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3. New Luce to Bargrennan

New Luce to

Start: New Luce

Finish: Bargrennan

Nearest Town: New Luce

• Distance: 17.8 miles

• Height Gain:
• Approx. Time: 7hours

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Strenuous

• Terrain:
• Toilets:
• Refreshments:
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Route Description

This 18mile section is one of the longest parts of the western stage of the Way. Whilst you may want to walk directly from New Luce to Bargrennan, re-starting at Dranigower Bridge or Balmurrie Farm is more effective, allowing you to relax and enjoy the walk.

The route takes you on tracks and paths across open moorland, past the waterfall at Barnshangan and Laggangarn Stones before entering plantation woodland for much of its length.

Take note that this section can be particularly bleak. You are therefore advised to be properly equipped in case of heavy rain or other severe weather. Whilst most of the Way is fairly easily followed in this section, the last few miles into Bargrennan cross open moorland with few markers except field-walls and waymarks. A compass and detailed map are therefore wise precautions.

 0 22.3* 0 35.9*
 (1.0) 22.3* (1.6) 35.9*
 5.1 27.4 8.2 44.1
 1.5 28.9 2.4 46.5
 1.8 30.7
 2.9 49.4
 2.3 33.0 3.6 53.0
 2.7 35.7 4.4 57.4
 2.1 37.8 3.5 60.9
 2.3 40.1 3.6 64.5

*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

Balmurrie Farm to The Beehive, Laggangarn:
Continue to the left of the Balmurrie Farm barn up the track to the junction for Kilmacfadzean (NX 207668).

From this point, there are two versions of the Way:
(1): Southern Upland Way Recreational Path Guide: Follow the road to Kilmacfadzean to a gateway in a wall (NX 205672) before following the north side of the wall on a 'rather vague path' to the top of a rise (NX 209675). This is confirmed to be the official route.

(2): 1:50,000 Landranger Map: Continue on the track past the junction to the left side of some farm buildings and along the left side of a wall to where the path crosses a wall and heads up to the top of a rise passing ancient enclosures and ruins of a hut circle (NX 208673). At the rise (NX 209675) cross the wall and continue to the northeast.

From the rise, it is a moorland walk of approximately one mile over Kockniehourie hill to the stile (NX 214687) into the forest that extends the two miles to the Tarff Water footbridge. The path crosses the Mulniegarroch or Purgatory Burn (NX 215690) then passes alongside a abandoned holding before turning slightly north to reach a forest track (NX 216695) near Brockloch Hill. The Way continues north along the forest track for about half a mile until waymarked onto a grassy track (NX 217703) into the woods on rather stony and marshy ground. On reaching the old field walls at Brackeniecally (NX 220711) follow the path round to their left to a point near where two walls meet (NX 220712) and cross into a clearing near the abandoned holding of Laggangarn (NX 221714). The Beehive Bothy, wigwam-like structure, is to the north of the path. Continue across the clearing and downhill to the prehistoric Laggangarn Stones, Bronze Age monoliths on which early Christians have carved crosses (NX 222716) before crossing the Tarff Water footbridge.

This location marks the end of this section. Walkers may choose to retrace their steps to Balmurrie, stay at the Beehive bothy or proceed onwards towards Derry Farm.

Tarff Water Footbridge to Derry Farm:
From the footbridge, continue up the track for about a mile to the waymarked turn for the path to the Wells of the Rees (NX 230724). The wells are three beehive-shaped structures whose curative waters by tradition were bathed in by lepers from the colony run by the monks of Glenluce Abbey (NX230724). After visited the wells, return to the track and continue uphill to the cairn at the top of Craig Dhu (NX 232725), with its extensive views. The path turns left down a stony track for a mile to a forest road (NX 240738) where the walker turns right round and down through plantation woodland, leaving Loch Derry to the left (north), to the track hairpin at Knockernan (NX 269737). From Knockernan it is a short walk downhill past a disused quarry to the turn for Derry Farm (NX 261735) the highest road-head for a vehicle pick-up.

Note that there is a mile-long sidewalk from the path between Craig Dhu and the junction with the forest road, up and around Craigairlie Fell. A second side-walk from the south side of the forest road past Loch Derry leads up to Linn's Tomb or Grave, about 750 yards south of the Way; there is only one waymarker for the Tomb.

Derry Farm to Bargrennan:
Most of this section is along or beside a metalled road amongst well-set-back plantation woodland with the road crossing bridges at Darloskine (Polbae) (NX 280729), and Tannylaggie (NX 292720) before reaching a junction with the B7027 road (NX 310719) between Newton Stewart and Barrhill.

Turning right (south) one continues along the B7027 for about half a mile to the hamlet of Knowe (NX 315713), where the Way turns north again as a path uphill through plantations until reaching a minor road near Glenruther Lodge (NX 322724). The Way follows the minor road north for over a mile, passing Glenruther Farm (NX 323731) before leaving just north of a cattle grid (NX 325738) and striking out northeast across moorland towards the cairn on the Hill of Ochiltree (NX 327741), from which there are excellent views in good weather.
From the Hill of Ochiltree, there are two possible path-lines:
(1) : Anthony Burton 'Southern Upland Way' (the official route) :
Continue on the post-marked path east and north, crossing a small footbridge and almost parallel to a stone wall until a ladder-stile is reached by the intersection of three walls. From there continue down the side of a burn and Garchew Wood, crossing into the wood (broadleaf, with some wildlife interest) then walking across a short tract of moor to a wall-crossing near Garchew Farm (NX 340758).

(2): Landranger 1:50,000:
Follow the Hill of Ochiltree walk down a path almost due north down the hill and beside a small burn onto an un-walled minor road (NX 328750), following the road for about a mile until the Way leaves the road near Garchew Farm.
Note that at Garchew Farm, the Way leaves the road to the west of the farm, not (as apparently the map would have it) to the east of the farm. From there, the Way heads for about half a mile across moorland, crossing several wall before reaching the A714 near Brigend (NX 349763) from Newton Stewart to Barrhill at Bargrennan.

Bargrennan is a comparatively small village at the entrance to Glen Trool. The House O' Hill Hotel (NX 351769) on the Glen Trool road is one of the few places to stay. There is also a campsite about a mile from Brigend, half a mile further up from the Hotel.