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.