From the car park, it’s just a short easy stroll to Bruce's Stone, which stands on a wonderful vantage point overlooking the shimmering waters of the loch to the rolling hills beyond. It commemorates Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, and the Battle of Trool in 1307.
It’s hard to imagine, looking at this peaceful landscape, that such a bitter battle took place here 700 years ago. From the site of the stone you would have seen the drama unfold, as English soldiers were ambushed as they walked along the far shore of Loch Trool. A bugle was sounded as the soldiers approach the Steps of Trool and Bruce’s men released a volley of stones onto the surprised troops. Those who turned to flee met heavily armed men behind them. Victory was swift and bloody. Robert the Bruce went on to win the Battle of Bannockburn near Stirling in 1314, securing independence for Scotland.
Wander through mature woods along the shore of Clatteringshaws Loch to the granite stone where Robert the Bruce is said to have rested. Great views of the Galloway Hills.
Firm gravel surface throughout with some loose stones. Includes short moderate slopes. Look out for vehicles sharing the track.
Allow ½ hour
Look out for woodland and waterside wildlife along the way. In summer, listen for the willow warbler’s rippling song as it hunts for insects amongst the leaves, and the distinctive three-note call of the common sandpiper (a brown and white bird with a long straight beak and a permanently bobbing tail!). You may also be lucky enough to spot our most spectacular summer visitor, the osprey, fishing on the loch.
The mighty Merrick, the highest mountain in the Southern Uplands, stands guard over Loch Trool. The views from the summit are stunning, but this is a serious hill route for well-prepared walkers. The summit is at 2,766 feet and is a round trip of 8 miles. The route is not waymarked, so you need to take a map and compass with you. You can find more details about the route at WalkHighlands.
National Cycle Route 7 follows the road along the north shore of Loch Trool and links Glentrool Visitor Centre with the other two visitor centres in the Forest Park. While you might pass the occasional car to the west, head east from Bruce's Stone Car Park for quiet, traffic-free cycling.
The Southern Upland Way runs along the south shore of Loch Trool. This is Britain's first official coast to coast long distance footpath, running 212 miles from Portpatrick on the Dumfries & Galloway coast to Cockburnspath on the North Sea between Edinburgh and Berwick on Tweed. It’s a dramatic and challenging route through the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands. Sample a scenic stretch from Glentrool to Loch Trool and see if you’re inspired to walk the rest.
Because it's so dark, the Forest Park is one of the best places in the world to enjoy the stars – which is why it has been designated a Dark Sky Park. On a clear night the stars are so bright that you don't need a telescope or even binoculars to enjoy them. You can find out more online at Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
The nearest public toilets (including accessible facilities) and café are 3 miles back along the road at Glentrool Visitor Centre.
The Bruce's Stone car park is on the north shore of Loch Trool.
Look for the turning signposted for 'Bruces Stone' just north of Glentrool Village - This road drives directly into the car park after 4 miles.
DG8 6SU is the nearest postcode.
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