Southern Uplands Way - Scotland

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Southern Uplands Way - Scotland

Postby Lindsay » Sun 22 Apr, 2012 11:52 pm

Next month we are off to visit our daughter in Denmark an the wifes rellies in Scotland. I have just been able to tweak our programme to allow me three nights walking on the Southern Uplands Way - New Luce to Sanquhar section. I've printed off some excellent maps from the UK Ordinance Survey site and set the GPS to the UK grid. I assume if I hold my compass upside down it will work well enough. :) It won't be a total wilderness experience - I plan to pass a pub at least once a day - but it is remote by UK standards and the weather can always turn round and bite you if you aren't careful. If I'm really lucky I may be able to spot a haggis in the wild.
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Re: Southern Uplands Way - Scotland

Postby Lindsay » Sat 23 Jun, 2012 8:30 am

The weather on our UK trip had been excellent - right up until the day I started my Southern Upland Way walk. Starting from the road intersection ouside New Luce at 0900 the weather was fine however rain clouds were developing on the horizon. A fairly steep uphill walk along a well marked track brought me out onto the moors with excellent views in every direction. As I was crossing this moorland section I cam across an old man repairing a drystone wall, all by himself in the middle of nowhere. We had a fascinating chat and I learned the basics about how to build a drystone wall. Moving on I continued over moorland paths and farm tracks toward Laggangarn standing stones, passing such places as the Caves of Kilhern chambered burial mounds and over and around exotically named hills such as Knockniehourie and The Glaster.

Leaving the open moors I entered a dense plantation forest and following a narrow and rough path after a few kilometres came to a clearing where the Beehive Bothy (hut) was located. stopped for an early lunch and then moved on to the Laggangarn stones. Originally in the in the open , they were now in a clearing surrounded by dense plantation forest. Shortly after this I had to divert due to logging operations and had a long, uninteresting hike down a logging road, dodging trucks and other vehicles. This was to become a regular feature of the walk. The rain began to fall quite heavily and I continued past loch Derry, along a minor road through the village of Knowe and into the plantation forest once more. Out of the forest and over Ochiltree hill and then through farmland to the village of Bargrennan at the entrance to Glen Trool.

Here I passed the House O Hill pub and decided to drop in for a beer before trying to find a spot in the forest to camp for the night. The landlady took a look at my sodden appearance and offered me a room for the night at a fairly cheap 45 pounds bed and breakfast. A look around the warm , dry bar and out the window at the cold rain and I was sold. 30 very wet kilometres in 9.5 hours made me feel I had earned it!

Day two dawned cold and wet, although the rain had eased to a fine drizzle. Started out at 0830 along a public road toward Loch Trool. Once at the loch there was a very good footpath along the side of the loch, passing the Glen Trool battlefield, where Robert the Bruce had defeated an English force in 1307. It was here I saw the only other walkers of the entire trip, two day walkers doing the Loch Trool circuit. After leaving the loch the path stated up through a pass in the Galloway hills toward Loch Dee. Some spectacular, brooding Scottish scenery here, You could almost see Wallace and Bruce leading their troops through the hills to attack the English. Apparently this pass was the setting for the chase scene in the John Buchan novel 'The 39 Steps'.

At this point I began to develop a blister and although I had only made 18k decided to stop early at White Laggan bothy, dry out and see to my feet. The bothy was a nice cosy stone hut, apparently well used by both walkers and, unfortunately, 4WD enthusaiasts who had left rubbish and empty bottles behind. Reading the log it seems the Mountain Bothies Association had recently been in and given the place a tidy up. Some of the comments about the drive in users were very colourful. Spent a lazy afternoon drying out by the fire and watching the rain. Began to reassess my intention to go all the way to Sanquhar and decided if the weather did not improve I would finish at Dalry the following day.

Set off early at 0600 in a fine drizzle for the 21ks to Dalry. More logging roads, plantation forest and some spectacular hilltops. There was some walking through natural woodlands that were a vast improvement on the dense plantation forests. Arived at Dalry at 1215 and had a beer in the Clachan Inn while I thought about whether to continue or not. The rain was still coming down, according to my map there were more logging roads and plantation forest to walk through on the way to Sanquhar and the barmaid mentioned the there was a bus due in 15 minutes. I decided to finish early.

A nice but somewhat disappointing walk given the long road and plantation forest sections. If the weather had been better I may have seen it differently. However my gear worked well and I relished the time outdoors and the solitude.

The attachment 358.JPG is no longer available
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Laggangarn Standing Stones
Attachments
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Pass above Loch Trool
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Clatteringshaws Loch
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White Laggan Bothy
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Inside the bothy
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Re: Southern Uplands Way - Scotland

Postby Onestepmore » Mon 08 Jul, 2013 8:03 pm

Stopping for beer in a warm cozy pub (with a fire presumably) is very appealing to me!
Glad you were able to squeeze in a few days' walking on your trip
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