©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland


A rounded hill in Dumfries and Galloway, Criffel rises to 569m (1867 feet) 2 miles (3 km) south of New Abbey. The prominent Criffel ridge forms an elevated tract of land some 15 miles (24 km) in length and is composed of granite that has resisted weathering more readily than the surrounding rock. At its summit is a pile of stones called Douglas's Cairn, while nearby is an Ordnance Survey primary triangulation pillar installed in 1936 for the re-triangulation of Great Britain.

Geologically, Criffel represents one of four igneous complexes injected into the Silurian sedimentary rocks of SW Scotland around 400 million years ago. It is technically described as a granite-granodiorite zoned pluton. The surrounding greywackes have been metamorphosed by the heat of the granite. The other igneous complexes lie to the northwest at Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, Cairnsmore of Fleet and Loch Doon.

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