Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is a 338-kilometre (210 mi) long distance coast-to-coast trail in southern Scotland. The route links Portpatrick in the west and Cockburnspath in the east via the hills of the Southern Uplands.[1][2][3] It opened in 1984, and was the UK’s first officially recognised coast-to-coast long-distance route.[4] The Way is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and is the longest of the 29 Great Trails.[1] The Southern Upland Way meets with seven of the other Great Trails: the Annandale Way, the Berwickshire Coastal Path, the Borders Abbeys Way, the Cross Borders Drove Road, the Mull of Galloway Trail, the Romans and Reivers Route and St Cuthbert's Way.[4]

The path is maintained by the local authorities of the two main council areas through which it passes: Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council;[5] a short section in the Lowther Hills lies in South Lanarkshire.[6] It is primarily intended for walkers, but many sections are suitable for mountain bikers;[7] some sections are also suitable for horseriders.[8] About 80,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 1,000 complete the entire route.[9]

The Southern Upland Way forms part of the E2 European long-distance path, which runs for 3,010 miles (4,850 km) from Galway to Nice.[10]

Southern Upland Way
Portpatrick start of southern upland way
The start of the Southern Upland Way in Portpatrick.
Length338 km (210 mi)[1]
LocationSouthern Uplands, Scotland
DesignationScotland's Great Trails
TrailheadsPortpatrick (54°50′35″N 5°07′12″W / 54.843°N 5.120°W)
Cockburnspath (55°55′55″N 2°21′47″W / 55.932°N 2.363°W)
UseWalking, horse riding, cycling
Elevation gain/loss7,775 metres (25,509 ft) gain.[1]
Hiking details
SeasonAll year
Waymarker at Southern Upland Way
Typical marker

The route

The path visits Castle Kennedy, New Luce, Bargrennan, St John's Town of Dalry, Sanquhar, Wanlockhead, Beattock, St Mary's Loch, Traquair, Galashiels, Lauder, Abbey St Bathans, and Longformacus en route. The Sir Walter Scott Way shares the last five places with the Southern Upland Way. The Annandale Way[11] running through Annandale from the source of the River Annan to the sea joins the Southern Upland Way briefly at Beattock.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Trails". Scotland's Great Trails. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  2. ^ Southern Upland Way website
  3. ^ Long Distance Walkers Association's page on the Southern Upland Way
  4. ^ a b "Southern Upland Way". Scotland's Great Trails. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Team SUW". The Southern Upland Way. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  6. ^ Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50000 map. Sheet 78 (Nithsdale & Annandale).
  7. ^ "Cycling". The Southern Upland Way. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Equestrian". The Southern Upland Way. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Scotland's networks of paths and trails: key research findings" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. August 2018. p. 6. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  10. ^ "E2 Atlantic – Mediterranean". Ramblers Association. 2012. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  11. ^ Annandale Way website
  12. ^ The Long Distance Walkers Association – Annandale Way


  • Smith, Roger. The Southern Upland Way, Official Guide. Edinburgh: Mercat Press. ISBN 978-0-11-495170-2.
  • Writing the Way – A collection of Journeys along the Southern Upland Way, published to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the route in 2005, available from the Southern Uplands Partnership or from

External links

Coordinates: 55°28′N 3°12′W / 55.467°N 3.200°W

A1107 road

The A1107 is a road in south-east Scotland, in the Scottish Borders. It is a non-trunk route from near Cockburnspath to near Burnmouth.

It follows the route Burnmouth - Eyemouth - Coldingham - Old Cambus - Pease Bay - Cockburnspath.

Only at the southern end are there any settlements (Eyemouth and Coldingham). The route is closer to the east coast than the main A1 road inland, therefore providing a touristic alternative route along the sea shore.

The route offers an excellent view of the relatively flat area to the east of Dunbar

(East Lothian) namely the Torness Power Station and the Isle of May at the end of the Firth of Forth and across to Fife.

The road contains what was once the highest bridge in the Europe, a masonry structure over the gorge that leads out to the nearby Pease Bay, now a holiday caravan site. At its southern end, this bridge crosses the Southern Upland Way and Sir Walter Scott Way long distance footpaths.

