Ultreia: the Glenlee Circuit


“Ultreia” means on with your quest! This was something that Jazz and I learned today on our walk from Glenlee taking in a stretch of the Southern Upland Way (SUW).  But that was just one nice thing in a very enjoyable Spring day.

Larch flowers

We started at Glenlee (hydro) power station down in the Glenkens. The idea was to do a circuit up to Clatteringshaws reservoir and back along the SUW. It was such a lovely day that we bolted on an extra bit and that made this the longest walk that Jazz has done – and the snoring in the car on the way home confirmed this.

Clatteringshaws with Darnaw, Millfore and Cairngarroch behind

We wandered up the byway towards Clatteringshaws and then headed into the forest with a Red Kite showing us the way.  This was mostly Larch and much more attractive than the usual blanket Spruce: the needles are nice to walk on and the buds and flowers are starting to open.  The colour is also lovely against the blue sky and white clouds we had today.  The track wraps around the hill and we get a view over Clatteringshaws towards the hills we walked with friends last summer.  Probably just as well the ladies hadn’t seen this before we set off as it looked steep from here.

The Loot


Soon we join the SUW that we follow for the rest of the day.  Near the start we come across a marker with dispensers for (soggy) leaflets and this is where we learn about Ultreia and the Hoard Project.  At 13 locations along the SUW are hidden Kists containing specially designed coins or tokens by local artists known as 13ths.  If you get all 13 then you have the Hoard.  When you are near a kist there is a special Ultreia sign on the SUW marker to get you to start looking.  I don’t want to give too much away, but where the guide says the kist is a few paces off the SUW it was nearer 10m – but we found it and got our coin.

Jazz in the Garroch Burn

The SUW now drops down into the Garroch Glen which is beautiful with its native woodland buzzing with bird-life.  In a short period we got NuthatchJayWhite Wagtail and Chiffchaff – the latter being early summer visitors.  The burn itself is lovely – right up until a filthy Spaniel wants to freshen up.

Earlstoun power station

St John's Town of Dalry from the river

At this point we were intending to continue down the lane back to the car, but the day was just too good, so after a discussion among the team we decided to add on an extra part of the SUW that heads over Waterside Hill and down to St. John’s Town of Dalry.  This adds on an extra 5km or so, but it was worth it.  The view up and down the Glenkens was lovely, if a little hazy.  The SUW then drops down past the attractive power station 1 and then along the Water of Ken to Dalry.  This is an attractive village nestling in the Galloway hills with a wonderful name.  We followed the river back to Glenlee and the car in gorgeous late afternoon sunshine.

Previous section of SUW: White Laggan to Clatteringshaws
Next section of SUW: Glenkens Circuit


  1. I know this sounds odd: but with a nice cascade of water beside a bank of daffodils – it looked pretty good to me, and made a change from watching the horror of a destroyed nuclear power station on the other side of the world.
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