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#60437 - 25/03/11 03:46 PM Southern Upland Way
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
After doing the Pennine Way last year I'm doing the Southern Upland Way this year. I'me almost booked up - but I am attempting the walk east to west, rather than west to east - and everyone I speak to says I am doing it the wrong way! Well,I live on the east coast so starting in the east and walking to the west makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyone on here done the Southern Upland Way? What were the highlights?

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#60459 - 26/03/11 03:15 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: West Lancs.
No, but Ive had the guidebook for ages and will get around to it one day. If I lived on the East Coast, I'd be tempted to do it the 'Normal' way so I'd be walking home rather than away from it.
Dave.

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#60627 - 06/04/11 01:45 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Slogger]
Janice & Rottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 30/06/05
Posts: 516
Loc: Coniston, Cumbria, UK
I did it quite a few years ago with my rott and absolutely adored this walk. It is much quieter than the PW or C2C. Highlights well...all of it, I loved it that much and really was so sorry to come to the end.

Enjoy !!
_________________________
Janice & Harlie(dog)

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#60638 - 07/04/11 09:05 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Janice & Rottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
That's lifted my spirits a little Janice! I have to say - there's very little published on the SUW isn't there?

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#60640 - 07/04/11 10:38 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
rogere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 15/12/04
Posts: 120
Loc: UK
Sentinel - I walked the SUW for the second time last autumn in 9 days and had splendid weather. It is a walk that changes in character at Beattock, about half way. The eastern section is considerably drier than the western section, as the extensive forestry sections in Galloway tend to get very waterlogged. If you do get much rain, you may find Beattock to Sanquhar and Sanquhar to Dalry quite a challenge! I hope you have waterproof boots... If the weather comes in, take care over Benbrack, as it would be very easy to get seriously lost up there. Luckily, the signposting is superb, with a marker post almost always appearing where you need one. You are unlikely to see anybody during the days, apart from in Glen Trool - it is a wonderfully peaceful, remote (and tough) walk. There are highlights all the way and trying to find the 12 lots of buried treasure kysts adds to the fun (there is a SUW leaflet about them, but I found only 3 lots!!). It is so good and peaceful that I am considering doing it again. Good luck.

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#60641 - 07/04/11 11:32 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: rogere]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
Thanks for that.

I'm taking my time and doing the walk in 14 days, including Beattock - Wanlockhead and Wanlockhead - Sanquar (which gives me an opportunity to visit the lead mining museum). Then the Sanquhar - Dalry - Bargrennan section is broken down into three days with a hotel in Dalry picking me / setting me down at Stroanpatrick and Clatteringshaws.

How long did it take you to do Portpatrick - Stranraer? I only ask because it's my last day and I need to book a train ticket from Stranraer. Would four hours be enough?

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#60645 - 07/04/11 02:46 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Sentinel
When are you going?
I'm considering an east-west attempt in the near future but not as speedy as rogere and maybe a day or two faster than you - got to fit it into spaces in the diary.
I walked the section from Melrose to Traquair en route to Edinburgh last year and was impressed by the waymarking and the path condition thereabouts - I don't expect the same everywhere!
Would be grateful for a sight of your schedule if convenient.
_________________________
Pete

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#60647 - 07/04/11 03:26 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
Hi Stottie - here is my route:

Cockburnspath Longformacus 17.5 miles
Longformacus Lauder 15 miles
Lauder Galashiels 15 miles
Galashiels Innerleithen 15 miles
Innerleithen Tibbie Shiels Inn 13 miles
Tibbie Shiels Inn Beattock 21 miles
Beattock Wanlockhead 19.7 miles
Wanlockhead Sanquhar 7.5 / 10 miles
Sanquhar Stroanpatrick 19 miles
Stroanpatrick Clatteringshaws 15 miles
Clatteringshaws Bargrennan 17 miles
Bargrennan New Luce 18.5 miles
New Luce Stranraer 16 miles
Stranraer Portpatrick 10 miles

NB:

The Lochinvar Hotel in St Johns Town of Dalry will pick you up and set you down at Stroanpatrick / Clatteringhsaws for no extra charge! I will also be getting a taxi between Longformacus and Duns for accommodation.