There was a proposal to construct a wind farm straddling the road consisting of 22 wind turbines with a maximum height of 76 m. The planning officials of the Scottish Borders Council recommended refusal of the application of the developers PM Renewable Ltd. The planning application was rejected by a unanimous decision of the Scottish Borders Council.The project, however, seemingly has been turned into reality with several wind turbines since around 2012 in fact being situated on either side of the road near to Moor House farm on Coldingham Moor.

Abbey St Bathans

Abbey St Bathans is a parish in the Lammermuir district of Berwickshire, in the eastern part of the Scottish Borders. Unique in its topography, it is situated in a long winding steep wooded valley that follows the Whiteadder Water. The parish had a population of 106 at the 2011 Census..


Bargrennan (Scottish Gaelic: Bar Grianain, meaning height of the summer house or sunny spot) is a village in Dumfries and Galloway, in the south west of Scotland. It is located 9 miles northwest of Newton Stewart by the River Cree and on the A714 road to Girvan. The Southern Upland Way runs through the village and the Glentrool Forest, managed by the Forestry Commission, is to the north-east of the village.


Beattock is a village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, approximately 1⁄2 mile (0.80 km) south-west of Moffat and 19 miles (31 km) north of Dumfries.

Beattock was historically served by the A74 road and the West Coast Main Line, however the road has since been upgraded to the A74(M) motorway and no longer passes through the village. Beattock railway station was closed in 1972.

Beattock Summit is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) to the north of the village in the neighbouring administrative area of South Lanarkshire. At 1,033 ft (315 m) it is the highest point on both the M74, and on the West Coast Main Line within Scotland. The poet W. H. Auden's 1936 work Night Mail makes reference to the summit.

The Southern Upland Way and the Annandale Way run close to the village.

Berwickshire Coastal Path

The Berwickshire Coastal Path is a walking route some 48 kilometres (30 mi) long. It follows the eastern coastline of Scotland from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders to Berwick upon Tweed, just over the border in England. At Cockburnspath the path links with the Southern Upland Way and the John Muir Way.The coastline traversed by the path is nationally and internationally important for seabirds, coastal flora and marine life: much of the coastline is protected as a Special Protection Area, and there is a National Nature Reserve at St Abbs Head which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Strong walkers can walk the route in two days, although the walk can be split into shorter sections to allow more time to explore the towns and villages along the way.The path was developed by Scottish Borders Council, and is now designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage. The route is waymarked, and there are four memorial statues at Eyemouth, Burnmouth, St Abbs and Cove to commemorate the 189 lives lost in the Eyemouth disaster of 14th October 1881, when a hurricane devastated the fishing fleet. Twelve bronze trail markers have also been erected along the route, linking the memorial sculptures.


Cockburnspath () is a village in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It lies near the North Sea coast between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh. It is at the eastern extremity of the Southern Upland Way a long-distance footpath from the west to east coast of Scotland. It is also the termini of the Sir Walter Scott Way and the Berwickshire Coastal Path. At the nearby village of Cove, there is a small fishing harbour.

Cove, Scottish Borders

Cove is a village in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, close to Cockburnspath, Dunglass, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Bilsdean, and, further afield, Dunbar and Eyemouth. It is approximately 36 miles east of Edinburgh (slightly South-East) and is about 8 miles from Dunbar. It is 18 miles north-west from the Scotland/England border.

The climate is the average Scottish climate, with winters being cold and wet and summers being variable, with days of rain and days of temperatures over 20 degrees.

The nearest railway station is Dunbar which is on the main East Coast line from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh. There are regular trains from Dunbar to Edinburgh and southwards to Berwick-upon-Tweed as well. The nearest bus station is in Cockburnspath which takes you northwards to Edinburgh and terminates at St Andrews Square, or southwards which terminates in Blyth.

The rocks that form the approach to the harbour are limestones and sandstones of Carboniferous age. They dip sharply to the N/NW due to the downthrust of the Cove fault about half a mile to the SE. Beyond the fault, older strata of the Old Red Sandstone of Devonian age can be seen.

The natural harbour was improved in 1831 by the building of a breakwater. Access is via an unusual tunnel which was excavated by hand, the pick marks are clear to see.

