walkhighlands

Read other users walk reports for the long distance trails - and add your own.

NB. This board is for reports on multi-day long distance routes - reports on simply long walks should be added to the standard boards.

The Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

The Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock


Postby andrewl7642 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:20 am

Route description: Southern Upland Way

Date walked: 26/07/2013

Time taken: 2

Distance: 45 km

Ascent: 1005m

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walked this 28 mile stretch back in July 2013, I wasn't going to bother writing a report but since I've found some spare time during working hours, I'll be glad to share it with you. :lol:

After a 7 day hike in May on the West Highland Way I thought it would be enough to see me through for a few months but that was not the case and after just a few weeks back in the chicken coop (office), I was eager to plot my next escape. Discussions were soon in place with my fellow trekkee and our next wee trek would be a section of the SUW, backpacking it over a weekend starting Friday 26 July.

I decided on the stretch from Sanquhar to Beattock via Wanlockhead due to the location and mileage that would be involved. My mate coming from Dumfries and myself heading down from Aberdeen, we would 'alight' at Sanquhar railway station. For many years I had passed Sanquhar station while travelling to Dumfries, always noticing the sign, "Alight here for the Southern Upland Way", so it just had to be done!

The plan was to wild camp by Wanlockhead on Friday evening, and spend Saturday night at Brattleburn Bothy, several miles from Beattock, before crawling into Beattock on the Sunday. We would enjoy a few Voddy's and play some tunes after reaching the bothy but unfortunately things never do go quite to plan...

Friday - Sanquhar to Wanlockhead
Distance: 8 miles
Ascent: 440 metres
http://www.southernuplandway.gov.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119&Itemid=322

So the weekend finally arrived, I was all geared up, caught my train and set off on my mini adventure, glad to see the back of the city for a while. The Weather was pretty decent for a change, sun shining brightly, though a little breezy. Arriving at Wanlockhead, my fellow trekkee was sitting at the platform waiting for me. We head to Spar for some supplies before heading for the hills, towards Wanlockhead.

Image
'Alighting' at Sanquhar station

Image
fellow trekkee

Image
Leaving Sanquhar behind ...and the calories

Once at the top of the hill we missed a waymarker which would have taken us directly across a field to Cogshead, instead, we ended up following a landrover track. It got us to Cogshead but with an extra 5 miles or so added onto the route! Never mind, we still had plenty of daylight left.

Image
Heading off on a track towards Wanlockhead, slightly off the SUW

Image
Following the long road to Cogshead after missing the waymarker, oops

Image
Cogshead area - the path we should have taken links up here. A forest which is mentioned on the WH route description is now gone.

Image
Always good to see one of these, especially after taking the wrong turning.

Image
Ruined Cottage just past Cogshead

Image

Image

Image

Image
moorland, across the southern slopes of Lowmill Knowe and the western slopes of Glengaber Hill, fine rolling hill country with excellent views.

Image

Image
rolling hills

Image
First views of Wanlock Water

It wasn't too long before we arrived at Wanlock Water, catching a glimpse of the old mine workings with some great views, finding our perfect wee camping spot by the river.

Once set up we explored the mine workings and enjoyed a few well deserved Beers before sun down, and got attacked by Midges of course. I was prepared though, High strength Deet spray kept em from biting too much.
I think it was the Beer they were after.

Image
Getting the tents up, the first use of my Vanga Banshee 200.

Image
Tent up successfully! That deserves a good old can of Kronenbourg.

Image
Trekkee happy with his tent

Image
Surrounding views of Wanlock Water

Image

Image

Image

Image
Someone here before us, don't know where they got the wood from but I wish they left us some.

Image
Looking back on the camping ground from the quarry

Image
What's left of the old Lead mining workings at the quarry

Image

Image

Image
more

Image
Sun begins to set over Wanlock Water

Image

Image

Image
No wood for a fire and so 2 Citronella Candles and a Citronella Incense stick will have to suffice to keep those damn midges away... but did they work?? Nope

Image
Sharing our hard earned Beers with the Midges

Image
Trying our damn hardest to repel those 'orrible bitey midges

Saturday - Wanlockhead to Brattleburn Bothy (I wish!)
Distance: 15 Miles
Total ascent: 990m
http://www.southernuplandway.gov.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=122&Itemid=323

It had stayed dry through the night and had been very peaceful, waking up about 8am I popped my head out the tent and was greeted by a solo backpacker. We had a quick chat, he was walking in the opposite direction heading back towards Sanquhar.

