In Praise of Carsphairn Public Toilets

In any civilised country the availability of free, decent public toilets should be taken for granted. Clearly the good, civilised people of Carsphairn think the same because they have a simple, hygienic and free public convenience.  “Big deal” you might say.  Well, try finding one in Glasgow or Edinburgh or London or Paris…   As we often pass through the village on our forays into D&G, I’ve made “regular” and grateful use of their facility and I would like to say “thanks”.

Looking down Cairnhead towards Criffel

Today, Jazz and I were back down in the area to do a circuit starting at Holm of Dalquhairn beside the Water of Ken taking in a bit of the Southern Upland Way (SUW) that fell between the gaps in our walks to Glenwhargen and Benbrack.  We parked at the Water of Ken car-park at the end of the long glen road.  A sign near the bridge points up the hill for Benbrack and the SUW.  This quickly gets you up the hill to a forestry track following a series of white-topped posts that a considerate person put in to show the way through the forest.  When we leave the forest we soon join the SUW and instead of heading for Benbrack we head north.  Although this moorland is pretty dull 1 it gives good views even on a murky day like today.

Looking down on Allan's Cairn

Jazz at Polskeoch bothy

Deep in the forest we find Allan's Cairn commemorating two Covenantor martyrs, Margaret Gracie and George Allan 2 killed at this spot during the notorious “Killing Times”.  From here the path starts dropping down to Polskeoch. However, the recent storms have brought down many big trees requiring a lot of detours and chewing of pine needles, but soon we are back on a good forestry track that takes us circuitously to our lunch stop at the Polskeoch bothy.  This doesn’t have the charm of White Laggan bothy, but it was clean and would make a welcome refuge in bad weather.

Mossy shieling, near Lorg

After a wander around Polskeoch forest we headed back along the path to Lorg through a verdant forest, including an old shieling 3 that was just covered in moss and lichen.  The path then emerges near Lorg to join the decent track back to the car park.

The weather today didn’t do the scenery justice, but we enjoyed the solitude and tranquillity of this remote glen.  I had hoped to do this walk over the Christmas break but the weather was just awful: so it was good to enjoy it on a decent day.

Previous section of SUW: Benbrack and Water of Ken
Next section of SUW: Glenwhargen


  1. Hence the need for the Striding Arches to brighten things up.
  2. Although why is it only called the Allan Cairn?
  3. For my non-Scottish readers, this was an old shelter for livestock (typically sheep) that is basically a stone ring with an entrance for the animals.  You see them dotted all over the uplands.
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