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SUW - Day 5 - Dalry to Sanquher -May 2017

SUW - Day 5 - Dalry to Sanquher -May 2017

Postby bargee » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:11 pm

Route description: Southern Upland Way

Date walked: 13/07/2017

Time taken: 1 day

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 880m

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Day 5 - Dalry to Sanquher was the aim, another stage of 26+ miles according o the guide book but after yesterdays excursions I had a getout early arrangement with Cath which I exercised and stopped the day short in Glen Pullmanach after 20 miles, aiming to add the remaining 6 miles onto the short stage tommorrow.
Whilst yesterday had been mainly on forest gravel tracks today was more on paths over rough moorland and sheep pasture and included the climb of Benbrack the highest point so far, so was glad of the option to finish short.

Cath dropped me off in Dalry at 8.30am and i headed up the high street passing schoolkids heading for the bus stop or local school and was soon joining a hedged track, finding a geocache i was passing, and heading up through pastureland with cattle for company.
A pleasant few miles through grassland with rocky crops and watched a farmer chase down a ewe and new born lamb on his quad bike after passing the farm at Ardoch the next stage was more difficult as the path disappeared and alot of the waymarking posts had fallen over, I tried to wedge them upright as i found them but i expect them to fall over again.
Crossing the moorland ended up on a minor road and a straight line to butterholes bridge, Signs up detailing a new power line to be built across here and how the contractors can access here. Thats the first 5 miles over and I stopped to have a break and a drink of water and eat my morning bannannanna.

ImageSt John's town of Dalry in the morning lightImagehedged path leading up and out of DalryImageI was of interest to the locals as i passedImageImageArdoch farm nestled in a hollowImageAm i heading for those hills in the distance?
Image meeting the minor roadImagean easy mile walking along the tarmac to butterholes bridge

From Butterholes bridge the way turns up onto the moorland by a huge mature tree to cross Culmark hill to the small cottage of the same name, I lost the path here due to fallen waymark posts and ended up walking through the cottage grounds and following the farm access track to where the way rejoins it. this leads down to the B729.
I was feelling a bit low and was nervous of the next stage as it led over two hills and there was no escape route. the day was very warm and i was already hot. so had a rest at the designated pick up point at Stroanpatrick. and then turned myback on the road and got my legs and sore feet moving and into my stride and headed up the track then onto the path skirting round the farm bulidings and out onto the moor.
The grassy path was unclear and after crossing two stiles I lost it so just followed the wall and after half a mile spoted the next marker post and enjoyed the gentle climb up through the sheep pasture heading for the ridge of Manquhill hill.

Imagethe way turns off the tarmac by the mature tree. the map marks some hut circles here and i winder if the tree used to grow next to a house or bothy here by the small river valley
ImageAnother welcome post showing the wayImageOn top of Culmark hill heading for Culmark farm. the next hill is Manquhill hill, which is the tree covered ridge on the rightImagecrossing stroanfreggan burn on the access road to Culmark.
Imagethe sheep pasture heading beyod stroanpatrick farm heading up Manquhill hill lost the route here but it goes up the left side of the wall aheadImageHigher now and looking back to stroanpatrick and culmark hill is the rise on the left
Imagethe narrow path the way takes through the long grass. not many people come this way
Imagethe route crosses a vehicle access track and continues it remote way through long grasss through a plantation before coming out onto the slopes of manquhill hill
ImageLots of mice or vole holes in the long grass, i would always catch a glimpse of smething dashing into them as i walked past, plenty of food for the raptors and owls here
ImageLooking back at the climb of the hill

From the top of Manquhill hill the next objective of Benbrack came into view the path was a straight line across the intervening moor and looked a steep climb from there. and I could see the striding arch on the summit. the climb was steep and i counted steps reaching 100 double seps before i could stop and catch my breath and look at the view, this way the climb was soon over. the summit was 12.5 miles into the 26 mile day, not even halfway of i was going to sanquher, Hats off to the walkers who do this stage with full pack and tent...

ImageBenbrak comes into view
Imagethe low spot between the two hills and a lovely lochan but benbrack is looming ahead
Imagelooking back whilst catching my breath halfway up Benbrack

Imagethe arch comes into viewImagemade it a.nd heres my hill face....... Image

Had a break and enjoyed the view sat on the stile and looked out on my route over today. onwards from here was a superb 2mile walk along the ridge , a second striding arch was on another hill, biut the way doesnt go there and drops into the forest, passing a monument to more martyrs before a walk down a narrow ride which was partially blocked by wind felled trees. Joining the forest track to end up by the bothy at Polskeoch. the photo in the guidebook shows a well appointed bothy with bookcases and furniture now its an empty room with just a sleeping board, sad to see.

Imagethe excellent ridge walk
Imagelooking back to the arch on the summit of Benbrack
Imagedownhill into the forest again
Imagethe second striding arch on the summit of Colt Hill
ImageSkirting the edge of the treesImagebefore heading in and dodging through blown down trees
ImageAllan's Cairn : A square stone, 5 ft high (using the old cairn as a foundation) was erected in 1857, marking the spot where George Allan and Margaret Gracie are buried. They were shot by dragoons as they fled from a conventicle at the Whig's Hole; so the stone pillar has been there for 160 years and it is far away from any village so to have travelled here to erect it showed a real commitment to the christian faith

Imagemore wind felled trees
Imageout of the trees and drops down to the forestry trackImage

17 miles done and i'm out on my feet. its hot and i'm sun burnt but only 3 miles along the valley to were I'd agreed to meet Cath as a get out, a last hour of walking,

Polkseach cottage, not the bothy which is back in the trees
ImageThe last mile, Cath was waiting just round the corner, I was really glad to see he and get into the car

This stage was a long way and after the previous 2 stages means i had covered 64 miles in 3 days and 86miles in 5 days, I think my body was rebelling a bit, especially as the weather had been so warm. I think i had reached my limit.
But the stage is superb and i really enjoyed the walking.
Posts: 57
Munros:9   Corbetts:2
Fionas:2   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:77
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Joined: Feb 15, 2014
Location: Huddersfield, west yorks

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