Southern Upland Way

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This article is an itinerary.

The Southern Upland Way is an official long-distance walking trail in Scotland.


Official Opening Plaque

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.

Get in[edit]

The start at Portpatrick is about file miles from Stranraer which has rail and coach connections to Glasgow and is near to ferry connections to Belfast.

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[edit]

Portpatrick start

  Portpatrick has several hotels and B&Bs to stay in before you start the walk.

Castle Kennedy to New Luce[edit]

  Castle Kennedy

New Luce to Bargrennan[edit]

  New Luce

Bargrennan to Dalry[edit]


Dalry to Sanquhar[edit]

  St John's Town of Dalry

Sanquhar to Wanlockhead[edit]


Wanlockhead to Beattock[edit]


Beattock to St Mary's Loch[edit]


St Mary's Loch to Traquair[edit]

  St Mary's Loch

Traquair to Yair[edit]


Yair to Galashiels[edit]


Galashiels to Melrose[edit]


Melrose to Lauder[edit]


Lauder to Longformacus[edit]


Longformacus to Abbey St Bathans[edit]


Abbey St Bathans to Cockburnspath[edit]

  Abbey St Bathans



A Waymerk

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.

Stay safe[edit]

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.

Go next[edit]

Cockburnspath is not served by rail, the nearest station is at Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is on the East Coast Mainline from London to Edinburgh. There is a local bus service to Berwick.

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