The Southern Upland Way is a 212-mile coast-to-coast walk in Scotland between Portpatrick in the west, and Cockburnspath in the east. The route officially opened in 1984.
Since 2013 my friend and I have been slowly completing the long distance trail in small stages each year (wild camping en-route) and have now passed the halfway mark.
We returned in June 2016 to continue from Beattock. The plan was to walk as far as Traquair (35 miles) but due to a boozy night by St Marys loch and bad weather, we just called it a day.
We have now walked all the distances involved between Portpatrick and St. Mary's loch over the span of 4 years. I have also decided that it is taking far too long to complete, therefore, this year I'll not be continuing the trail... I'll be starting all over again FROM THE BEGINNING!!
I am going to attempt walking the whole of the Southern Upland Way, start to finish over approx. 2 weeks and record a video diary for my Youtube channel (headforthehills).
Getting back to this trip, we got dropped off at Beattock on Friday afternoon and walked 10 miles to Over Phawhope bothy. We had hoped to get the bothy to ourselves but unfortunately it's a very popular place due to the open access forestry road, so cars just tend to roll on in. We arrived to find 3 cars parked up beside the bothy with two families inside and a bonfire going outside. We were not too happy about it but at the end of the day, bothy's are open to everyone on a first come, first served basis so sometimes you just have to accept it, which we did.
So the tents got erected next to the barn which was used to shelter from the evil hoard of midges that we encountered. We ate in there and enjoyed a few Friday night Beers which we'd carried all the way from Beattock.
In the morning after the others left we had a quick look in the bothy before setting off on the trail to St Mary's loch. There was a lot of road walking involved then a couple of big hills but we finally made it to St Mary's loch in good time to enjoy the party. A busy place it was, with quite a few boozy groups of wild campers dotted about, a little unexpected but it was a great atmosphere and everyone was sound as a pound. It turned out to be a grand and very enjoyable evening (and it stayed dry!).
On the Sunday the original plan was to walk the next stage to Traquair but due to the excessive consumption of Alcohol and bad weather it has been postponed until next time... probably until I make the video diary.
I made a two part video during the walk which can be viewed below:
PART 1 - BEATTOCK TO OVER PHAWHOPE BOTHY (10 MILES)
PART 2 - OVER PHAWHOPE BOTHY TO ST MARY'S LOCH (12 MILES)