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SUW - DAY 7 - Wanlockhead to Beattock - May 2017

SUW - DAY 7 - Wanlockhead to Beattock - May 2017

Postby bargee » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:35 pm

Route description: Southern Upland Way

Date walked: 12/05/2017

Time taken: 1 day

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 1000m

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Day 7 and passed halfway on this stage at 106 miles mark and its all down hill from here, another long day at 20 miles and probably the toughest with a high level crossing of Lowther hills including the highest point on the route then a long forestry track section to Daer reservoir, a moorland ridge to enter the forest then 6 miles through the forest on straight rides that had been blocked by blown down trees so wasn't a simple walk down forestry tracks to come out on a minor road that descended to Beattock.

Also again the day turned into very warm and not much shade, though the wind was getting up which kept me cooler up on the top of the hills.

Cath dropped me off at the other end of Wanlockhead from where i finished yesterday, so missed a half a mile out climbing through the village, but from the car it was straight up the side of Lowther hill heading for the Golf balls. i was a hard start but the bonus was starting high among the hills and up in the heather that the views were excellent.
The track soon joined the access road and followed that up the hill cutting the corners and walking up past the ski rope lift.
There is a memorial cross to an airman who crashed his Hurricane into the hillside here in 1941. and I collected the nearby geocache before climbing to the summit and deviating off the way to the left to collect another geocache before rejoining the way on the far side of the radar station and begin the decent and enjoy the excellent views northeastwards.
The summit of Lowther hill is the highest point at 725m on the Southern Upland way and in today's clear weather was a superb viewpoint.

Cath leaves me in Wanlockhead
ImageThe Golf ball on the summit of lowther hill 2 miles away just peaks over the slope
ImageView southwards over the lower Lowther hills
ImageLooking back to Wanlockhead

ImageThe path joins the access road for a while
ImageBefore leaving it to cut out the bends, looking back to Wanlockhead which is in the hollow
ImageIts getting closer
ImageHigher up the access road is crossed again
ImageThe final pull up to the summit is alongside a segregated skiing area complete with ski tow
ImageThe memorial to Sergeant George Stevenson RCAF who crashed his Hurricane in poor weather here in 1941
Imagelooking back down the climb from Wanlockhead
ImageBargee looking red faced, from either the effort, wind or sun at the summit

The high point was quickly left and headed down hill to then an excellent walk over moorland to climb over Cold Moss and Comb hill then an even steeper decent and ascent over Laght hill before descending gently into the pasture to reach the A702 at Overfingland, an excellent 5 miles from Wanlockhead, The last hundred metres was difficult as the ground was boggy and cattle had churned up the ground so ankle breaking holes which had to be taken carefully in the marsh grass.

I stopped at the top of the descent off Comb head to have my morning Bannana and was watching 4 red Kites circle on the thermals of the hills around me plus then another 4 Buzzards swooping further below me. Could have sat there for a long time it was so peaceful and I hadnt seen anybody else out on the hill this morning.

Image The route down off Lowther hill and climb Cold Moss and Comb head
ImageThe bottom of the drop and the path bears right to climb Cold Moss
ImageLooking back up to the golf ball already a mile away behind me with the higher summit of Green Lowther to the right
Image From the top of Cold Moss looking North down into the valley of Potrenick Burn
ImageThe ridge from Cold Moss to Comb head with Laght hill below plus in the far distance the first views of Dear reservoir
ImageThe steep decent off Comb head and then an equally sharp climb up Laght hill, glad i was walking this way and not climbing Comb head at the end of a long day from Beattock
ImageThat was steep
ImageGolf ball still there behind me
ImageOn Laght hill
ImageThe final bit of the decent to the A702. the way onwards is through the forest plantation seen ahead.

Imagereaching the road the remote A702

The next stage was halfa mile along the A702 beore crossing some sheep grazing and the Portrail water and follow a raised path through the forest before joining a forest access track that led out and of the trees and across the moorland. It was hard going on the gravel track after the lovely sift path over the hills ad the wind had droped so was very warm. eventually made it to Daer reservoir where the way now crosses the 1km long dam, Cath turned up here and we sat and had lunch together.

ImageLeaving the A702 and heading for the gap between the two hills
Imagecross the river via the footbridge though it was shallow enough to ford
Imageonto a raised path through the treesImageto come out of teh trees ona rough track into moorland, very warm now at around 11am

ImageThis rough track seemed to go on for a long while not getting anywhere fast, though i did chase this ewe and lamb along it for a good mile befre the ewe decided to head upwards
Imageon and on and on
Imagelooking back and Lowther hill still in sight some 6.5 miles away plus the long track on this section
Imagemade to the dam of Daer reservoir where i had my lunch stop. the route onwards is across the dam then up the ridge
Imagethen circling along the ridge to enter the forest in the centre
Imagethe big earth dam that holds back the waters of Daer Reservoir

So the next section was a moorland walk that feels like you walk a large circle to get to the point where you enter the forest and Daer reservoir and the dam is always in sight as is the golf ball.

Daer reservoir dam still in sight and the route has followed the ridge round to the right

turning the back on Lowther hill and dear reservoir and heading eastwards into the forest down a wide ride which appears to be formed for a Gas pipeline judging by the marker posts.

ImageImageImageImagelooking back across the forest, the route can be seen the wide gap in the forest
ImageI was getting tired now so fewer photos as i walked through the endless forest it seemed to go on for miles, but eventually came out onto this pasture before heading back in to eventually reach the crooked road and the last 2 miles to Beattock


Cath met me as I emerged from the forest onto the crooked road and offered to pick me up then but i was determined to finish the full stage and drop down to Beattock so dropped my bag with her and she drove on and I strode along the tarmac into this busy valley that includes the WCML and the M74.
I was very tired, I think the sunshine had taken it out of me and the long stages with no break. My knee was seizing up too. But over halfway now and the hard days were behind me, Still feeling great about my achievement so far with 7 days walking and 120 +miles.

A great stage and the crossing of the Lowther hills was the best section so far, if the whole route could be like that it would be amazing, but definitely a highlight.
Posts: 57
Munros:9   Corbetts:2
Fionas:2   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:77
Wainwrights:108   Islands:19
Joined: Feb 15, 2014
Location: Huddersfield, west yorks

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