If you want to get away from it all on one of Scotland’s long-distance hiking routes then there’s perhaps nowhere better to head to on your next walking holiday than the Southern Upland Way.
The beauty of the highlands is something that you really do have to see to believe, and it’s an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Many people will tell you that a holiday is only a holiday when you’re sunning yourself on a beach and that Scotland just doesn’t afford you such opportunities. But what they’re missing is the beauty of unspoiled nature at its finest.
Stunning Scenery – Being at One with Nature
When you set foot on the Southern Upland Way, you’d be forgiven for forgetting where you are. It feels like a bygone age, one in which you’re free to walk without the constant noise of traffic and planes overhead. Perfect for allowing you to get away from it all for the weekend.
Something that comes highly recommended is taking a good quality SLR camera with you. It might add a couple of extra pounds to your day bag, but the images that you capture will take pride of place on your walls at home for years to come. Just the inspiration you need to get out and go for a walk no matter what the weather is doing!
341 Kilometres of Uninterrupted Nature Hiking
Portpatrick to Cove is one the most beautiful routes anywhere in the UK, and the fact that it’s largely untouched by roads and railways makes it all the better. It’s like a time capsule that’s just sat there waiting to be explored by intrepid walkers just like yourself. Ideal if you love to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a multi-day walk with no distractions.
It’s also worth noting that you’re not obliged to walk the entire route if you don’t have the time. Although, if you can spare a couple of weeks, you’ll be sure to have the time of your life! The great thing about the Way is that you can break it up into half a dozen weekend walking holidays if you want. It’s a great way to fit it in, whilst getting to experience all 4 seasons throughout the year.
History Around Every Corner, Just Waiting to be Explored
There is so much to see and do along the way that you might want to add in a few extra days to take into account stopping for sightseeing. Victorian mansions and manor houses dot the landscape, and many of them are open to the public all year round. A great option if you want to fill your stomach, quench your thirst, and then take a look at how the major landowners in the area used to live in the 19th century.
Galloway Forest Park is an Experience not to be Missed
One of the real highlights of the Way is Galloway Forest Park. It offers you plenty of space to rest your legs, throw down a blanket, and enjoy a picnic. Just what you need to break up a long day of walking in the hills. It’s also a great place to socialise, so why not make a night of it and book some accommodation nearby? That way you’ll be able to mingle with the locals and get a real flavour of what the area is like.
An Undulating Route that’s Ideal for Walkers of all Abilities
Coast to coast walks are epic endeavors by their very nature, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a seasoned professional to get to the end in one piece. Of course, the fitter you are the more you’re going to enjoy it, but there’s really not a very strict fitness requirement to enjoy your time on the Way.
The hills are undulating, which gives you a sense of achievement and plenty of great views, without exhausting you when you’re only halfway to the summit. And because you’re not following the coastline, you won’t have to try and push on through headwinds and swirling coastal gales. In fact, if you start your walk along the Way in early spring, you’ll get plenty of sunny weather, and a nice cooling breeze that will keep your sweat at bay. Ideal if you want to cruise along and enjoy the ride from beginning to end.
The other thing you might want to think about is whether you want to walk it all in one go, or if you want to break it up into smaller walks throughout the year. This is very much up to you, and how confident you feel about walking for a couple of weeks on end if you decide to do it all at once. Just make sure you break in those walking boots and try a few smaller walks closer to home before tackling it. Once you do that, you’ll be all set.
The 3 Best Guidebooks You Should Take a Look at
The Southern Upland Way by Alan Castle is bursting with local knowledge that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. With recommendations on what to stop off and see, you’ll be able to turn your great trek into the adventure of a lifetime as you really immerse yourself in the local culture.
Walking the Southern Upland Way by Alan Castle and Ronald Turnbull is a well-received update on the aforementioned title, and it’s sure to be a trusty guide for the duration of your next walking holiday. It’s full of maps, local history, and stunning photographs, and yet it is compact enough to fit into your day bag without you noticing the extra weight. Just what you need when you’re tackling a coast to coast walk!
Roger Smith’s The Southern Upland Way: Official Guide also comes highly recommended. It gives you plenty of insight into the local history and culture, not to mention a whole set of ideas about what you want to stop off and take a look at along the Way.