Eleven men from Cove lost their lives in the great East Coast Fishing Disaster of 1881, and there is a memorial at the top of the cliffs.

The village has been described by The AA Guide to the British Coast as having more of a Cornish than Scottish air about it. It has no school, shops or post office, although it was knocked down to build new holiday homes. There is a shop and post office nearby in the village of Cockburnspath which also has a school. For amenities, such as a pool or a gym, you need to travel to Dunbar which is also has an ASDA supermarket.

The nearby beaches of Pease Bay (1.4 miles) and Thorntonloch (3 miles) are good for surfing.

Cove is privately owned by the architect Ben Tindall and the Cove Harbour Conservation Ltd.

The Southern Upland Way passes through Cove along the headland and the road in Cove. Nearby also is the John Muir Way which passes through Dunbar.

Dye Water

The Dye Water (Scottish Gaelic: Uisge Dhàidh) is a river in the Lammermuir Hills in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It rises in the Hope Hills, continues along the East Lothian boundary, a mile north east of Seenes Law, then east to Longformacus. The Dye Water joins the Whiteadder Water and completes its 12.5 mile journey.

The Sir Walter Scott Way and the Southern Upland Way long distance footpaths also pass through Longformacus.


The former Royal Burgh of Lauder (, Scottish Gaelic: Labhdar) is a town in the Scottish Borders in the historic county of Berwickshire. On the Southern Upland Way, the burgh lies 27 miles (43 km) southeast of Edinburgh, on the western edge of the Lammermuir Hills.


Legerwood is a village by the Eden Water, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, near Lauder, near the Southern Upland Way.

Legerwood Kirk is outside the village and has been there since at least 1127.

Places nearby include Boon Farm, Gordon, Greenlaw, Kelso, Melrose, Westruther, Earlston.


Longformacus (Scottish Gaelic: Longphort Mhacais) is a small village in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north-west of Duns, in the Lammermuir Hills. The Dye Water runs through the village, flowing east towards its confluence with the Whiteadder Water nearby.

In the vicinity are traces of an ancient fortification at Runklie or Wrinklaw and the Mutiny Stones cairn.The opera Lucia di Lammermoor, written by Gaetano Donizetti and based on Sir Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor, was set in Longformacus.The Southern Upland Way, a Long Distance Route which crosses southern Scotland, passes through the village, and the Sir Walter Scott Way from Moffat to Cockburnspath passes through Longformacus.

Lowther Hills

The Lowther Hills, also sometimes known as the Lowthers, are an extensive area of hill country in the Southern Uplands of Scotland, though some sub ranges of hills in this area also go under their own local names - see "Hill Walking" below. They form a roughly rhomboidal or lozenge shape on the map with the acute angles being to north and south. It has river valleys along its boundaries to north east (Clydesdale) and south west (Nithsdale) which carry the two largest arterial routes northwards into the west side of the Central Belt of Scotland. A string of small towns have long since developed along these routes. Most of the Lowther Hills lie in the Administrative County of Dumfries and Galloway, though part in the Administrative County of South Lanarkshire eats into them around the village of Leadhills and the Daer Reservoir.

New Luce

New Luce is a civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. It lies in the traditional county of Wigtownshire, and is about 10 miles (16 km) in length and 5 miles (8.0 km) in breath, being the upper part of the original Glenluce Parish. New Luce is shown as a civil parish on John Ainslie's county map of 1782.New Luce is also the principal village within the parish. The coast to coast walk, the Southern Upland Way, passes close to the village. The Covenanter Alexander Peden spent time preaching in the village.