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#60648 - 07/04/11 03:38 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
Just a quick note to say that on some of the days at the beginning, I would rather do more miles, but it's the accommodation and location of towns / villages that restricts you.

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#60649 - 07/04/11 03:56 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
rogere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 15/12/04
Posts: 120
Loc: UK
Sentinel - you will easily do Stranraer to Portpatrick in 4 hours. I started there about 5 PM and got to Stranraer at about 7.30. I don't know how you got a taxi from Longformacus to Duns, I couldn't find any taxi operators in Duns, so I hitched it (there are usually loads of anglers coming down from the Watch Tower reservoir). The hotel in Duns advised me of a "secret" taxi operator to take me back up.

All this talk makes we want to do it again! You will have a great time.

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#60652 - 07/04/11 06:16 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: rogere]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
I've looked up some operators so that I'm ready when I get there. Or I'll hitch a lift......

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#60664 - 08/04/11 02:49 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Thanks for the itinerary and advice, Sentinel.
I had a nice B&B at Traquair a couple of years ago, and the owner gave me a lift to the big hotel at Innerleithen for an excellent evening meal. Hotel phoned for a taxi back to B&B. Might try to see Traquair House/Castle next time - looks impressive from the end of the drive. Must try to treat the walk as an exploration rather than a race against time, which is my default setting!
Hope your trip goes well.
_________________________
Pete

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#60666 - 08/04/11 03:26 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
As any real-ale fan will tell you, Traquair House is the location of Traquair Brewery and their distinctive bottles. Now, do I visit the previous day and spend an extra hour or two in bed sleeping off the happy effects, or do I visit the next day when I only have 13 miles to do.

Decisions, decisions.

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#60671 - 08/04/11 08:26 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Sentinel
Thanks for the "heads up" on Traquair House. I think that's made my mind up for me!
_________________________
Pete

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#61308 - 10/05/11 10:35 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Just back from SUW. When Sentinel posted his plan it made me want to have a go.

Started at the "wrong" end and walked for a week with the wind behind me and blessed with warm sunshine. From Wanlockhead to Portpatrick the wind swung round to more of a southerly, and there was a lot of rain. I'll have to go back if I want to actually see the high hills of the Galloway Forest, which seem well worth exploring in their own right.

Enjoyed the challenge. When walks like Pennine Way and SUW became officially established we talked a lot about "challenge" walks. I realise that one man's stroll is another man's challenge, and I enjoyed planning and doing the walk in my own way. I took it easy as far as St Mary's Loch, with plenty of time for visits to castles etc, then I pushed harder with most days of 20 miles or more, and that was my challenge.

Will write it up and post a link - might help those who suffer insomnia...zzzzzzzzzzz
_________________________
Pete

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#61316 - 11/05/11 02:55 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
I'll look forward to reading that Stottie.

Any hints - hard bits, awkward navigation, anything like that?

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#61318 - 11/05/11 05:53 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: West Lancs.
I'll look forward to that too. Ive had the guidebook for awhile and will do it one day. It is one I may consider in the Autumn.
Do you recommend the route and did you camp or B&B?
Dave.

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#61319 - 11/05/11 06:08 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Slogger]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
How does it compare with the Pennine Way?

