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.

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.

I finally reached the bottom of the crags of Cape Fell, and looking back I as rather pleased not to have taken the higher route, and I could see the path descending via a series of zigzags on Croft Head.

From here the path stuck close to the valley bottom, and after a short stretch of moorland and then forest I could see the Over Phawhope Bothy below. It was good to have a sit down again in a bothy and read another visitors book.

There was then a good 6 miles of road walking, and very tiring it was following the Ettrick River. By the time I got to the style which took the path up the valley side, and then down towards the loch, my feet were aching badly so I stopped and let them air and dry out in the weak afternoon sun.

There were still almost 5 miles to go before I reached Tibbie Shiels Inn, but there were quite a few hills to head over and around. Each time I made it to the top of a hill I hoped to see the 2 lochs spread out in the distance, each time I was disappointed and it seems the classic view of the lochs used for the cover of the guidebook must have been taken a few hill tops away.

It was a little while but I finally joined up with the old drove road that would take me down the last hill and to the shore of the loch. It was just a question of whether I would get there before the rain started from the gathering back clouds building up behind me. It was about a draw, as I was only slightly damp as I reached the B&B.

Center of map
View the map in Google Maps, or here is the Google Earth KML file.

More photos (from all the days of walking) can be found in the photo gallery.