We got up and packed away our gear before a quick Coffee, then hit the road towards the village.

Image
Morning dawns

Image
Up bright and early and time for a quick Cuppa before heading on our way

Image
Nescafe 3-in-1, would never drink one at home but great for the outdoors.

Image
Time to head, waymarkers make it too easy.

Image
...and so it's off into the village of Wanlockhead

Image

Image
Past evidence of Lead mining

Image

Image

Image
Sheep roaming the village

Image
Sheep wanted to come along too but it was going to be too hilly

Image
Arriving at the village, the view from the highest pub in Scotland...

Image
Told you!

Image
Board at the Mining Museum & Tourist Info

We stopped outside the Visitor Center/Mining Museum/Tea rooms to use the facilities and stock up on supplies. Unfortunately the shop didn't open until 11am, reducing our chances of actually making it to the bothy before dark.
The time we finally got round to leaving Wanlockhead it was about half past 11, about 3 hours wasted.

We plodded on up a massive hill that felt like it was never going to end to reach the Radar station at 710 meters before heading into the Lowther Hills. Once into the Lowther Hills, it didn't end there as we were up and down like a rollercoaster for pretty much the rest of the day... and night! :shock:
Strenuous but great for calorie burning.

Image
Was not prepared for this!!

Image
Radar Station in the distance, oh what a climb it just went on and on

Image
Looking back down, what an achievement... but there's more... lots more!

Image
After a looooong hike to the top and about 500 calories less we finally made it to the top!! Or so we thought...

Image
Looking across the Lowther Hills

Image

Image
Still a long way to go but at least the weather is good :)

Image
Waymarkers kept us on the trail

Image
Windfarm in the distance

It was pretty much a rollercoaster ride throughout the day, over the hills and far away, up and down like a Yo-Yo, but some great views

Just as we thought the hill climbing was over, another one was right round the corner and the next one wasn't even a hill, more of a mountain in disguise!!

Image
evil steep hill

and so It was time for a break...

Image
Noodle time.

Image
random stream

Image
random roadside

Eventually we made it to Daer Reservoir, early evening and thought we must be nearly at that bothy by now, thinking we could see it at the other side of the reservoir but no... haha, no we were far from it...

Image
Crossing the damn at Daer Reservoir

Image
the damn

Image
boats in the reservoir

Image
road to nowhere

Past the reservoir it was more uphill, and it was just never ending. We stopped for a rest admiring the views of the reservoir, the sun had disappeared and the clouds were getting darker when suddenly a big RUMBLE. The weather had taken a turn for the worst, Thunder in the distance!

Image
Finally made it above the damn

Image

Image
... and no better time for a sleep zzzzz

Image
Exhausted!!

The rain came on, as we pushed ourselves up the hill ahead of the thunder, heading for the bothy, not realising it was still miles away. The thunder got closer and the rain continued to get worse.

We finally reached the top, (apparently 567 metres high) then descended to Greskine Forest but couldnt find the waymarker after that, and as it was beginning to get dark. we were f*!k!ng LOST! The rain was getting heavier, the sky was getting darker and Thunder was getting closer, so we had to just call it a day and pitch the tents in the first suitable place. We had to face it, we were not going to make it to the bothy, there wasn't going to be any hard earned rewards.

Tired and pee'd off, we headed back up to the top of the hill we had just descended from and pitched the tents in the farmers field, and just in the nick of time as the rain became torrential. It was now pitch dark and for the next hour we heard Thunder as we hid in our tents hoping not to get struck by lightning.

Torrential rain carried on right through the night, I was dehydrated and had no water, I had to swap my Snickers bar with Trekkee for half of his can of Lager just so I could have a drink! Luckily I managed to collect about a litre of rain water with the mess tin through the night which I purified in the morning and carried in a bottle.

