Location and Access
Blackcraig Hill, at 700m, is one of a number of energetic but technically easy hill walks in the vicinity of New Cumnock. One route onto the hill is to park 6km up the Glen Afton byway which leaves B741 just outside New Cumnock and follow the public footpath which leads past Blackcraig Farm house and over the north shoulder of the hill. Parking is limited beside the burn at the start of the path . Please park considerately. The summit of Blackcraig is characterised by broken rock and scree more reminiscent of the higher plateaux found in the Cairngorms.
The nearest public transport, bus and train, is at New Cumnock, a long walk but an easy cycle ride distance along the Glen Afton byway.
<Off-road tracks unsuitable for wheelchair users.
Easy ride from New Cumnock to the start: hill track would be fun!
Typical moorland birds can be seen and Peregrine is a real possibility but the plateau of Blackcraig Hill has become particularly well known as a good spot for Dotterel in early May. Luck and weather are major factors but this area is one of the attractive rest-ups for these migrants on passage. Golden Plover and Dunlin breed on the summit plateau Meadow Pipit are ubiquitous. Wheatear frequent the posts and rocky outcrops. In early winter flocks of Snow Bunting have been seen on the summit plateau.
Raptors include Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Short- eared Owl – a hot day could yield other raptors riding on thermals, easily seen when scanning the skyline from the head of the valley.