Following a wonderful chatty afternoon with a lady and her son at the AirBnB where I stayed and a visit to the pub at the hotel in Leadhills (the kind where people actually whisper not to disturb the silence), I left in the morning on the next day at about 8am. This was about to be a longer day and I would get to Moffat at about 4pm in the afternoon.
First, it was about a mile back to Wanlockhead. Even from the village itself, the views were superb.
Soon, the ascent towards Lowther Hill (725m) began and it was a very steep one. The following images are from that short hike up (only about 1.5 mile, but about 300 metres up).
On top, there is a radar station!
On the actual top, I happened to find myself in a cloud, although it was moving away fast. I kept moving and now started a quick descent towards Comb Head (609m). The cloud, first thick, soon moved and started revealing incredible panoramas…
I was now leaving Lowther Hill quickly behind me and the weather was changing quickly to clear and sunny as I was enjoying the peace and grandeur of what was surrounding me.
Below, you can see the view from Comb Head.
Now, an incredible descent followed and I needed to be extremely careful – not only was it very steep and downwards, which is actually very strenuous on the legs for those of you who are not walkers, but it was also (obviously!) muddy and wet, so it would’ve been easy to slip. Luckily, there was a fence to hold on to on the final stretch down.
I stopped at the bottom of the descent. Obviously, I then I need to climb most of the hill you see in the image, which was just as steep as what I just walk down! The hill is called Laght Hill (507m). The trail doesn’t actually go all the way to the peak, but passes it by its northern side very near the top. That was an incredibly difficult (albeit short) ascent. However, the views in this area were nothing short of extraordinary!
From here, the path takes the traveller more gently down towards Over Fingland (two houses) and A702, once again, with practically uninterrupted views of the nearby hills and moors.
One turns left at A702 (north) and follows it for about 0.8 miles. As most times when one walks on roads on this trail, you will be passed by perhaps 3 cars – these roads are not very frequented!
Soon enough, I got off the road and now the trail took me in south-easterly direction via Watermeetings Forest first in the Daer Reservoir direction.
Once out of the forest, one enters the Daer Valley area, walking on a dirt road for a little while before reaching Daer Reservoir. Unfortunately, I followed an incorrect way, I think, and I certainly got to see the Reservoir (below, amazing!), but after walking across a large and quite boggy field before rejoining the actual path. I have a feeling where I walked used to be Southern Upland Way, but a section was moved somewhat. Oh well – no matter; all part of the adventure! When I did rejoin the actual trail, I was greeted by this view. A bit like out of a postcard.
Up here, it was getting rather windy. I was getting a feeling that one of my socks was getting a bit wet. Taught by prior experience that this can lead to blisters, I took a break at the next place I could find, changed it to a dry one and had a bit of food. It was somewhere around the area you can see in the photo below.
Skirting the forest you see in the photos, the trail turned north again to cross Daer Water soon, passing Beld Knowe (506m) on the way.
The trail was now beginning its very slow and gentle descent towards Moffat through a large forest (the forest was a bit of a joke, though, as it was heavily managed / logged, so it did not actually look very pretty and I took only a few photos there, one of which you can see below. I passed Craig Hill on the way, already at only 360m.
Shortly after, I passed Rivox, where there is a bunkhouse, where one can stay overnight. I had been contemplating this before and I was glad I did not end up doing that. A few groups of DoE teenagers passed me on the way and they seemed to be heading to Rivox – somehow, I thought I would not get the quiet I wanted if I ended up staying in the same place with them!
Now, the way became almost flat for awhile as I was crossing a clearly newly-planted forest with rather beautiful stream going through it and several picturesque ponds. It was clear I was getting closer to larger settlements – this way was almost pram-friendly. I was now just a few miles away from Beattock and Moffat.
The trail now joined a road that took me down into Beattock in about 30 minutes or so. Soon, the enormous A74 (a very major motorway) came into view, a rather bizarre sight from my perspective, after the quiet and the remote I had experienced earlier that day. Here’s the photo of Beattock I took about 5 minutes before reaching its streets. (From there, it was just another mile to Moffat, my destination that day.)
All images from this trip can be seen in the video below: