Southern Upland Way Walking Holidays 73 Main Street, St Johns Town of Dalry, Castle Douglas, Scotland, DG7 3UP, GB
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Accommodation and Services:

2. Castle Kennedy to New Luce

Castle Kennedy to
New Luce

Start: Castle Kennedy

Finish: New Luce

Nearest Town: Castle Kennedy

• Distance: 8.9 miles

• Height Gain:
• Approx. Time: 4hours

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Moderate

• Terrain:
• Toilets: Castle Kennedy Gardens

• Refreshments: Castle Kennedy Gardens
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Route Description
This section is a little more challenging than the first but well worth the effort, taking you through the stunning gardens of Castle Kennedy and across dramatic sprawling moorland.

As well as some relatively serious gradients, the infamous mist and fog that haunts the area make a compass and detailed map wise precautions for crossing Balmurrie Fell to the woods beyond.

Accommodation and services are fairly restricted along this section, so book ahead. You should also check weather conditions before starting.

Above all, dress for the conditions and keep spare clothing and food with you in a backpack. Skills practiced at this stage will be of value further on if you decide to undertake the full walk.


 0 13.4 0 21.6
 0.6 14.0 1.0 22.6
 5.1 19.1 8.2 30.8
GR NX 192 650
 3.2 22.3* 5.1 35.9*
 (1.0) 22.3* (1.6) 35.9*

*New Luce is a mile (1.6km) dtour from the SUW. This distance is not added to the cumulative distance along the SUW.

Detailed Description

Castle Kennedy to Cruise Farm, New Luce:
After leaving the Castle Kennedy car park and toilets (NX 114607) continue along the track to rejoin a minor road towards New Luce at a junction (NX 116607). Proceed left along the minor road as far as its first turning (NX 122610) to the right for Chlenry, keeping to the road through Chlenry until the road ends (NX 130611) and the Way enters a path across moorland for about a mile, rejoining the minor road between Castle Kennedy and New Luce (NX 136617). Turning to the right, continue up this road until the waymarked first turning on the right (NX 141618) up to the Glenwhan Moor plantations. Turn left and follow the trail along the north edge of the Glenwhan Forest before turning north (NX 172616) towards and alongside the railway line. The path crosses the line after about a mile at a cutting (NX 170623) then turns back south beside the Water of Luce, crossing by the timber suspension-bridge (NX 173621) before curving round up the side of the hill and a gully and joining the minor road from Glenluce north to New Luce (NX 175625) a few hundred yards south of Cruise Farm.

This 10-mile section is one of the shortest on the Southern Upland Way, so some walkers may prefer to continue to Dranigower Bridge or Balmurrie Farm before pre-arranged collection by vehicle for a night’s stay in the New Luce and Glen Luce area.

Cruise Farm to Balmurrie Farm:
From Cruise Farm (NX 174626) cross the road and proceed up the track beside the plantation to the end of the track, then cross the stile and walk along the farm track (in places rather muddy) towards Kilhern Farm (NX 201638), about two miles from Cruise Farm. Note that it is important to turn left beside the buildings instead of entering the farmyard, continuing to follow the grass track north-west about a mile and a half past the Knockcraven Plantation onto a minor road. The map indicates a hut circle (NX 198640) south-east of the Way and a Caves of Kilhern chambered cairn (NX 198644) slightly to the north; the Kilhern Spa Well is slightly to the north of the farm, where further directions may need to be obtained. Walkers are advised to keep to the Way in uncertain weather. One mistake in the route could be made - a path (NX 197642) leaves the Way and goes northeast about a mile to the Dranigower Farm road (NX 200651). It is better to continue past the east side of the Knockcraven Plantation on the track (NX 195670) and round and down to the northwest onto the minor road to Glenluce (NX 191650).

Proceeding north and east to the junction (NX 196652), noting the Cross Water of Luce Waterfalls (NX 196652) take the farm-road (indicated as a no through road) across the Dranigower Bridge (NX 197652) a mile and a half up to Balmurrie Farm (NX 204664). These are listed pick-up points for local accommodation providers.

Prehistoric Monuments: These are worth visiting for themselves, and offer a good walk round interesting scenery. Care should be taken to avoid bogland. To the east at the uphill end of a large enclosure is a burnt mound (NX 212670), a hollow surrounded by fire-heated stones used for heating the pit in the hollow for bathing or cooking. Other prehistoric remains - Cairn-na-Gath Long Cairn (NX 213674), hut circles (NX 214674) and (NX 212678).

N.B.: This is the end of the New Luce section but has no road ending closer than the Balmurrie track. Walkers may be well-advised to make Balmurrie Farm their pick up point at the end of the day and to resume their walk at this point next day. Alternatively, there is a very basic bothy at The Beehive (NX 221715) for the enthusiastic and hardy