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Thread: Southern Upland Way

  1. #41
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Kate - The SUW comes down a minor road to the Old Brig Inn at Beattock, which as Rob says is closed at the moment. There is a B&B at the farm next door. There is also some monumental earth-moving going on across the road, which made the whole place rather dusty in July. Beattock has recently regained a pub, with the opening of The Old Stables, so don't imagine you have to walk off-route into Moffat for a meal and drink. The route leaves Beattock on a short riverside walk, then follows another minor road past a guest house at Barnhill Springs. After crossing a little hill and following another road and riverside path, the route follows a lengthy track up into a forest, where there's a little-known B&B at Craigbeck Hope.

    As far as I know, there's no intention to divert the route into Moffat, and I was speaking recently with someone working on a guidebook to the route who knows of no major changes that are planned. At the end of the day, Moffat is only 1½ miles off-route and there are four roads leading off the SUW that will get you there in that sort of distance.

  2. #42
    Widdler
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    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. This route proposal totally bypasses Beattock so you go straight into Moffat from Holmshaw Farm to stay the night. You would then follow the road South out of Moffat to pick up the SUW again when it crosses the minor road, just before Dumcrieff (16.5 km in total).

    Have just measured it and if instead you travel from Holmshaw down into Beattock then to above point total distance is 17.5 km, so it is in fact 1 km longer.

    Ok so no big deal but I think Moffat's got a lot more going for it than Beattock and I'd rather stay there. So back to my original question Does anyone know if any inroads have been made on a re-route from above Beattock going straight into Moffat?

  3. #43
    Widdler
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    My message got posted just after Paddy's and he has answered my question. Many thanks to him and Rob

  4. #44
    Widdler
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    SUW'ed by bike,which it seemed a perfect route for, what with all the road and forestry.
    If you're on foot I can only agree that the closed Old Brig is a trial although Beattock's other pub is open half a mile south.
    I was VERY let down at the publessness of Cockburnspath after the grand inebriationary send-off possible at t'other end. As things now stand a better finish is needed:at least Pease Bay HAS THE SEA as well as a sort of pub.

  5. #45
    Goon
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    Obviously nothing has changed at Cockburnspath since I started this thread in March 2004........something really needs to be done to make the place more walker friendly, anybody got any ideas how to go about it?

  6. #46
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Well... the demise of the pub obviously stings for most folk. There's a shop in the village, but B&B is a bit hit-and-miss at the moment. However, in desperation there are regular buses up and down the coast operated by Perrymans, so there's no need to get stuck there.

    On the heritage front... I really like the square in the middle of the village, and the ancient church obviously served as a miniature castle in times of strife.

    I guess no-one will be in much of a hurry to provide a pub and a choice of accommodation while numbers completing the SUW are so low, and most traffic by-passes the village, so there's little passing trade otherwise.

  7. #47
    Widdler Rob Steele's Avatar
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    Yes, I was also Shocked (To put it mildly !!) when I finished the "Way" to find that the pub had closed !! However when the Friendly Farmer at Linhead Farm where we were staying offered to run us down to the Caravan Park at Pease Bay we felt a lot happier !! OK -- It isn't the ideal venue for a celebratory drink (or 6) But it did serve the purpose and the food wasn't bad !! In fact I didn't even notice the hill on my walk back into Cockburnspath at the end of the evening ;-).
    Whilst walking the "Way" I was Very Surprised at the lack of people following the route, Why do you all think that the numbers are so low ?? I Personally thought that The Southern Upland Way compared Very Favourably with Wainright's Coat to Coast in England and Offa's Dyke in Wales and it was almost as good as The Irish Coast to Coast.
    Accommodation and food prices are a lot less expensive than on other routes, The path is well marked and fairly well maintained, The route goes over varied and interesting terrain. People I met on the way were very friendly.
    All in All I found My "The Southern Upland Way" Experience to be a gratifying one. I have written up a full account at V.T. Scotland page If you are interested and want to take a look.
    So my question is why are so few people walking the route ?
    Could it be because of the negative publicity -- i.e. by giving the impression that the route is only for very Fit and Experienced Hill Walkers (Which I wouldn't consider myself as) is putting people off ??
    Or is there another explanation that I have missed ?? -- it will be interesting to find out other peoples views on the subject.
    Thanks
    All the Best -- Rob

  8. #48
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Rob - a lot comes down to public perception, and perception can be influenced with something as simple as a name. I honestly believe that if they'd called it the Scottish Coast to Coast Walk, instead of Southern Upland Way, there might well have been three times as many walkers!

