Southern Upland Way 26 Main Street , St Johns Town of Dalry , Castle Douglas , Scotland, DG7 3UW, United Kingdom
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8. Sanquhar Garage to Wanlockhead Museum

Nearest Town: Sanquhar

Start: Sanquhar Garage

Finish: Wanlockhead Museum

•Distance: 7.5 miles
•Approx. Time: 3hours
Difficulty: Moderate/images/gradientmoderate
8. Sanquhar Garage to Wanlockhead Museum
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Route Description

A high section, crossing the open grouse moors of the Lowther Hills to Wanlockhead village. En route, watch for spoil tips and mine entrances, harking back to the days when the landscape yielded rich veins of gold and lead.

Remember that with height comes an increased risk of wet and very cold weather, and also of hill fog. You should dress for the conditions and carry emergency supplies and a bivvy bag. On the high hills, it may also be helpful to have a cell phone. Whatever you do, make sure that others know your route, destination and expected time of arrival.

Please note: This day can be increased to 12.5 miles thus reducing the next long day by 5 miles by using Vehicle Support .


Detailed Description

Sanquhar Garage to Wanlockhead Museum (approx. 8 miles)

Leaving the Sanquhar Garage, proceed up the side-road, under the railway bridge, then follow the road round to the left into Cow's Wynd lane. Ignore the turn to Lochside, keeping straight up the track and path towards the plantation. On its far side keep alert for the turn left (north) towards the track and waymark (NS 797114) for the turn right (east) along the Way to Lochburn Bridge, where walkers should turn right (south) for a short distance before swinging left (east) at the Y-junction 801114) for the track and path up towards the hills. Boggy ground beside the plantation is traversed by a narrow path leading to a ladder-stile (NS 809115) and crossing a wall before the first steep stretch approaching the hills. The line of a fence helps with direction. The Way crosses two stiles and comes to a hill crest before running above a plantation in the Cog Burn gully and through a corner of it.

At NS 828132 The Southern Upland Way divides into two official routes:

(1): Old Northern Route: This follows forest roads and tracks along a contour around Lowmill Knowe and Well Hill before rejoining the route at a derelict lead mine (NS 855143).

(2): New Southern Hill Route: This swings to the right (east) through a stile by Cogshead Farm gate then follows a wall to a footbridge, around a shoulder of the hill, across a footbridge and stile, then up the side of Highmill Knowe to a stile near its summit (NS 844140). The Way descends the side of a spur, zigzags through a line of grouse-butts and the footbridge by the derelict mine.
The Way continues up a track towards Wanlockhead, past the Meadowfoot miners' cemetery, the old smelt works and the distant mine closed in 1953, crossing the valley away from the old cottages museum, following the line of the tramway on the south side of the valley up to the famous Wanlockhead Lead Mining Museum (NS 873129). Walkers can obtain refreshments from its cafe.
Wanlockhead has a small village shop and a Youth Hostel, as well as a number of local bed and breakfast providers there and in Leadhills (NS 885150). Walkers would be well advised to spend a night here before a full day tackling the 21mile walk from Wanlockhead to Beattock and Moffat.