New Luce to Bargrennan, 30Km
It was down to the serious business of walking across Scotland today. Little Portpatrick is a distant memory and I’m now up in the hills heading east. Actually, right now I’m in a pub about to eat one of the local lambs. It’s time I became vegan. How could anyone eat one of those sheep after looking at them all day?
Someone has put 50p in the jukebox and chosen a lot of country classics. I went to Nashville on my Greyhound trip across America in 1979 and started a love affair with country music which lasted about two hours.
Anyway today’s walk was interesting. The taxi dropped me at the trailhead at 8.30am. Brian said he’d see me at 4pm at the other end, 30Km away. The weather was slightly cool with a definite hint of moisture in the air. A low mist was hanging over the hills but soon the sun appeared and I had another dry and warm day.
The Southern Uplands are much like Northumberland and they felt like a continuation of my crossing of the Cheviots last year except I didn’t have the pleasure of Troels and his happy gang. Once again I was alone. Brian said he had a walker last week in the taxi, and a couple the week before.
There were three highlights today. First, I came to the first of five bothies on the SUW. A bothy is a basic shelter open to all walkers. You can stay the night too. You’ll certainly not be alone, even if there are no other walkers. Secondly, the two standing stones at Laggangarn, believed to be 4000 years old. Some pilgrims carved a crucifix on each stone in the eighth century. Finally the Wells O’ the Rees are mysterious dome shaped dry stone structures built over tiny springs. No one knows why. Although they were only 100m from the path, I had to miss them because there was no way through the bracken to their location.
On the downside, I walked through a giant wind farm extending across Artfield and Balmurrie Fells, which detracts from the remoteness of the place. Also, the path was mostly broken tarmac and stones through forestry plantations rather than open moorland.
I arrived in Bargrennan at three minutes past four and Brian was waiting for me, the meter running.