Juncus Dance

The plan was to do a tarmac stretch of the Southern Upland Way (SUW) to the west of the Glentrool area and turn it into a circuit by following a path along the banks of the lovely River Cree.  What could be nicer?  Well, it turned into one of the least enjoyable walks in D&G and I include it here to remind me never to do it again!  And give you suitable warning.

Jazz looking for the bridge

We parked in Bargrennan and headed for the path leaving Creebank cottage and heading along the River Cree as advertised on the latest OS maps.  Immediately we hit a snag: the path doesn’t exist and the field was full of livestock which necessitated a bit of a detour and a slog over the field (really a bog churned up by the cattle).  The next problem was when we need to cross the Bargrennan Burn at the marked bridge: this too is missing!  Luckily I’d brought some sandals and so a wade replaced the warm water from my boots with refreshing cold water.

Spot the path

Then things went pear-shaped.  The path was meant to go through a stretch of forest, but this has now been cut down 1 and the path disappeared in the mess that foresters leave when they cut it down 2  So man+dog ensured an hour of horrible clambering over tree roots, branches, hidden ditches and pools.  I confess that swear words were uttered in the presence of the young dog.

Eventually we reached tarmac and squelched along passed Drumlamford for a forest walk around Loch Maberry.  However, here again our forestry chums have been active and the felled forestry was just an eye-sore.  So it was with some relief that we got to the SUW and a nice tarmac road.  We weren’t in a particularly good mood by this point, but this was lifted when we got to Waterside and a sign offering fresh water for walkers – a considerate touch – and we made grateful use of this.

Spot the SUW

But this was soon to evaporate when the SUW leaves the road at Knowe and heads into the forest.  Clearly there aren’t many walkers on this stretch because the path is overgrown and about to completely disappear when we hit a large section where there has been felling where the machinery has removed the path and left mess of discarded branches in a pool of evil-smelling liquid covered by a thin crust of peat.  And we both went in with even Jazz using her newly-learned swear words.  It’s a complete mess and D&G and the Forestry need to restore the path or divert walkers around it.

Lamachan and Lorg Hills

We were then back onto tarmac for a stretch around Loch Ochiltree.  However, just when we thought we were on the home straight, the SUW takes a detour over a marsh to add another layer of muck to the boots/paws and a final field of bullocks to avoid before getting back to the car.  So a close reading of this report might give you the inkling that this wasn’t the best of walks – avoid it.

Previous section of SUW: Castle Kennedy to Middle of Nowhere
Next section of SUW: Glentrool


  1. Are you spotting a pattern here?
  2. Why can’t they collect all this discarded wood – it must be useful as a fuel.
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