Saturday, 2 July 2011

Golfing in Brobdingnag

Wanlockhead to Elvanfoot crossing the tops of the northern Lowther Hills.

After a couple of changes, I was eventually dropped off by a wee diddy bus at Wanlockhead around 12.30 on Friday. Wanlockhead is Scotlands's highest village ( unless you count Milnathort during T in the Park !)
It was the centre of the lead mining industry along with neighbouring Leadhills, and there is a lead mining museum and lots of stuff to poke about in if your into industrial archaeology.

 However, I was involved in a wee ploy which was a bit outside my current comfort zone, and I wanted to get cracked on.

The first bit follows the Southern Upland Way up onto Lowther Hill (726m), home of the giant "golf ball " which dominates the view. There is a tarmac service road, but the SUW takes the diretissima, straight across the zig zags

Scary. Anyone remember The Prisoner ?

It's actually air traffic control radar. Most UK- USA air  routes pass over this area and around here they turn west and gain altitude, with tragic results in the case of PanAm 103  over Lockerbie

The SUW continues eastwards and I turned northish to th e next Donald, Green Lowther (732). Now, I would like to tell you that the route went through bottomless peat hags and rock outcrops. but......

Green Lowther also sports some high tech ironmongery as well as this reassuring low-tech trig pillar. This is the highest point on the ridge, but there are a lot of ups and downs between here and the bus stop.

No more tarmac, but some quad tracks, and the traditional Borders hand-rail. ( I think we are technically in South Lanarkshire here, but it's called poetic licence.)

As the ridge opens out, never knife-edged , it gives some  fantastic views if you're into rolling dods, laws, cleuchs, heads hopes etc.

All that marks Peden Head.

Which is more than marks Dungrain Law (669)
These two fall into that unfortunate xDT category - former Donald Tops. They now, no doubt spend their time pining for the fiords.

At this point there is a steep drop to a hass ( bealach) and then a steep climb onto Dun Law (677m)

Pathetic effort at a cairn on Dun Law !

I was fair pechin at this stage, and as the route fell gently towards White Law, I spotted a perfect place to pitch the tent. So I louped the fe.....

What ?

Yes, I said tent.

Had I forget to mention that this was a backpacking jaunt ?  Well ye ken noo.

The evening was perfect- just enough breeze to keep away the m*****, and warm enough to stand around and wonder.

I was woken by a snipe. It laid down the breakfast tray, drew back the curtains, and asked if I would like my bath run now.
Perfect morning. Sunshine- No Breeze. Dry tent. Not quite how I remember it from the old days, but never mind.

Away at 7.30. Another steep hass to negotiate. Then the pull up onto Louise Wood Law (618m) ,or Lousie Wood Law as these wags at the OS would have it. Final top on the ridge and now a long  (for me) downhill to Elvanfoot and the bus home.

Two pairs of hen harriers were noisily hunting a wee glen setting the oyster catchers, waups and  the sbjs all a clamour.There was a big brown bird with a white tummy and a white tail in that bit of sky just a second ago. Honest.

 If you look very carefully, you can just about see the only other person I saw over the two days.

Excellent day walk if you can sort out the transport at either end. If you're well 'ard, you can walk back to Wanlockhead by the old railway. You can also do it in the other direction. Or not, as the case may be.

Another different step for me .Good yin. Bet you never saw that coming !

a wee glitsch on the vocal track in the middle, but worth it I think.


  1. As Father Ted would say, "Careful now..."

  2. Trangia?'ll do fer me, owd'un.

  3. We used to call it camping out....
    Who was Louise Wood and what was she lousie at?
    Last time I went to Wanlockhead the pub was shut and I'd spent two days walking to get there.
    Happy days.

  4. Alan. Feck! Drink! Nuns!

    Owdbum. I just love making my tea with a proper little kettle.

    Mike. Obviously a two day walk-in gave them plenty warning to put up the shutters !
    On reflection it probably is Lousie Wood, as there are no trees, usually considered a must for a decent wood.

    A salutary warning. Avoid smart ass post titles, especially those involving literary allusions. This one has had way below average page views in the first couple of days. Balls !