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Colette and Ghislain Gregoire - 2010

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NameColette and Ghislain Gregoire
CountryBelgium
MonthMay 2010
Duration12 Days
SectionPortpatrick to Moffat
No in Group2
Description
Following hikes in the Highlands from Fort William to Cape Wrath in 2008/2009, we were wondering if a walk in the Uplands would be as rewarding. There are effectively striking differences: in the Highlands there are magnificent landscapes, but the stages are very long and the walks are strenuous.

Along the SUW between Portpatrick and Moffat, we saw nice expansive views and the walking in the hills is easy. The information along the way is abundant with interesting leaflets and explanation panels. The search for waymerks brings an additional incentive, and last but not least the vehicle support with the subsequent shorter stages allow the walkers to devote more time to visit villages (Sanquhar, Dalry, New Galloway, Wanlockhead...) and to explore the countryside at a slower pace.

We have been very happy with the accommodations in particular at the Garage in Wanlockhead where Mrs Williamson's hospitality fulfills the wishes of the walkers. We fully appreciated the comfort, food and friendliness at the Ken Bridge Hotel (New Galloway), at House O Hill (Bargrennan) and at Kenmuir Arms Hotel (New Luce). A special point is in order about the Chlenry Farmhouse (Castle Kennedy) where our hostess prepared a gorgeous evening meal. All lunch packs were excellent.

At Newark Farm in Sanquhar we got a warm welcome and a comfortable room but unfortunately no evening meal. We were instead driven to a place where the food quality was rather poor.

Coming back to the walk itself, we highly recommend it to all reasonably well prepared walkers. It should be stressed however that, despite the adequate waymarking, walkers need to take the basic precautions to cope with the terrain and climate (guide book, maps, compass or GPS, "all-weather" gear for rain, wind and snow, food).

Fortunately we had twelve days of good weather, windy and cloudy at times but no rain. The whole stretch between Portpatrick and Beattock is splendid. The walk between Loch Dee and Craigenbay is rather tiresome along a rough and monotonous ballasted road for many kilometers. Let us hope that future replantations will also allow for a renewed path. We saw and we heard a lot of birds, we admired many old trees and we were explained the management of the forests.

Overall we like to walk across moorlands and open hills, crossing fences and dykes. It was a real pleasure to climb hills. In our sense the SUW is perfect.
 
On returning home, we look back at the many pictures taken and we already dream of proceeding further east next year. We thank Andrew Case for his efficient planning all along the hike and we highly recommend its services, advice and help.

Colette and Ghislain Grégoire
Genappe, Belgium