Southern Upland Way
- This article is an itinerary.
The Way is a waymarked route stretching 212 miles coast-to-coast across Scotland, from Portpatrick in the extreme south-west of Scotland to Cockburnspath on Scotland's North Sea coast south of Edinburgh.
It is a much more demanding route than the popular West Highland Way, since it is longer, crosses the grain of the land with much up-and-down, and visits very remote areas which lack accommodation and amenities thus forcing the walker to carry plenty of kit and provisions.
The route could be walked in either direction, but most guides including this one go from West to East. This means that he prevailing wind is usually on your back and you are not walking into the setting evening sun.
This guide can only give a brief overview of the route. There is an official guidebook giving detailed directions, and a set of 1:50000 Ordinance Survey maps are also recommended.
Allow around two weeks to walk the complete route, but it is possible to do any of the sections or just a mile or two as a day walk.
From Stranraer there are eight buses (Stagecoach West Scotland 367) per day (Mon-Sat) to Portpatrick 3 buses on a Sunday.
Portpatrick to Castle Kennedy
Portpatrick has several hotels and B&Bs to stay in before you start the walk.
Castle Kennedy to New Luce
New Luce to Bargrennan
Bargrennan to Dalry
Dalry to Sanquhar
St John's Town of Dalry
Sanquhar to Wanlockhead
Wanlockhead to Beattock
Beattock to St Mary's Loch
St Mary's Loch to Traquair
St Mary's Loch
Traquair to Yair
Yair to Galashiels
Galashiels to Melrose
Melrose to Lauder
Lauder to Longformacus
Longformacus to Abbey St Bathans
Abbey St Bathans to Cockburnspath
Abbey St Bathans
Waymerks are small metal tokens concealed in thirteen "kists" hidden along the route as part of a sculpture project. Walkers are invited to keep their eyes peeled for the kists, and may help themselves to a waymerk if they find where they are hidden. Waymerks may be made of lead or copper, or you may be lucky and find one made of silver.
You're often walking all day on forest paths and may not see anyone on this quiet route. Mobile phone coverage, however, is fairly good since you are not among mountains which would block the signal.