect from Loch Skeen? First thing I was amazed at was the way it opened up visually as you approached it, with a cool we single tree on a tiny island in the middle of the loch.

If you follow the path, then in terms of the below photo you’ll end up on the far right and the bit of land sticking out into the loch. Wasn’t the ideal spot at the time for a wild swim so looking around, the other side looked pretty sheltered and with a good spot to walk into the water from.

So back the to Loch ‘exit’ point, then you have to cross over. Simple enough providing you’re fine with walking through the stream.

Crossing over to get a better swim spot

Get in and enjoy

All that’s left to do is to get in and enjoy the water. Temperature was around 12 degrees – this was on the 9th of Oct. So in terms of warmth pretty good.

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