The South of Scotland is a wonderful part of the UK, and we've previously published guides about both the Galloway Forest Park and the Southern Upland Way which have been very popular. But not many people realise that this part of the UK is one of the best places to spot Red Kites in the country.
Spotting a Red Kite is a dream for most birdwatchers, and to actually have the chance to see one in real life would be considered to be a very rare and special moment. In Scotland between 2001 and 2005, around 100 Red Kites were released into the wild at Bellymack Hill Farm, and the area around the farm has since been one of the best places in the UK to spot the birds. A useful trail called the Galloway Kite Trail outlines where to stop in the area for the best chance to spot a Kite, and includes a number of viewpoints which have been specially designed to give you the best chance of seeing them. We wanted to publish a guide about this trail for anyone planning to follow it in 2023, let's get into it:
Where does the Galloway Kite Trail start and end?
The trail is 24 miles in length and is typically followed anticlockwise around Loch Ken. You can start and finish from any point along the trail and it is quite flexible, but we find people tend to start at Barstobrick Visitors Centre and finish at the Mossdale Walk section. Cycling is typically the recommended way to follow the trail as the route is fairly flat, and there are cycle racks along the trail too, but walkers and families taking a gentle stroll are also welcome.
What sections are there to stop at?
Barstobrick Visitors Centre & Neilson’s Monument
Bellymack Hill Farm kite feeding station
Each viewing area has its own unique features and is worthy of a separate section to go into more detail about why you might like to stop there, here is a breakdown of each viewing area: