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7. Stroanpatrick to Sanquhar

Stroanpatrick to

Start: Stroanpatrick

Finish: Sanquhar

Nearest Town: St Johns Town of Dalry

• Distance: 18.5 miles

• Height Gain:
• Approx. Time: 8hours

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Strenuous

• Terrain:
• Toilets:
• Refreshments:
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Route Description
The division of the Bargrennan to Sanquhar section here reaches its final point –from Cairn Hill past Polskeoch to Sanquhar.

In terms of terrain, the descent from Cairn Hill to Polskeoch is largely a continuation of the part-wooded areas around Manquhill, but trends downhill. The section to Sanquhar is a complete change; initially climbing up onto the hills, it then runs down over desolate moorland and fields until it reaches roads on the outskirts of Sanquhar, home of Britain’s oldest surviving Post Office.


 0 66.4 0 103.6
 1.9 66.3 3.0 106.6
 3.2 69.5 5.2 111.8
 2.7 72.2 4.3 116.1
 2.4 74.6 3.8 119.9
 2.0 76.6 3.3 123.2
 1.5 78.1 2.4 125.6
 1.2 79.3 2.0 127.6
 2.0 81.3 3.3 130.9
 3.2 84.5 5.1 136.0
 1.6 86.1 2.6 138.6
 5.0 91.1 8.0 146.6

Detailed Description

Stroanpatrick to Cairn Hill (Cairnhead):

Once on the B729 road (NX 639917) at Stroanpatrick the walker turns right (east) for a short distance before going up the track for Stroanpatrick Farm. The farm is bypassed by a stile near its gate (NX 642919), the walker following the north side of a series of field walls across the moorland to the edge of the Manquhill Plantations. The walker should be aware of small areas of bogland that may call for care, in an otherwise well-drained and springy turf.

Manquhill Plantation is entered by a stile (NX 655935) and the path follows a wall-line and crosses a forest track (NX 657937) before turning to pass on the left (north) side of a sheepfold (NX 659941) and the Dodd Hill summit (NX 662948) of Manquhill Hill. Dodd Hill offers excellent views on clear days, but the walker is advised to carry on north and east along the line of Manquhill past the boulders and peat pools of Craigencarse, following the almost straight path towards the Shoulder of Corlae and Benbrack summit. The path cuts across a bend in a forest track at NX 667955 and again at NX 668958, which may help with navigation. The path crosses the plantation edge at NX 672965, to climb the steep slope of the Shoulder of Corlae before reaching the Benbrack Summit marker post (NX 680970) 580 metres (1,903 feet) overlooking Cairnhead Forest.

The Way turns northwest, following the left (east) side of the forest fence slightly over a mile to the Cairn Hill cairn (NX 680988).
Note: (1): The Clachan Inn Landrover sometimes delivers clients to Corlae Farm (NX 659977) from where a forest track leads north by northeast through plantations to a wide firebreak (NX 671982 to 675988) from where there is a steady walk up to Cairn Hill.

(2a): The Cairnhead Trust is attempting to establish a link to the way along forest tracks from a roadhead at their Cairnhead Centre (NX 701972). The entry to this (currently emergency) route is at NX 97406805 (the exact eight figure grid reference); it is almost two miles down to the intermittently used Centre. A bothy is planned at the Centre in 2001. The proposed Centre will be about seven miles northeast of Moniaive on a straight minor road.

(2b): An alternative access: At the angle of the fence (NX 689990) it may be possible to cross onto a short piece of moorland and to enter a track into Cairnhead Forest at NS 69259905. Within a few yards, this comes to a small Y-junction; the walker can take the left fork for a mile and a half walk down to the Cairnhead Centre (NX 701972). Polskeoch House to Sanquhar Garage (approx. 11 miles)

From Polskeoch roadhead the Way follows the minor road down to Penpont for some two and a quarter miles. It is not until Polgown Farm (NS 719038) that the Way goes to the left (north), crossing a burn and passing round the side of a sheepfold before following a wall and a fenceline up the side of the hill. After about a mile the Way crosses a wall by way of a stile (NS 738049) just below the top of Cloud Hill, continuing along a wall in the lee of Glenmaddie Crag, to cross it at about NS 745052 and enter open moorland. A wall down from the hill of Whing Head then provides a line to follow until a stile (NS 752059) is crossed. From then on, the Way crosses open moorland almost due northeast towards distant Sanquhar. Keep well to the left (west) of the large sheepfold at NS 758064, to avoid the narrow and steep gully of the Whing Burn. After crossing the narrow burn of Standard Gutter (NS 763074), carry on down the slope another four hundred yards to the footbridge (NS 766079) across the Whing Burn. The Way leaves the burn gully to head for a ladder stile crossing a wall beside a farm track (NS 7699082); the track is followed over two more stiles down to the minor road beside Ulzieside Farm (NS 775088).

Turn left along the minor road and head for Euchan Bridge, continuing on the road past the Golf Course to the junction at Blackaddie Bridge (NS 775099), a fine three-arch sandstone structure. Once across the bridge, the official route turns to the right beside a notice board and information shelter, to follow a riverside walk behind houses to the ruins of 16th century Sanquhar Castle (NS 785092), where the way turns to the left (north) and follows an avenue of trees to the A76 (NS 786094). Turn left along the High Street for three hundred yards and then right into the side-road between the church and the garage (NS 784097).
Sanquhar is the first place since Dalry where services and accommodation are generally available. Walkers will be well advised to stock up with essentials as the next shopping-area is at Moffat near Beattock, 28 miles away.