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Thread: Southern Upland Way

  1. #21
    ‹bermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    It is not very difficult to find a more attractive long distance path than the PW!

  2. #22
    Goon
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    Still waiting for reports from intrepid lonely walkers?

  3. #23
    Widdler
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    Yes, I know, I know, coming soon..... really !

    By the way, the Pennine Way is a cracking walk

  4. #24
    Widdler Colin Fraser's Avatar
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    I seem to remember the barmaid at Tibbie Shiel's Inn saying she had hundreds of people passing through on the SUW each year. Mind you I may have had a drink or two by that point.

    Walked the SUW in Sept 03 when they were still doing the Waymerks thing (Did anyone else collect the waymerks?). I thought the concept was brilliant and added imensly to my enjoyment of the walk. For those who don't know, basically there were 12 hidden object such as pots, chests and carved stones each containing small merks (coins) with individual designs at each location. There were clues along the way to let you know you were close.

    Anyway, I met a few folks along the way. Never did catch up with the couple and their dog that started a day or so before me. Although had to laugh as I kept finding their entries in bothy books and even a B&B.

    Like others I've read comments good and bad about SUW. I guess different people are looking for different things. I really enjoyed walking the SUW and as Chris says there were only a few roads - but even these are remote enough to not detract from the surrounding you are walking through. I loved the subtle changes in scenery as I moved from west to east. Camped in some great spots and saw some wonderful sights.

    Last year I walked the Cape Wrath Trail which was amazing. About the same length as the SUW but more remote, more ascending, more mountains and much more demanding. If you found the SUW quiet.....

  5. #25
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Colin, I collected waymerks and have the ones I found on a bookshelf. I too thought the concept excellent and a great bonus to the walk.

  6. #26
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    I keep hearing about a possible major re-routing for part of the Southern Upland Way, though there's nothing about it on the 'official' website. Anyone know anything about plans to re-route? I can think of a couple of sections that are on roads or in forests where there are really great hills alongside.

    I'm not planning on walking the route again - at least for a while - but in the next few weeks I'll be walking the West Highland, Great Glen and Speyside Ways.

  7. #27
    Goon
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    I had a very similar experience to Colin, we were staying at the Tibbie Shiel Inn and whilst having meal in bar in the evening I was chatting to a couple and telling them how few people we had encountered so far on the way and how quiet it was when compared to say, the West Highland Way and the landlady chipped in and told me I was talking rubbish and that hundreds and hundreds did the walk each year and as everybody passes by Tibbie Shiel she knows what she is talking about...........so there.

    I, too, have a number of merks collected on the way. It was usually a main topic of conversation with any others we did meet and a disappointment if we failed to find any!

    I do hope they are going to re-route parts of the path - whilst I did enjoy the walk and there are large sections of it that are excellent, it is the long, long stretches of road, particularly the ones surrounded by lovely hills, that I remember first.

  8. #28
    Widdler
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    There are reportedly only 5000 people per year who walk all or part of the SUW, so this includes those who do it in a oner, day trips and short breaks. So the landlady in Tibbie Shiels is bound to get her fair share. Also in the summer Tibbie's is quite a popular place for people going out for a drive.

    Myself & hubbie have been biting bits off for the past few years at Easter Weekends & September Weekends. Did 18 miles Stroanpatrick to Sanquhar last Saturday, staying two nights in Dalry and using vehicle backup. Of course you have to pay for this luxury but it suits us to do this. I'm happier doing around 14 miles per day, but have had to stretch myself and without vehicle back up I'd never have got this far.

    I'd definitely welcome shorter stretches but the area doesn't really have the transport and accommodation infrastructure to support this. Witness set up on West Highland Way which has grown to have things like beehive accommodation. If the SUW had something similar or if some of the farms in the long stretches could be persuaded to open some rooms for B & B the SUW could really take off. Unfortunately it's a vicious circle because they won't do this unless they can get the business, and they won't get the business unless they do it!!

    We now have only 63 miles left to do between Sanquhar and Traquair, and intend to do this next May in a oner - we'll definitely be staying at Tibbie's! Our last night will be Traquair Arms Hotel in Innerleithen. Just got to work out the logistics of the rest first!

  9. #29
    Widdler
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    Read the first thread on the SUW

  10. #30
    Widdler
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    Sorry if I'm being thick but I don't understand the point you're trying to make.

  11. #31
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Alan has started a new thread to address some of the negative comments on this thread. I've added cross-coupling links. Just to confuse things further...

  12. #32
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but I just got home from walking the Southern Upland Way, and yes, it was hot!

    Those 'kists' full of 'merks' are still there, if anyone wants to collect them on their journey from coast to coast. There are 13, and I have all 13 of them, but some of them are very difficult to locate. See the Waymerks site for more details. By the way, the 'merk' maker has left Abbey St. Bathans for the mountains of Norfolk, so I don't know if anyone will be making any more!

