Bargrennan to Craigenbay, 30Km
I started the day with a healthy breakfast. The B&B was full with seven people all demanding an early breakfast because they were foraging. I was happier with cereal and toast so I jumped the queue and had room service.
The taxi arrived at 8am and dropped me off in the lonely isolated Bargrennan, where I finished yesterday’s walk. Bargrennan and today’s route was the setting for the famous chase in The 39 Steps. I set off at a fast pace, re-enacting the drama from all those years ago.
It was a strange day. The first part was through mixed woodland, with a luxurious grass path and a river. It was a delight. I stopped for my flask of coffee and fruit cake, deep in Caldons Wood, by the tomb of six Covenanters, shot while praying in 1685.
Next came a couple of lochs and at last, I knew I was in Scotland. I walked along Loch Trool and almost reached the far end when I saw a sign warning that the path was closed due to forestry operations. There was a risk of death among other things. Fortunately the operations consisted of a friendly team, clearing the bracken from the SUW and I stopped for a chat with them. They were pleased to meet a customer.
Finally there was a disappointment. Instead of climbing the Galloway Hills, I was re-routed along another rough tarmac forestry road because the SUW path was trampled to bits by cows in 2010. I missed seeing extensive views over the Range of the Awful Hand, the Rhinns of Kells and the giant Curleywee.
Not quite finally! Beggars can’t be choosers and the only place for dinner here in New Galloway is The Cross Keys Inn. It’s my first steak pie of the trip. They refuse to sell lager so I’m enjoying a bottle of Orkney Gold and it’s not bad at all.