Romans and Reivers Route

The Romans and Reivers Route is a long-distance path in southern Scotland, linking the Forest of Ae in Dumfries and Galloway with Hawick in the Scottish Borders. The route, which is 84 km long, uses forest tracks, drovers' roads and some sections of public road to link Roman roads across the border country of Scotland. It takes its name from these roads, and the fact that it passes through areas associated with the Border Reivers, the name given to cattle raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border between late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The route is intended to be suitable for walkers, cyclists and horseriders, having been specifically developed to include features such as self-closing gates.The Romans and Reivers Route was originally developed by British Horse Society Scotland, and is now managed by the local authorities of the two council areas through which it passes: Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council. The route is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and links with four other Great Trails:

Annandale Way at Beattock

Borders Abbeys Way at Hawick

Cross Borders Drove Road at Hawick

Southern Upland Way, which shares sections of path with the Romans and Reivers Route around Beattock

Sanquhar Castle

Sanquhar Castle, now a ruin, was built by the Crichton family in the 13th century. Situated on the southern approach to the former royal burgh of Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, south west Scotland, it sits on the trail of the Southern Upland Way, and is passed by hundreds of visitors who walk through the grounds each year.

The castle is a stronghold bounded on the west by the River Nith, to the north by a burn, and made strong by a deep ditch running the remainder of the boundary. It was visited by many notable figures including Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Edward I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI.

Sanquhar Castle was sold by the Crichtons in the mid 17th century to Sir William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry, who established the fairytale pink sandstone Drumlanrig Castle ten miles south of Sanquhar near Thornhill. From then on the castle at Sanquhar began to steadily crumble to a ruin, until 1895 when John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, purchased it and attempted to enthuse a restoration of his ancestral home, following successful restorations at Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch in Wales. This was undertaken by Robert Weir Schultz and the squarer and more structurally sound sections rebuilt at that time can clearly be identified.

Work ended following the death of the Marquess in 1900, and what is left of the site is a mix of restoration and original stonework, but still very far from any sense of completion. It is designated a scheduled monument.

Scottish National Trail

The Scottish National Trail is a 864-kilometre (537 mi) long-distance trail between Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, and Cape Wrath in the far north of the Scottish Highlands.

The trail starts in Kirk Yetholm, at the end of the Pennine Way. The route combines sections of other well known long distance walking routes including St Cuthbert's Way, the Southern Upland Way, the Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway, the West Highland Way, the Rob Roy Way and the Cape Wrath Trail.Created by walker Cameron McNeish, it is the first walking route to run the length of Scotland. The route takes two months to walk. McNeish said he was inspired to launch the trail after visiting Nepal in 2011, when they had just announced the creation of the Great Himalayan Trail. The trail was officially launched on 30 October 2012 by First Minister Alex Salmond.

St John's Town of Dalry

St. John's Town of Dalry, usually referred to simply as Dalry (/dæl'raɪ/ / 'dal-RYE'), is a town in Dumfries and Galloway, in the historic county of Kirkcudbrightshire. It is located 16 miles (26 km) from Castle Douglas along the A713 road, and is at the southern terminus of the A702 road (to Edinburgh). It is located on an old pilgrimage route to Whithorn and St Ninian's Cave and named after the Knights of St John. The town was the centre of the 1666 Pentland Rising The village is sited on a bend of the Water of Ken, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the northern edge of Loch Ken.Parish Church (Church of Scotland ) of 1831 by William McCandlish approached via an avenue of lime trees said to have been planted in 1828.

Detached, at side of the kirk is the Gordon Aisle of 1546, the burial place of the Gordons of Lochinvar.

St. Johns Town makes a good base for exploring the surrounding region, the Southern Upland Way, and the nearby Galloway Hills, including the peaks of Corserine and Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. St. Johns Town of Dalry was recently named 'Bird Town', to celebrate the work of renowned bird artist and writer Donald Watson who lived in Dalry for many years.

The Glenkens

The Glenkens (Scottish Gaelic: An Gleann Cain) is located midway along the western section of the Southern Upland way in Galloway, Scotland. The Glenkens is made up of the parishes of Carsphairn, Dalry, Kells, Parton and Balmaclellan. The name comes from the River Ken which runs through the valley before flowing into the River Dee and then down to the sea.

Watch Water

The Watch Water is a river in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It rises in the Lammermuir Hills, around 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of Longformacus, and flows generally eastward to its confluence with the Dye Water, around 700 metres (2,300 ft) west of Longformacus. The Dye Water flows into the Whiteadder Water, which in turn is a tributary of the River Tweed.

National Trails
(England and Wales)
Scotland's Great Trails
Long-distance path
(Northern Ireland)


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