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We leave Sanquhar at around 8.30am. We walk out of town up Cow’s Wynd, which soon turns into a farm track. From here we meet a grassy path and are soon above Sanquhar. We meet a man who is bed and breakfasting the Southern Upland Way. He is really dressed for the part with bush hat and neckerchief!
There is a choice here. It is possible to follow the forest track which adds a further 2.75 miles to the day or continue straight up and over. We decide on the latter. There is a steady climb followed by a long descent into Wanlockhead. Altogether, it is a very pleasurable 8 miles.
At the edge of the village we meet three children, the youngest of which (about three years old) is brandishing a large stick, twice his size. He asks us what we are doing. I tell him we are walking to the sea-side and have a “go” of their bubbles.
We arrive in Wanlockhead early and decide we have enough time to visit the mining museum café and, as the sun is shining, continue to ascend Lowther Hill and wild camp. We have apple crumble with cream and coffee, sit outside for a while and return for a pot of tea. Whilst inside the second time, the weather takes a turn for the worse. It starts to rain and quite a strong wind blows up. We look at the sky and assess the situation. The wind gets even stronger. If it is like this here, it will not be very pleasant on the top, so we decide to find a B&B as there is no campsite. After much help from locals and trying several options we get a B&B at The Garage, which looks nothing at all like a garage but, apparently, used to be. We meet the guy in the bush hat who is also staying there. We watch Wimbledon in the lounge and chat about the Way so far.
We cross the road and turn right over a field to cross the Potrenick Burn on a footbridge. Water! We can have that cup of tea at last and a well deserved rest. It has been a demanding morning and we still have eight miles to the bothy.
We continue and meet a forest track. This is easier walking, mostly downhill. We see two backpacking figures in the distance, walking towards us. They look even more tired than we do! We meet up with them and it transpires that they are making for the same bed and breakfast we have just left. It is 4.30pm and they still have all the hard climbs ahead! They say the path round the reservoir is a killer, in fact, they say there is no path at all. Something for us to look forward to. We wish each other luck.
We continue along the forest track and the Daer Reservoir comes into view. We meet a path which ascends to the summit of Sweetshaw Brae behind the reservoir. The radar station and the golf ball are now just a blip in the distance
We go down once more, following the line of a fence, only to ascend again to Hod's Hill. The path now cuts a broad avenue through trees and descends quite steeply. It then begins to switchback. Just when I think, and afirm out loud, that I am not going to make another ascent today, we arrive at the bothy. At last! We reach the bothy at about 8.30pm. There is a guy there who has cycled from Oban and a ranger we met above the bothy pops in as well.
We wonder about the two guys we met on the forest track. The path round the reservoir was no worse and perhaps even better than similar paths we have met on the Way so far. If they think that path was bad they have some shocks to come! Did they make it to their bed and breakfast?
We certainly enjoy our chilli, several cups of tea and are asleep as soon as we crawl into our sleeping bags.
After crossing the London to Glasgow railway line and the busy trunk road we finally find the Beattock Hotel where we are to camp. It is closed down! I am having a déjà vu.
Fortunately, there is another campsite on the edge of town. The sign boasts of a shop. On arrival we find, guess what, the campsite shop has closed down.Can we get food in town? No, the post office come village shop has, what do you know, closed down!
We are both tired. It was a gruelling day yesterday but the only solution is to catch the bus into Moffat.
Charl suggests I go on my own. He’s not silly!
I wait an hour for a bus and on reaching Moffat find it very “touristy” and full of ice cream parlours, gift shops, restaurants and bistros. Of course, on any other occassion, I would find it charming but I just want some FOOD. I finally find a Co-op on the outskirts. I arrive back at the campsite at 5.30 pm.