About Christopher

So I jacked in my job, and I am off travelling - don't know where, don't know for how long. Follow my footsteps, check out where I am...

Day 8 – St Mary’s Loch to Galashiels

I half opened my eyes, and focused concentration on my hearing – no rain, excellent! The forecast suggested once it started it would be set in for the day, hopefully it has not made its way this far north… As I stepped out of the Inn it started to rain – soft, wet rain, the sort that really soaks in.

Looking back to the Loch of the Lowes on the start of day 8 Shinglehook by Matt Baker on the shore of St Mary's Loch

The first bit of walking was really easy along the edge of the loch, and half way along and I was soon passing an interesting sculpture – Shinglehook.

Shinglehook by Matt Baker on the shore of St Mary's Loch Ruined tower near Dryhope

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Day 7 – Moffat to St Mary’s Loch

I decided not to use the main road to get back on the Southern Upland Way, and took the alternate route out of town using minor roads. It was then a long slow walk up hill into the forest. At the gate a notice warned if forestry operations were being undertaken to use the high level route – thankfully they did not.

Heading out of Moffat Dale on the start of day 7 Cleared forest in the valley below Gateshaw Rig

The clouds that looked threatening overhead had thankfully continued on their way, as I had headed in the other direction, it was good to see the sky was brightening up. While I continued along the lower route it did not mean that it did not head up hill, and it had taken some time to reach the far edge of the forest.

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Day 6 – Wanlockhead to Moffat

I was glad I was starting from Britain’s highest village, but there were still some long climbs today that would take me over the highest point on the walk on a day that was almost 25 miles long. Thankfully it was cool and cloudy as I started out from Wanlockhead, really good walking weather, though it was not to last with some early rain and then heavier showers in the afternoon.

The 'Golf Ball' radar station on top of Lowther Hill (the highest point on the Southern Upland Way) in the mist at the start of day 6 The view East from the mist on top of Lowther Hill (the Southern Upland Way's highest point)

The first objective was to make it to the ‘Golf Ball’ radar station at the top of Lowther Hill (the highest point on the walk at 725 metres), but as I made my way over the first ridge it was nowhere to be seen, shrouded in low cloud which was clinging to the tops of the hills on the route ahead.

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Day 5 – Sanquhar to Wanlockhead

It was thinking about the 7.5 miles to do today that got me through yesterday’s mammoth 28 mile stage, though even after a good rest overnight my legs probably never actually stopped moving as I slept. My wish for a late breakfast almost backfired by a power cut, though it came back just in time as I tucked into the large bowl of porridge I had been given to keep me occupied.

Sanquhar Castle The oldest Post Office in Britain

After a quick trip to the ruins of Sanquhar Castle (unfortunately surrounded by a high fence with signs warning of dangerous building, though it hardly seemed fair to cage it in) and Britain’s oldest Post Office (which is still operational), it was just after 11am before I really got going and headed out of town.

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Day 4 – Dalry to Sanquhar

I knew it was going to be a long day of walking, but perhaps I had not appreciated just how long it would be crossing the range of hills that stretched out ahead of me today. It was Sunday and while everyone else seemed to be having a lazy start to the day I wanted to be up and out as soon as possible – though 9 o’clock drifted by before I was heading uphill out of the village.

Heading out of Dalry at the start of day 4 Moorland to the North of Dalry

Whereas yesterday was long it was dominated by long stretches of tarmac or forest roads – today those easy walking sections were few and far between, and moorland was the order of the day.

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Day 3 – Bargrennan to Dalry

As I sat and ate breakfast the first shower of rain started – and while I knew I had over 25 miles to cover the prompt start I had tried to plan the previous evening was being fritted away as I faffed around getting ready…

The Water of Trool, near the beginning of day 3 The Martyr's Tomb near Loch Trool Walking in the woodland along the southern side of Loch Trool

Due to previous forestry operations the official route headed south out of the village for quite a way before following the Water of Trool river towards the loch. With the rain descending I decided to head north to follow the road to the Glentrool visitor centre (hoping the café would be open – it was not, I was too early) before heading down to the Water of Trool and picking up the official route.

After a little while, with glimpses of the river, I was close to the Martyr’s Tomb and rested a while in the shelter of the trees. The tomb is in memory of 6 martyrs who suffered at this spot for their attachment to the covenanted cause in Scotland in 1685.

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