It’s a May Bank Holiday with decent weather forecast, so obviously we are into “avoid-the-crowds” mode. And where else but the Southern Upland Way (SUW) almost guarantees you’ll meet no-one the whole day? So our eyes were drawn to one of the longer stages that we still needed to do in the western half, and with the Missus offering to pick us up at the end, we were set for the section from Overfingland to Moffat.
It was 2.5 years ago that we did the last section in these parts, and that was in hill fog, so a lovely Spring day was an excellent contrast. Lapwing and Curlew were displaying and calling, and my legs were out in shorts for the first time this year. All very agreeable, I’m sure you’ll concur. The first stretch of the path is through some woodland and hillside to Daer Reservoir. We’ve wandered the hills around the reservoir and they are best described as “Dull”, but today they made a decent background to the reservoir. We sat and had a snack on the dam and watched a Common Sandpiper – a new SUW tick for us.
The path then climbs up for a hook of hills: the nicely named Sweetshaw Brae and Hods Hill. These too are out of the Dull section of the catalogue, and so someone thought they would benefit from a large wind-farm – we agreed. From the top the views are reasonable towards the Lowthers but Hart Fell just looks a grassy lump. So it was no great disappointment to enter the forest for the bulk of the day’s walk.
The forest section was 10km or so of squelchy mud and avoiding toppled trees, following the well-hidden route of a high-pressure gas main 1. The only highlights on this section was spotting a Common Lizard out sunbathing, and a Tree Pipit displaying – another tick for the SUW list. A lot of the forest around here has been recently harvested and so the view was spoiled by the mess that gets left behind. Eventually it pops out near Easter Earshaig for 6km of road bashing downhill to Beattock, under the M74 and into Moffat itself. This is known locally as the Crooked Road, although a modern name would be Windfarm Power Lane as it was getting well chewed up by civil engineering work (and not all of it sympathetic) putting in underground power lines and smoothing off the landscape, presumably to allow easy access for turbines.
Although it was good to avoid the hordes (and we saw no-one), this section of the SUW has very little going for it: the path was poor, the views just OK, and a lot of tarmac bashing. Not one we’ll be doing again. It was good to reach Moffat for several reasons: the town positively welcomes walkers (which we assumed included their dogs), a policeman on a bike shouted “hello” as he passed, and the ice-cream was good.
|Previous section of SUW:||Overfingland Circuit|
|Next section of SUW:||Beattock to Tibbie Shiels Inn|
- Sounds worse than it is: only the string of marker posts show. ↩
|Do It Again:|