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#61329 - 12/05/11 07:56 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Sentinel/Slogger
Answering your questions:-
Going east to west the two days I found hardest were (1) from Moffat to Wanlockhead which had most ascent, and (2) from Sanquhar to St John's Town of Dalry which had most miles. A lot of walkers split those days with help from B&B providers, and I can understand the sense of doing so.
Navigation using 1:50000 maps was easy. The eastern half was exceptionally well waymarked, whereas the western half would benefit from a few more marker posts here and there. The Way is not footworn everywhere, so you need your eyes open, and in poor visibility a compass bearing would help you even in low-level grassy pastures/meadows.
If I could change one thing about my route, I'd take the high level option over Croft Head and Gateshaw Rig east of Moffat, because the forest route is dull (the forest walking east of that point had been much more pleasant than anticipated). It's shown on pp124-5 of Alan Castle's guidebook, which I used to plan the route but didn't take because I wanted to keep packweight down.
I booked B&B throughout before starting. Most were very pleasant, and many were able to provide early breakfast (6am for full Scottish in one case, where the lady goes out at that time to help her daughter sort the morning papers). Although B&Bs aren't always where I'd have liked them, that was just part of the challenge to me, and had I been prepared to carry a sleeping bag etc I'd have made use of some of the bothies.
Would I recommend it? Yes, because it was nearly all new ground to me and because I wanted something that would test me, so it served my purpose. I like sorting out my own routes, and I was a bit frustrated by the convoluted route on my last day, but it took me round Stranraer very effectively and after twists and turns it delivered me onto a very nice coastal finish, just as good as the start, so it ended well.
How does it compare with Pennine Way? It doesn't have the "bang" of Kinder Scout at one end and the Cheviot at the other, both of which (in my view) are brilliant starts to a LDP. The section from the east coast to Galashiels is a little tame for me, but there are compensations in terms of historical interest if that's your thing. I'd prefer a route across the Lammermuirs, which of course you can plan using "Scottish Hill Tracks" to start/finish at Dunbar. There is no paving across the boggy bits, the worst of which are in the forest west of Beattock and between Bargrennan and New Luce, but what's a bit of wet sphagnum moss to us daft beggars???
_________________________
Pete

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#61359 - 12/05/11 07:22 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: West Lancs.
Thanks for that Pete, sounds good. Ive been sussing out camping spots using the guidebook and a 30 mile per day (Roughly) schedule. Do you think that is feasible?
Dave.

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#61369 - 12/05/11 10:28 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Slogger]
Stottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 21/02/07
Posts: 568
Loc: Derbyshire, England
Originally Posted By: Slogger
Thanks for that Pete, sounds good. Ive been sussing out camping spots using the guidebook and a 30 mile per day (Roughly) schedule. Do you think that is feasible?
Dave.


Yes, Dave, I do think it's feasible, mainly because the climbs are not too steep and long. You'll probably work out the relevance of the bothies from the guidebook, but if you want any hints on camping spots elsewhere just let me know a general area where you might camp and I'll see if my brain (or photo album) can offer any comments.
_________________________
Pete

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#61375 - 13/05/11 07:54 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Stottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
Stottie,

Many thanks for the reply - and so comprehensive as well! I look forward to reading your write-up as and when becomes available. To be honest, you've made me even more excited at the prospect of doing the SUW than I was when I booked it!

Did you find any of the merks / kists btw?

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#61950 - 20/06/11 01:27 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
flatlands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 496
Me and my mate are thinking of this walk for next year. My mate is going to complete all the National Trails.

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#61953 - 20/06/11 01:43 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: flatlands]
Slogger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: West Lancs.
He's going for Gold is he?
The fairly new National Trails register awards Bronze, Silver and Gold for completers that register, according to the number of routes done.
Gold is for completing all of them.
However the list keeps growing so Gold keeps getting further and further away.
Dave.

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#62021 - 24/06/11 01:37 PM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Sentinel]
Janice & Rottie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 30/06/05
Posts: 516
Loc: Coniston, Cumbria, UK
Oh I am so sorry Sentinel..it's a bummer isn't it when you have to cancel. I have done a fair bit of cancelling but usually because my dog hasn't been well enough, so I understand the dissappointment and frustration.

I hope you make a full recovery soon.
_________________________
Janice & Harlie(dog)

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#62078 - 28/06/11 11:07 AM Re: Southern Upland Way [Re: Janice & Rottie]
Sentinel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 27/08/09
Posts: 105
I'm hoping my knee will recover within the next 6-8 weeks which means I may be able to have a go at the SUW at the end of August / beginning of September. However, it will be to late to be able to guarantee a B&B for every night so I am thinking of doing it camping - and using a military style basha rather than a tent.

Anyone wild camped camped along the SUW? What was it like?

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