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Loch of the Lowes

Walk No: 31

Start: The Hogg Monument at the southern end of St Mary's Loch, on the A708.

Finish: The Hogg Monument at the southern end of St Mary's Loch, on the A708.

• Distance: 5 miles

• Height Gain:

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Moderate

• Terrain: This is a fairly steady walk with one or two steep sections. Although quite short, it takes you over some rough and muddy ground in places, and boots are recommended.
• Toilets: Next to the Café

• Refreshments: At the café near to the car park or at the Tibble Shiels Inn.

Route Description
From the car park, walk down the road between the two lochs, passing Tibbie Shiels Inn on your left. Tibbie was the first innkeeper when the inn opened in the 1820s. She was the widow of a molecatcher, Robert Richardson, who died young and left her with six children to raise. Her hospitality became famous, and many literary people visited the inn, including James Hogg, Sir Walter Scott and Christopher North.

Continue past the information board for the Southern Upland Way and follow SUW waymarkers past Crossleuch Farm and onto a track that winds its way up the hill. After 2km (1.2 miles) you leave the track and follow the path down to the right and across the burn (still on SUW). Continue uphill for about 50 metres, then cross a stile and follow the SUW path downhill and over the bridge spanning the Crosscleuch Burn.

Pass the ruins of Riskinhope Hope cottage, turn right and climb steadily up the side of Pikestone Rig. (A 'hope' is a valley, and place names with a 'hope' element, found in the Borders, indicate an upper or smaller valley off the main valley.) The path levels out and then drops slightly to a junction of paths. Leave the SUW here and take a path to the right, which crosses a saddle and leads you along the side of Peat Hill before dropping down towards Riskinhope Farm. On reaching the first gateway, do not pass through but turn right along the line of the fence before descending to the side of Loch of the Lowes.

Turn right along the lochside and follow the path to the end of the loch. Pass through the gate and cross the footbridge over the Thirlstone Burn to exit onto the roadway opposite the Tibbie Shiels Inn. Turn left here and make your way over the stone bridge and back to the car park.