    The route is exceptionally quiet, and I only met four other people walking it, and they were only out for a few days, not completing the whole distance. I doubt if I met four other people who were just out for a stroll. However, I also met the legendary McConvilles from Connecticut, who were walking the SUW as part of the 3,200 mile E2 from Nice on the Mediterranean to the west coast of Ireland. Amazing couple, who've racked up most trails you care to name, and as they'll be retiring next year, they hope to devote themselves to some 'serious' walking!

    Anyway, the Southern Upland Way is still a fine walk, improved in many places since I last followed it a dozen years ago, and it's just a pity that more walkers don't make use of it.

  13. #33
    Widdler
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    Glad to know you enjoyed the walk, Paddy, it brought back memories of my own trip in May last year, I probably saw the same number of walkers !

    It's a good walk, but I must admit I did find it was like a double album with too much filler, too many stretches of walking along forest tracks and minor roads.

  14. #34
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    I walked the route about a dozen years ago, and at that time a lot of the forests were reaching maturity. This time, I was pleased to see enormous swathes had been felled (and were still being felled) opening up extensive views that I was previously unaware of. Better still, replanting schemes were including plenty of deciduous trees, such as rowans, rather than regimented conifers. I also noticed that some stretches where I followed forest tracks in the past had now been diverted onto grassy paths, or taken along forest edges instead of through forests. I still think they should lose the road-walk through the Ettrick Valley, even though it is quite pleasant, but it seems a shame not to use those nearby hills instead.

    After hearing some horror stories about the way isolated bothies were being treated by roving gangs of wild boys, I was pleased to find that they were all clean, tidy and in good repair. The Over Phawhope Bothy is fully furnished and you could almost believe you'd stumbled into someone's private house!

    As for the "kists" full of "waymerks", I'm trying to find out if these will be topped up in future, or whether they'll simply be discontinued once all the "merks" have been taken. I wonder what a full set would bring on eBay, given that you have to walk 214 miles to get them all?

  15. #35
    Widdler Rob Steele's Avatar
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    Hi -- I also walked "The Southern Upland Way" in 2004, I found it to be an Excellent walk, I was really impressed how you were routed around all if not all of the towns and most of the villages en-route. I found the way-marking good, Most of the path was in a reasonable state, OK a bit muddy at times, Accommodation en-route was plentiful. The lynch-pin is Tibbie Shiels Inn and I booked this first then worked backwards and forwards from there !! -- I have written up a full account on my travel pages at http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/f8/ if you want to read my account of the walk -- and see a few pics too.
    The only adverse comment that I would make is that I think it is a bit of a victim of its own negative publicity -- i.e. -- you must be Very Fit, have exceptional map reading skills etc etc before you even contemplate this walk -- I wouldn't say I was that fit and I can obviously read a map but I would say Exceptionally well !! and I made it with neither problems with stamina or route finding problems
    Happy Travels
    Rob Steele

  16. #36
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    The waymarking is actually very good on the SUW, so careful mapreading is not as crucial as it might have been many years ago.

    I came across a couple of guys walking the route, who'd been discouraged by a colleague telling them that it was 'boring' and 'all forests'... neither of which is true. In fact, many of the forested bits are being clear-felled, and I noticed that replanting includes broadleaved species as well as conifers, so it's going to look even better in the future.

  17. #37
    Ultra King BigDug's Avatar
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    Have there been any changes to the route then Paddy? It was mentioned in some of the posts from last year.


  18. #38
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Well... since I walked the route about a dozen years previously, the only changes I noticed were fairly minor. However, they were all for the better. Examples included the abandoning of some stretches along forest tracks in favour of routes running alongside forests. On other parts, stretches along roads had been diverted away from roads, or at least routed alongside roads where the traffic couldn't get at you. I think there's plenty of room in the hills to take the route off the road through the Ettrick Valley, and that's about the only place where I could see the chance to make a significant improvement through re-routing.

  19. #39
    Widdler
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    Does anyone know if any inroads have been made on a re-route from above Beattock going straight into Moffat? This would shave a few miles off this stretch by bypassing Beattock.

    It is mentioned at following link but this has been stated on the site for several years now -http://www.southernuplandway.com/walk/routes_detail.asp?sectionid=9

  20. #40
    Widdler Rob Steele's Avatar
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    Two years ago the route came down off Beattock Hill on a minor road then turned left onto the old main road heading north out of Beattock (We stayed at an excellent B+B next door to "The Old Brig Inn -- Which last weekend I notice is now closed for renovations-- the Inn that is) and then off the road,under the M74 and then crossed fields to the south of Moffat, over a small hill then up Moffat Dale and eventually into the forests.
    To go into Moffat would actually add a mile or so.
    Hope that is of some help
    Rob Steele

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