Desiccated on the Southern Uplands

by backpackingbongos

I got back late last night after a cracking weekend backpacking the empty hills close to Moffat.  This is a great landscape to emerse yourself in for a few days and a place to escape the Bank holiday crowds.  If these hills were south of the border they would be a National park and absolutely heaving with people, instead they were almost deserted this weekend.

Sunny weather was forecast so a high level route was planned and walked, but I did not count on the effects of this weekends wind.  It was absolutely ferocious at times and made walking hard work.  On the last evening I pitched my tent in a sheltered sheep fold and strolled to the top of a nearby hill.  The wind was so strong I had to lie-down a few times as I thought that I would be lifted off my feet and deposited in the next valley.  My heart was pounding as I struggled to make my way down again, it absolutely bloody terrified me as a clung to a fence for safety!  With all the sun and dry wind I am now feeling positively desiccated.

I am pleased that I managed 38 miles with 3000 metres of ascent in three and a bit days on mostly pathless terrain, as I wanted to test out my knees before the TGO challenge.  They did pretty well, only complaining at the end of each day or on particularly long descents.  If you want a high level route this is one to do as I did not drop below 450 metres for 28 miles.

It was great that on Saturday morning Pete from Writes of Way and his wife Fiona joined me for a couple of hours, Dougal their labrador puppy in tow.  Excellent company before they peeled off to return to their car.

Anyway a full write up later on in the week.  The following photo of me struggling up yet another steep grassy hill was kindly donated by Pete.


10 Comments to “Desiccated on the Southern Uplands”

  1. Great post title! Can’t wait to read the full fandango, though I’ll have to as I’ll be in me tent for the next few days… You don’t really look like you’re struggling up the incline in that pic, you look like you’re sproinking up it as gaily as a spring lambkin. On the subject of which, down the glen from the bothy a ewe popped out an oven-fresh lamb slathered in blood and goo right in front of Dougal; glad I had him on the lead…

  2. James, I enjoyed my backpack around the Southern Uplands from Moffat to Grey Mare’s tail waterfall. As you say completely deserted ! Incidentally that was when I first got my knee pain coming down from Loch Skeen to the car park at Grey Mare’s tail.
    Look forward to your trip report.

  3. Sounds like a grand trip altogether, glad to hear the knees bore up. look fwd to reading more…

  4. I had my first backpacking trip in this area recently and loved every minute of it. It’s great to walk without too many paths and cairns every few feet. People are scarce too.
    All the fences didn’t bother me at all. In fact the scenery is so good the fences are easy to forget.
    I look forward to reading the full post. Thanks.

  5. That looks like a fantastic trip. I like the idea of those 28 miles all above 450 meters. It’s been very windy down in the Derby area too, so you wouldn’t have escaped it down here either. How was camping given the wind?

  6. I have to say that I am deeply jealous of your next trip Pete, it is Scottish Island after Scottish Island for you these days. Not a bad old life eh? I bet the sheep giving birth was a suprise, was Dougal keen to go and investigate?

    That is a good spot that you visited Mark, the waterfall is pretty impressive. No suprised that it got your knee going as it is a pretty steep descent.

    It was fab Dave, the write up will be along soon (ish).

    A place to return to Alan? The fences are no bother, easy to hop over, although half marked on the map did not exist on the ground. Could make navigation tricky in mist.

    Hi Charlie, camping was not too bad as I managed to get fairly sheltered pitches below the high hills. 28 miles above 450 metres is a fine way to spend a couple of days.

  7. Enjoy the TGOC, James. It looks as if you’ve got fit enough to try for a 2000 metre day – no Challenge would be complete without one!
    Have fun.

  8. Nice one – I was hoping to backpack that area some point this year – but that plan has been put to bed 😦

  9. The Southern Uplands are a nice part of the country, aren’t they and as you say, usually pretty empty.

  10. Thanks Martin, don’t know about a 2000 metre day though!

    Hi Terry, any reason why not going to the Southern Uplands now?

    A lovely part of the country Shiela, even on a Bank holiday they are pretty deserted.

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