2021

Day 4 – The 39 Steps

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.

A riverside walk early this morning
I was lucky to discover this kist, hidden in the woods. The top slides open and then a rope raises the jar of treasure
Clearing bracken and brambles from the SUW. That’s seriously hard work
Fortunately I only saw this notice at the end of the diversion otherwise I would have surely followed it.
In the Galloway Hills
Despite the beer mats, The Cross Keys Inn refuses to sell lager. But this Orkney Gold is rather pleasant and I might bring a crate back home with me

10 comments on “Day 4 – The 39 Steps

  1. Now there was I thinking you would need a full Scottish with all those steps ahead of you? The Orkney Gold looks goood – so yes please do bring some back to us Sasanach’s 👍

  2. Still very envious of your endeavours Tim. Sounds really wonderful! I suppose when (not if) the rain comes it may be a little less enviable. Tim

    • Amazingly, they haven’t had rain for 6 weeks or more. But now the forecast is not just rain but thunderstorms. Watch carefully to see if the photos are taken through the bus window.

  3. Roger Clarkson

    Hope you’ve got your red coat as there is some traditional Scottish weather coming your way.

  4. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim. Surely the foragers should have been out foraging for their breakfast! Great countryside you’re walking through just now and interesting historic sites and a cute kist. But Fosters?! Really!? Have Englishers no pride! Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Hello Vicky, I must have missed out on a lot in life, certainly good craft beers would be on that list. But why do so few people drink them compared to the amber nectar?

  5. Which version of the 39 Steps is best? Answers on a postcard to Tim.

    • They’re all good, of course. Trick question! That’s why it’s still so popular. The novel by local author John Buchan (1915) is the place to start. Then why look further than the Hitchcock film? But who can ever forget the Orson Wells radio adaptation? Or the recent stage production?

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