The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 16 April 2015

SUW Day 3: Waterside to White Laggan Bothy

Thurs 16 April
Distance: 16 miles
Weather: glorious

It's not unusual for people to accuse me of being mad for my tendency to travel on foot and live a chunk of my life outside. I seldom agree, but ever now and then I see a tiny glimpse of their view and this morning was a case in point. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that the fly sheet was so frozen that it held its shape when we took it away from the poles, or whether it was watching Mick struggle to get his feet into his frozen-solid boots that did it. Twenty minutes later we were walking along in the sunshine and suddenly it didn't seem a mad thing to be doing at all.

The photo above was taken on the summit of the diminuitive Glenvernoch Fell, where second breakfast was taken. It wasn't really far enough into the day to warrant our first break, but it was a nice location as well as seeming a likely point to get a phone signal to send yesterday's blog.

Onwards through some slightly squelchy terrain, followed by some (far worse) horribly churned up by cows, we passed by a <1-minute old lamb and reached Bargennan. There, so an information sign informed us, the SUW gave us two route options. We took neither. There's an old path shown on the map, cutting straight through the (now mainly felled) forest, and we decided to have a little adventure by following it. Past experience has told us quite firmly that such paths are not always evident on the ground; moreover, where a forest is concerned they can involve nightmarish obstacles caused by blow downs, and bog. (Hmmm, perhaps some would say, armed with that knowledge, that we were mad to even think of going that way?)

We certainly lost the course of the line as shown on the map, and I'm not sure I'd recommend our route, but we did successfully come out the other side and with far less difficulty than expected.

Approaching the south end of Loch Trool it suddenly became apparent that we were in the environs of a car park; suddenly there were lots of other walkers. Most seemed to be doing a circuit of the loch and it looked a good choice; the views from the south side were excellent - the best of the trip thus far, being now in rugged, lumpy surroundings.

Our lunch location, just under 5 miles before the end of the day, gave us chance to finally defrost and dry the fly sheet, as well as giving us clear water from the adjacent babbling burn. I know that the colour of water is no indication as to its purity for drinking purposes, but it's definitely more pleasing to have clear water, free of debris, than the peaty stuff we've been drinking the last couple of days.

Beyond the loch, the waymarkers surprised me as it transpires that the SUW has been rerouted since my map was published. We followed the new route and it sped us over the pass (stunning views down to Loch Dee) and onwards to White Laggan Bothy.

Arriving so early we considered continuing on, but failed to come up with a compelling reason so to do. So, I'm writing this, sitting behind the bothy on a plastic school chair, with a glimpse of Loch Dee through the trees ahead of me and surroundings in general which bear little resemblance to those of where we woke this morning.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. I think you're mad 'cos I think we all are. I'm a bit jealous.

    1. With hindsight, you were quite right to be jealous ;-)

      'Twas a very good walk

  2. I've stayed in White Laggan a few times over the years and had good nights beside the fire. Galloway is a nice wild area I visit a lot doing the various hills. I've only cherry picked the best sections of the SUW so I've cheated.

    1. As it was such a nice afternoon, it was far nicer outside the bothy than in, so the only benefit we got from choosing to camp outside was the use of the chairs. There certainly wasn't any call to light the fire on this occasion.

      Knowing nothing about this area, I was pleasantly surprised with the surroundings, and will be back at some point to visit some of those hills.

  3. The scenery looks stunning.

    I just started this comment with a thing about madness and common sense and then realised I had valuable material for a post on my own blog, so selfishly retracted, but thanks for the catalyst.

    Funny how we all do things differently. How well disciplined you are - I have never had the presence of mind to dry out a wet tent in the middle of the day but just relied on getting it up in the evening and leaving it for a while to do its own thing.

    I will be very interested to hear how you rate this tek overall at the end - I wouldn't be surprised if it is near the top of your list assuming the weather is fairly kind.

    1. I look forward to your views on madness.

      The drying of the tent is purely because water is heavy and we don't take the time to wipe it down in the morning (it just gets a good shake), so drying it when we're stopped for a break anyway reduces Mick's pack weight for the rest of the day (I carry the inner tent, which doesn't usually get more than a bit damp).

      I shall give my thoughts on the SUW separately, but I think we can say that the weather was more than 'fairly' kind!