Day 6 – into rural Nithsdale

Stroanpatrick to Sanquhar, 33Km

Having lost “not a few” of his readers yesterday, the author of my Cicerone guidebook was in surprisingly chirpy mood today, “this is one of the longest and hardest stages of the SUW and is again through remote country…”. We reached 580m on Benbrack Hill where one of four ‘Striding Arches’ awaited. It is said that if you stand by the trig pillar and look directly through the arch, you’ll see a second one on Colt Hill, 2.5Km away. I did it but visibility was only 200m at that point. To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of this sort of thing. I do love landscape art. I have great admiration for Richard Long and have many of his books. He walks and creates art as he goes. But building a sandstone arch on Benbrack Hill is not art.

John drove me to Stroanpatrick this morning with his mother in the back and an aggressive Alsatian in the rear. His mother was clearly impressed with the ride. She said, “we’re really up in the hills. I don’t think I’ve ever been along this road”. I took a photo of Stroanpatrick, the most desolate place in the UK, put on my waterproof trousers and gaiters on top and set off towards the day’s first summit, Manquhill Hill. My boots filled with water. I’ve written to Lowa and will let you know their response, assuming I get one. The message app decided I was a robot because I hadn’t correctly selected all the photos of palm trees. My guess is that I’ll go shopping for new boots pretty soon.

I encountered Peter again. Not in the flesh but in the visitor book of bothy 2. He still hasn’t met another walker. I wish he’d left a telephone number so I could have asked him to slow down. The bothy came just in time for lunch. It was empty but seems to get a visitor every three or four days. I ate my sandwiches then left.

I’ve now arrived in Sanquhar and will have a rest day tomorrow. It might be an interesting place. My B&B is a sheep and cattle farm now on its seventh generation and my host has set out my itinerary for tomorrow. Apparently the museum with its display of traditional Sanquhar knitted gloves is unmissable. I suspect I’ll be drunk by the time I write tomorrow’s blog.

Similar photo to yesterday’s bench
The mist came down as I climbed up
Here it is, the Southern Upland Way
This morning‘s coffee stop. Unfortunately they’d sold out of lemon drizzle cake
Bothy No 2
Inside the bothy. Peter slept well in one of the recliners, he wrote.
It was a small relief to climb off the moor onto this little road for awhile
A first-rate view of the Southern Upland hills with their deeply gouged valleys according to Cicerone (ok it doesn’t photograph well)

15 comments on “Day 6 – into rural Nithsdale

  1. Hello Tim,
    I have to say I didn’t envy you in that highland mist. The sandstone arch seems a poor attempt at trying to replicate our neolithic ancestors’ standing stones. Maybe this more modern version transports you to wherever you wish … perhaps a new boot shop! Did you try stepping under it with a walking boot shop in mind? Sorry – getting carried away with a mixture of Mr. Ben and Highlander!
    I hope tomorrow’s walk is a good one.

    • Hi Suzi, the mist nicely adds a touch of solitude to the landscape. Suddenly you feel you are the only person up in the hills.

  2. Vicky Williamson

    KiaOra, Tim. I love the interior of the bothy and I would be tempted to stay there a few days and read the books between naps in the comfy chairs – as long as I had good food and a single malt Scotch! Great photos of a worn down landscape so unlike much of NZ. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • People go from one to the next doing just that. But note, all those books are painted on the wall.

  3. Coffee AND lager tomorrow, you won’t want to leave!

    • Costa coffee and lager, even a Wetherspoons. But leaving is the most attractive plan

  4. Walkmag

    Haha lits of dry humour today

  5. Philippa

    Was there a resident mouse (family) in this bothy or does the very large cat on the gloriously painted walls act as a deterrent?

    • Roger Clarkson

      Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, O, what a panic’s in thy breastie! Thou need na start awa sae hasty, Wi’ bickering brattle! I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee, Wi’ murd’ring pattle! (Just adding a bit of Robert Burns to Tims blog, lol).

      • Thank you Roger! That saves me a lot of time looking up some Robert Burns…

    • I didn’t see the mouse so maybe not. Perhaps he was having a nap after a good lunch in the rubbish bin.

  6. Rebecca Wilkinson

    Perhaps you should hold up in a bothy until another hiker shows up to join you.

  7. I love the bothy’s, such a good idea. I must say, I thought the books were real!

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