Day 9 Leadhills to Sanquhar – about 7 miles

Breakfast was OK, if I may use faint praise to damn it. When your mug sticks to the plastic tablecloth and a layer of brown dust covers the cruet, you don’t award a five-star rating.

For the first time on the SUW, cloud cover was total and a cool wind blew in my face as I ambled up the road to resume my trek at Wanlockhead. I strolled down the narrow, steep-sided valley where sheep keep the grass under control, past Scotland’s highest inn and the mining museum, and through the in situ remnants of the lead mining industry.

Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village

The disruption of the landscape, whilst locally intense, affects only a small area below the village, where there was enough to entertain and inform me as I strolled down the broadening valley and away from the houses.

Remnants of lead mining at Wanlockhead

Grouse moors, on the other hand, have a greater visual impact through the patchwork of heather management. Without past and current land uses, the views would be so different: the hills, for example, would be smothered in dense, scrubby vegetation. Would we prefer that?

Rain began falling as I climbed out of the valley. It was to continue for more than twenty-four hours. My journey today was a short one, and I decided to make it quick. By lunchtime I reached Sanquhar and dropped my rucksack at my lodgings while I splashed round the small town and its environs, ensuring I’d know my way out for my longest mileage next day.

Sanguhar is a small place with everything one needs, and it has a rail station with trains to Glasgow and Newcastle, which is handy if you want to walk about half the SUW.

Leaving Wanlockhead

Across the moor to Sanquhar

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