The Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is a long-distance walking trail that crosses Southern Scotland from Portpatrick on the Irish Sea coast to Cockburnspath – between Berwick-on-Tweed and Eyemouth – on the North Sea coast. The Southern Uplands themselves comprise, from west to east, the Galloway Hills, Lowther Hills, Moffat Hills, Ettrick Hills and Lammermuirs. We give the overall distance below as 215 miles which is well quoted and which I think worked out for us although we made several diversions from the route as it’s generally mapped. Ultimately however, the distance comes down to individual route choice. Note that routes mapped in Plotaroute are ‘compacted’ to reduce file size by removing extraneous points without loss of navigational accuracy. This has resulted in the overall file being shown as 210 miles though your feet will likely tell you otherwise.

Download the ROUTE FILE by clicking the PLAY button on the map and going to MENU > DOWNLOAD. If the menu disappears, click the crossed arrows to EXPAND the map which should work even if it’s minimised again.

One of the most fascinating things about it is that despite its roughly equal distance from the Anglo-Scottish border and Glasgow-Edinburgh it’s extremely remote and you’re unlikely to encounter many hikers en-route (even day hikers) which was certainly our experience. There are bothies on the trail as well as a much more permissive attitude to wild camping. The main idea was to take advantage of Scotland’s more permissive and progressive laws on wild camping but of which we actually did very little, instead staying in all of the bothies on the trail as well as a few B&Bs. The occasions on which we did camp were memorable for very different reasons.

Stats at a Glance

Distance 346 km/215 miles | Height Gain 8670 m/28444 ft | Maximum Elevation 711 m/2332 ft Lowther Hill (Section 8) | Number of Sections 16 | Average Distance per Section 22 km/13.5 miles | Longest Section Section 3 (Laggangarn to Loch Dee) 40.7 km/25.3 miles | Shortest Section Section 9 (Brattleburn to Moffat) 11.8 km/7.3 miles

The Southern Upland Way – Section by Section

Section 1 Portpatrick to Stranraer  (15 km/9.4 miles)

Section 2 Stranraer to Laggangarn (29.4 km/18.3 miles)

Section 3 Laggangarn to Loch Dee (40.7 km/25.3 miles)

Section 4 Loch Dee to St John’s Town of Dalry (22.5 km/14 miles)

Section 5 St John’s Town of Dalry to Polskeoch (27.4 km/17 miles)

Section 6 Polskeoch to Sanquahar (15.5 km/9.6 miles)

Section 7 Sanquhar to Wanlockhead (12 km/7.5 miles)

Section 8 Wanlockhead to Brattleburn (22.7 km/14.1 miles)

Section 9 Brattleburn to Moffat (11.8 km/7.3 miles)

Section 10 Moffat to Over Phawhope (14 km/8.6 miles)

Section 11 Over Phawhope to St. Mary’s Loch (17.8 km/11 miles)

Section 12 St. Mary’s Loch to Traquair (19 km/12 miles)

Section 13 Traquair to Melrose (28.7 km/17.9 miles)

Section 14 Melrose to Lauder (15.6 km/9.7 miles)

Section 15 Lauder to Abbey St. Bathans (37 km/23 miles)

Section 16 Abbey St. Bathans to Cockburnspath (16 km/10 miles)

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