Wanlockhead Circuit

Mennock Pass

Wanlockhead is the highest village in Scotland and is the centre of lots of interesting walks. Today we were going to do a circuit over the hills to the west of the village. The place is just full of interesting industrial archaeology and surrounded by easy and attractive hills. The best way of getting there is via the stunning Mennock Pass. Often this is full of people camping and panning for gold, but fortunately, late in the season it was deserted on a lovely autumn morning.

Dew on cobweb on conifer, Cogshead

We parked at the mining museum and headed west up the path to Stood Hill. This continues nicely over Willowgrain Hill before dropping down to join the Southern Upland Way heading for the old croft at Cogshead. For some reason the SUW splits here and you have a choice. We had a wander around the forest before following the arm that heads over Glengaber Hill. Here we join an old grassy mining track that heads down to the Wanlock Water. The view down the valley back to Wanlockhead and the Lowther Hills was lovely in the autumn sunshine. 1

Wanlockhead: highest village in Scotland

Sowen Dod and Wanlockhead

Mist rising, Mennock Pass

Glengaber Hill and Stood Hill

One Man and his Dog shadow on spoil-heap

We still had time and were enjoying the day too much to head straight back to the car. So we passed some old mine workings and headed up Sowen Dod. The main reason was that we had heard Red Grousedoing their ridiculing “go-back, go-back” call and Jazz wanted to have a quiet word. Well, this area isn’t just rich in heavy metals: it was grouse heaven and Jazz was in her element. Soon we had a mad spaniel bouncing around the heather and coveys of grouse flying off giving the avian equivalent of two fingers. From the summit we follow the trails past old mine workings and then back down to Wanlockhead.

Fishbox in Wanlockhead at 460m - that was a high tide!

A lovely surprise as we reached the village: surely the highest fish-box in Scotland! Beside the road we found a lovely yellow Shetland box, washed up 1600 feet up in the Southern Uplands. This was clearly evidence of Noah’s Flood and so of great value to the Creationists – so if you are one and need some supporting evidence then I’ll be delighted to sell you the original for a hefty fee. 2

Previous section of SUW: Sanquhar to Mennock Pass
Next section of SUW: Lowther Hills


  1. I’ve only ever had wonderful weather in all my walks around Wanlockhead and Leadhills.
  2. Think of it as a tax on being stupid.
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