Sunday - Greskine Forest - Beattock - Moffat

The next morning after a crappy sleep, we got up about 8am and packed away our soaking tents as it continued to rain. Our aim now was just to get back to civilization as soon as... but there was no quick route, we were still about 6-7 miles from Beattock and still lost! We descended back down to Greskine Forest to see if we could find the waymarker, and sure enough it was there!! Just hiding away behind the undergrowth, easier to see in daylight!
:(

We were no longer lost but due to the torrential rain, the paths in front of us had now turned into streams, marshes and bogs! New boots ruined. It was not a very pleasant walk into Beattock, but on the brighter side of things, we passed the bothy! ! :roll:

Once we made it to Beattock we walked an extra mile into Moffat and got picked up at the garage.

Image
Reaching the outskirts of Beattock, the only photo that got taken on the Sunday due to the rain.

Overall it was an interesting adventure, one I will always remember but I think if I ever do the whole of the Southern Upland Way in the future, I'll be skipping this section.

We made a wise decision to go back up the hill and pitch the tents, otherwise we would of been walking for miles in the dark, in torrential rain trying to find that bothy. It would have turned into an absolute nightmare, we would probably have ended up pitching the tents on low ground and being water logged in the morning. If we had only left Wanlockhead 2 hours earlier we could have made it, but you live, you learn, as they say.

gallery here - https://get.google.com/albumarchive/100408387173570597610/album/AF1QipOxk3BVrnWMK53zszVDBFQ8sTXVqC_nUuD3bFmM?authKey=CJfDwdbw9rHiOw

Hope you enjoyed my report.
Last edited by andrewl7642 on Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
andrewl7642
Backpacker
 
Posts: 194
Munros:16   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Mar 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

Postby LDPWalker » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:15 pm

andrewl7642

Thanks for that report, I enjoyed it a lot, as it reminded me of when I walked the SUW a few years ago. You are right, the section from Wanlockhead to Daer and beyond seems to go on forever, endless tough ups and downs. I did the whole 28 miles in one day (I was B&B'ing, so I simply had to get to Beattock). I arrived exhausted at the guest house at about 8.30 PM, and they were wondering if I was going to make it at all! The Brattleburn bothy is very well hidden in the forest, so I can believe you couldn't find it. Great pictures.
User avatar
LDPWalker
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 126
Munros:282   Corbetts:33
Grahams:10   Donalds:18
Sub 2000:11   Hewitts:72
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Feb 24, 2011
Location: Hitchin, Hertfordshire

Re: Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

Postby andrewl7642 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:25 pm

Thanks LPDWalker,

Glad you enjoyed it, it takes me hours to write up a report properly :lol:

We were miles from the bothy but even if we had been close we would have missed it alright. :?

I'm thinking I might complete the whole of the SUW later this year if I get the chance.
User avatar
andrewl7642
Backpacker
 
Posts: 194
Munros:16   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Mar 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

Postby sparkrc » Tue May 20, 2014 4:16 am

Great report , myself and my girlfriend start the whole walk this Friday hopefully completing it in 2 weeks, we did the cape wrath trail last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, would recommend it to you . But thanks again for your report and photos, most helpful ,hopefully we will find the bothy as that is one of our overnight camping spots .
Cheers
sparkrc
Walker
 
Posts: 4
Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:63   
Joined: Apr 28, 2013
Location: county Durham

Re: Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

Postby andrewl7642 » Tue May 20, 2014 9:40 pm

Thanks Sparkrc,

I actually went back to the Southern Uplands last weekend and completed the first two stages from Portpatrick to Bargrennan. I will be uploading my report in the next couple of days. Stayed at Beehive Bothy.

I feel the route is too long to complete in a one-er so just doing stages over weekends when I get the chance.

Planning to do Cape Wrath next year but due to the location I will be doing that in a one-er, that's if I manage it as the longest I have lived outdoors is 7 days last year on the West Highland Way.

good luck.
User avatar
andrewl7642
Backpacker
 
Posts: 194
Munros:16   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Mar 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeen

Re: Southern Upland Way - Sanquhar to Beattock

Postby sparkrc » Thu May 22, 2014 10:54 pm

Excellent .... if you want any info on CWT let me know . We loved it . Best adventure yet . We start SUW tomorrow so will miss out on your report of beehive . Thats day 2 for us after an over it in Stranraer........
sparkrc
Walker
 
Posts: 4
Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:63   
Joined: Apr 28, 2013
Location: county Durham

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Return to Long Distance routes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information on the forum and in walk reports is provided by individual users. It is each walker's responsibility to check information and navigate using a map and compass.