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Southern Upland Way

Glenshiro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
While we're all reduced to looking out of the window (at a light dusting of snow, in my case) and dreaming of our next Camino, I wonder if anyone on the forum has walked this route?

It's one of the lesser-known long distance (344 km, 214 miles) coast to coast routes in the UK, crossing the hilly and largely unpopulated Southern Uplands of Scotland from the tiny harbour of Portpatrick in the south-west to Cockburnspath just north of Berwick on Tweed.

My brother and I walked the first 90 miles of it in June 2019, from Portpatrick to Sanquhar, which is the first railway station you come to on the trail and, after the first day, saw no other walkers. It is deliberately laid out to avoid areas of population (not that there are many) so arranging food and accommodation can be something of a challenge. In addition, approximately the first half of the trail consists of 50 % bog! We are hoping to complete the route this year. Or next.

The walking (apart from the bog) is excellent, with long isolated stretches across empty moorland, along lochsides and through forest. We had good weather for the whole week and very little attention from midges. If you're interested, there are a number of vlogs online, such as this one from Rambling Man.
 
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Houlet

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
Yes I walked it a few years back, probably in unusual fashion. I walked Cockburnspath to Sanquar and my wife picked me up and drove me to Portpatrick. I then walked back to Sanquar. It wasn't an easy walk and as you say accommodation is limited. Weatherwise, I was lucky no rain for the entire journey.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Finisterre 2014
Camino Frances,Muxia and Finisterre 2015
Camino del Norte,Arzua to Ribadeo 2015
I live quite close to the Western end of the SUW and,over the years,have criss crossed it many times whilst doing other walks in the Galloway Hills.
In September 2019 I decided it was time that I had a go at it and walked from Portpatrick to Beattock.
Day one was the only decent day weather wise and then I was able to catch a bus home for the night and then back to continue the following morning and a day of pouring rain.The sun did show itself a couple of times during the week but overall a very damp experience.
I stayed four nights in bothies (Beehive,White Laggan,Polskeoch and Brattleburn) and two nights camping,the last very wet!
In the past there were more facilities on the route including some Youth Hostels which are now long gone,
also country pubs are rapidly closing their doors.
I had hoped to walk the second half last year.Now,who knows when?
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances. 2011
Chemin d'Arles. 2011
Chemin de Vezelay. 2012
Chemin de Le Puy 2010
Chemin de Pyrenees. 2013
Via Francigena. 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino del Norte 2015
While we're all reduced to looking out of the window (at a light dusting of snow, in my case) and dreaming of our next Camino, I wonder if anyone on the forum has walked this route?

It's one of the lesser-known long distance (344 km, 214 miles) coast to coast routes in the UK, crossing the hilly and largely unpopulated Southern Uplands of Scotland from the tiny harbour of Portpatrick in the south-west to Cockburnspath just north of Berwick on Tweed.

My brother and I walked the first 90 miles of it in June 2019, from Portpatrick to Sanquhar, which is the first railway station you come to on the trail and, after the first day, saw no other walkers. It is deliberately laid out to avoid areas of population (not that there are many) so arranging food and accommodation can be something of a challenge. In addition, approximately the first half of the trail consists of 50 % bog! We are hoping to complete the route this year. Or next.

The walking (apart from the bog) is excellent, with long isolated stretches across empty moorland, along lochsides and through forest. We had good weather for the whole week and very little attention from midges. If you're interested, there are a number of vlogs online, such as this one from Rambling Man.
We walked it a couple of years ago and found it quite difficult. The first third was very poorly marked and there is indeed a lot of bog! We also had terrible weather for that stretch. We stayed in at least 3 places that were on the point of closing/being sold. We got the impression that maybe the trail was losing ground to a new trail on the other side of the border. However, once we got to Melrose the weather changed, the marking became better (often coinciding with other trails), and the accommodation was good. We barely saw anyone else on the SUW.
 
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Glenshiro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
Thanks to all who replied, and kudos to those who have walked it. Yes, accommodation can be a problem, especially with country pubs closing - although the Kenmuir Arms in New Luce, which closed three years ago, leaving a gap in the trail, has been bought by the local community and is being refurbished to include letting rooms. I'm currently (tentatively) putting together an itinerary for June - fingers crossed!
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
Thanks, Sue127, I am having my first vaccination shot today, second one at the end of April, so, all being well, by June the world will be my lobster!
 

Portboy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Camino Finisterre (2019)
Hi everyone. I walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre in 2019. It took me 24 days and it was my first trail outside Scotland. I'm hoping to go back this year to walk Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago and hopefully the Camino Norte next year.
I was born in Portpatrick and now retired here. Majority of days I'm on some part of the SUW in Portpatrick or near Stranraer. I do most of my training on the Way for other long distance hikes. I "thru-hiked" it in 2013, Cockburnspath to Portpatrick making use of all the bothies and camping also. Accommodation is a problem but you can do it as a bed & breakfast route.
I meet some hikers before they start and offer to walk the first section (13 sections in total) with them to Castle Kennedy. I advise them where they can stay, where to eat and where to buy provisions (plus midge net)! I explain the route and how to identify the "hoards"! Surprising the number that aren't aware of what's ahead of them.
Other long distance routes I've hiked in Scotland are the IAT(S), Cape Wrath to Mull of Galloway (CWT, WHW, CCP, ACP & MofGT) and John o' Groats to the Mull of Galloway (JoGT, GGW, WHW, CCP, ACP & MofGT).
Both of these were "thru-hikes" using bothies, hostels and bivvy bag.

Buen Camino, Frank
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy - León, Camino Frances (2012 - 2019)
I was born in Portpatrick and now retired here.
Wow, you certainly earned your retirement! That's quite a list of fairly "hard-core" trails. I was born in Argyll, but I have spent most of my life in the south-east of England and, with no family left in Scotland, I think I'll probably stay here.

I really enjoy walking in Scotland, and have usually been fairly fortunate with the weather, but, when all is said and done, it's hard to beat the scenery and cuisine of south-central France. As you'll see from my avatar, I started walking from Le Puy in 2012, with only a vague idea of how far I intended to go, found myself some years later at the Spanish border, crossed the Pyrenees (and then went back and crossed them again in better weather) and got as far as Leon in 2019.

I think, once I've got to Santiago de Compostela, I will go back to walking in friends. It's very well organised and signposted, there are far fewer other walkers, but is very rewarding.

Let's hope we both get to Spain this year!

Buen Camino.
 
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