Clatteringshaws to White Laggan

Trees in Clatteringshaw Loch

Normal service is resumed. No more Android development this time: no, we’re back to Man+Dog wandering around the soggy uplands of south-west Scotland.  After this week’s storms we decided a good solid path was in order and so we ended up on a forestry section of the Southern Upland Way connecting up two previously walked sections: from Clatteringshaws Loch to the White Laggan bothy at Loch Dee.

A bit of colour

The initial idea was to try to get a circuit by crossing over to the cycle track on the west side of the loch.  However, this would involve a long stretch of knee-crushing forestry 1 and crossing the Black Water of Dee which is pretty full (and cold) at the moment -so discretion meant we’d stick to a linear route on the SUW.

Do they turn into pumpkins?

SUW sign with Craiglee

After a couple of kilometres something odd happened: we met someone.  This was a Very Nice Lady on a Bike (VNLB) who stopped to chat – equally surprised at meeting someone on this remote stretch of D&G.  We had a very pleasant chat, well, more of a therapeutic rant about people who go to a beautiful place and then trash it, leaving a complete mess.  This is growing problem in Scotland’s wild places and we agreed on a manifesto that when we came to power, littering would be made a capital offence. Next we moved on to discuss the relative merits of VB and C# (seriously!) 2.  Jazz and I were very diplomatic and allowed that VB had some merits.  To conclude this surreal conversation, it turns out that VNLB uses orange boxes to store her stuff: clearly a kindred spirit who if she lived nearer the coast would be a fish-box devotee.

Classic bench location

Reeling from this strange yet pleasant encounter, Jazz and I headed west along the SUW towards  Loch Dee.  The view opens up here and the various hills looked attractive with their covering of snow.  We stopped at a beautifully placed memorial bench 3 that gave a great view north to the Dungeon Hills and the Rhinns of Kells: they looked a lot chillier than when we did them in the summer.

Jazz heading for White Laggan bothy

Jazz in White Laggan

From here it’s a short stretch to the White Laggan bothy at the foot of Curleywee where we had agreed to have lunch out of the sleety rain that had just started. Fortunately the bothy was in good shape and made a snug lunch stop.   We’d now joined up a couple of sections of the SUW, and in a rash moment we decided that one of next year’s goals would be to finish the western half of the walk 4.

Berries in the rain

Although I prefer circuitous routes, the walk back on a linear route can often be just as good as the view is different.  For a bit of variety we took a spur to see McWhann's Stone – Jazz is just a sucker for erratic boulders.  Let’s just say we won’t be making the detour again any time soon.

Previous section of SUW: Glen Trool
Next section of SUW: Glenlee Circuit


  1. My thanks to the concerned among you who took an interest in my knee – it’s back to normal now, although I can still predict the arrival of the next Atlantic front better than the Met Office
  2. Let this be a warning to you: if you stop to chat to us when we are out-and-about, then you’d better be ready for a wide-ranging conversation and debate – probably best to start revising soon.
  3. Our thanks to the family of Dr Borthwick who put it here 22 years ago.
  4. Which we think is Portpatrick to Moffat.  Update in Sep-2014: we didn’t quite make it!
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