    I agree that it's good value, since prices for goods and services are lower than on the other routes you mention. I also agree that marketing the route to 'fit and experienced' walkers is a bit over the top, since it's fairly straightforward throughout. Mind you, you need to know where the next shop, pub, bothy, campsite or B&B is located, since there are some very empty stretches without facilities.

  9. #49
    Widdler Rob Steele's Avatar
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    Yes Paddy, I agree with you 100%, Maybe if the people who are responsible for the running of The Southern Upland Way read forums like this and listened to the views of people like yourself then the route would gain in popularity and Maybe some brave soul might even re-open the pub at Cockburnspath -- Now that would be something to celebrate ;-)

  10. #50
    Übermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    I think Paddy is right about the name. Southern Upland Way just doesn't sound inspiring. I've also read many descriptions of it as boring due to too much forest and road walking. And before I walked it many people were surprised and asked why I was bothering with such a dull walk. None of them had walked it. They just "knew" it wasn't worth doing. Shifting that perception will be difficult.

    Interesting that this thread is now nearly 2.5 years old and there are only 49 posts but it's still going. There seems to be a small group of SUW afficiandos!

  11. #51
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Halfway through my own recent traverse of the SUW, I came across two other walkers sampling three days of the route. They were very happy with it, but a colleague of theirs had told them it was 'boring and all forested'. Questioning them, I discovered that their colleague hadn't actually walked the route, and his comment was something he'd heard from someone else. I guess someone was flinging mud in the past and the mud has stuck. So, we end up with two kinds of people...

    SUW afficionados - those who have actually walked the route.

    SUW bad-mouthers - those who haven't actually walked the route.

  12. #52
    Widdler
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    Have just looked at SUW accommodation guide and see that Wanlockhead Inn has a mention. However from past experience the guide is not always the most accurate. Has this place re-opened and if so has anyone been in it? Does it do food, etc.? I note from accomm guide that it is only open Wed, Thurs, Fri: 2 - 11.30pm
    Sat, Sun: 12.30pm - 1am (Closed Mon and Tues) so it is possible taht passers-by may have passed by outwith these hours.

  13. #53
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    The Wanlockhead Inn has a bunkhouse, or similar attached, IIRC, Jo and Alan stayed there.

    I had burger and chips there, and a pint of something cold and nice for lunch.

    My clip from that day

    There's an email address here, you might want to try.

    When you planning on doing the walk? Hopefully they'll have restocked the quists by then.

  14. #54
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    How many 'merks' did you manage to find Duncan? A couple of them are very well hidden and one of them (number 4) is a bit of a hike off-route.

  15. #55
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    We are walking Sanquhar to Wanlockhead on Saturday. Has anyone walked this recently and if so what state was the path in?

    PS we've collected all the merks between Portpatrick and Sanquhar and have never had any problems finding them. We get quite excited when we see the word 'Ultreia' - sad really!

  16. #56
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Someone nicked the 'Ultreia' band off the marker post between Blackhouse and Traquair, but at least the two screw-holes gave away the fact that a kist was nearby.

  17. #57
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    Kate - no probs with the path. The video has photos of the day there.

    The walk into Wanlockhead zigs and zags rather than following the road all the way up. Sanquhar was nice, and the track was good. Don't recall any issues. Watch for the seats outside town as they weren't that well secured.

  18. #58
    Übermensch Cruxster Man's Avatar
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    Kate, this time last year jo and i walked the section your planning. Path seemed very robust and clearly trod.

  19. #59
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    Paddy, I didn't get 1, 3, 4 (aye, I heard that 4 was well-hidden). I wasn't aware of the plates with "Ultreia" on them, I was looking on the ground at the beginning.

    Got 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13

    Empty 9, 10, 11.

    Aye, I'd noticed that with nr 9 - a great wee kist. Reminded me of a game of AD&D.

  20. #60
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Well - not a bad old haul if you didn't know about the 'Ultreia' markers. Shame number 11 was empty, coz that's a really nice merk. Number 12 was my least favourite merk - a three-bladed wind turbine motif! I wouldn't have found number 4 if an American couple hadn't tipped me off in advance. They were on a 3000 mile walk from the Mediterranean to the west coast of Ireland! Kist number 4 was made by a basket maker, so the clue is an osier arch, leading into a forest glade, where a cairn contains a wicker basket that's completely rotted away. In the time it took me to extract one merk, I was brutally savaged by midges!

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