Well, if the fourth day on the Southern Upland Way gave me perfect sunny weather, the next day was to be entirely different! It started lovely, but within an hour it was cloudy, foggy and rainy! A different experience! Luckily, for the majority of the way, I still got some good views.
I got up at about 6.30am, had plenty of food for breakfast and replenished my water supply. Today, I was walking to Sanquhar, only about 8 miles away, although it certainly does not feel that way here, in the zone of absolute tranquillity and silence!
The first two photos you see here are from before I started my walk – taken in the immediate vicinity of the Polskeoch Bothy.
The first 3 miles on this stretch mostly follows a single-track road. On the way are three houses. The first one is Polskeoch, the other Dalgonar and final one where the path goes steeply uphill off-road is called Polgown.
During the first hour or so of my walk, the weather was changing rapidly, starting with gorgeous sunrise and sunny weather to cloudier and cloudier into on and off heavy rain periods. Enjoy the photos below from this first part of the walk – I have captioned some so one can see around which of the houses and farms they were taken.
From Dalgonar, the walker is greeted by the views of the huge valley and the surrounding hills with Scaur Water flowing at the bottom of it. Astounding views. Just look below.
Immediately past Polgown, as I said before, the trail goes steeply up and took me via rather boggy ground past some pastures and rather soggy and bewildered sheep. I now needed my rain jacket alright – it was getting foggy and the rain was picking up. I was very pleasantly surprised with photos later and how much is visible in them!
The fog and mist were clearly intensifying on the horizon, but the views very still rather stunning. As I was walking, at one point, a car previously parked at Dalgomar was following the road in the distance down below on the other side of Scaur Water. Just one car surrounded by these vast spaces – somehow, the sight of it added to the feeling of the remoteness I was surrounded by. The car soon disappeared along with the low distant whirr of its engine and the “unmanned” feel returned.
Over a ridge, I now entered an area of stronger winds and considerably heavier fog. Whilst, of course, one wishes to get the views, there is something very mystical about being in the cloud, a feel of mysticism almost. I stopped for a while and watched the wind push the clouds, watching them move over the hills. This was the essence of why I walk. Where and when else would you stop and watch a cloud move for 10 minutes?
The next two miles were foggy with very little visibility. Certainly good enough to see the path, but not to see the landscape around. It was boggy, wet and damp. I made a stop upon coming across a rocky area there to drink some more water. Just for a few minutes as one gets cold rather quickly when stopping in such windy, wet conditions. It felt wild in a way; wild, remote and inaccessible.
About 10 minutes later, I started seeing the shapes of some buildings in Sanquhar,. The fog started clearing a bit as I was now walking down on the final, albeit long, descent towards the town.
Fascinatingly, even some sun started peeking through the clouds when I reached the town! My hands felt sticky – they usually do after walking through so much rain and cloud. It was just 8 miles, which is not a lot by my standards, but the conditions made it feel like it was 15!
My weekend trip, day 4 and day 5 on the Southern Upland Way, was over and it was time to catch the train back home later that day. I certainly felt reinvigorated by the experience.
All images from this trip can be seen in the video below: