Walking in the Southern Uplands
44 best hill days in southern Scotland
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Guidebook to 44 varied day walks and over 100 summits in the Southern Uplands of Scotland, stretching south-west from Edinburgh to the English border, including the Galloway and Pentland Hills. Between 2 and 29km, there is something for all seasons and all abilities in remote and rugged hill country.
- spring to autumn, plus winter days with good weather and snow conditions
- Newton Stewart and Glentrool, Nithsdale (Dumfriesshire), Biggar, Moffat, Peebles, Edinburgh, Kirk Yetholm
- hill walks below 900m, ranging from straightforward on good paths (Lowther Hill, Pentlands) to pathless and occasionally quite rugged (Kielder, Loch Enoch)
- Must See
- Merrick and the Galloway Hills, Hart Fell and Devil's Beeftub, White Coomb and Grey Mare's Tail waterfall, Pentland Hills, Arthur's Seat, Hen Hole of the Cheviot, River Tweed
This guidebook describes 44 routes and over 100 summits stretching across the Southern Uplands of Scotland, stretching south-west from Edinburgh to the English border, including the Galloway and Pentland Hills. The walks range between 2 and 29km, suitable for walkers of all abilities.
The Scottish Southern Uplands is a range that is about as big as the English Pennines. It is wild hill country, with over 80 hills of 2000ft or more, and it boasts a real remoteness that is difficult to find elsewhere. All hillwalkers should experience these wonderfully characterful landscapes: green and gentle, but with hidden surprises and remote escapes.
The routes are suitable from spring to autumn, and on winter days with good weather and snow conditions. Each route provides OS mapping, information on distance, ascent, time, maximum altitude and terrain, as well as details of any variants or shortcuts. With notes on points of interest along the way as well as on transport and accommodation, the guide gives all the information walkers need.
Boundaries of the Borders
Rolling – but also rocky
Lists of hills
When to go
Tourist information and other facilities
Compass and GPS
Safety in the mountains
Using this guide
Walk 1 Girvan and Grey Hill
Walk 2 Ailsa Craig
Walk 3 Cairnsmore of Fleet
Walk 4 Minnigaff Hills
Walk 5 Merrick and Murder Hole
Walk 6 The Dungeon Hills
Walk 7 Rhinns of the Kells
Walk 8 Cairnsmore of Carsphairn
Walk 9 Screel Hill
2 Nithsdale and Lanarkshire
Walk 10 Afton Water
Walk 11 Criffel
Walk 12 Queensberry
Walk 13 Well Hill, Durisdeer
Walk 14 Lowther Hill by Well and Enterkin passes
Walk 15 Tinto
Walk 16 Culter Fells
Walk 17 Broughton Heights
Walk 18 Devil’s Beef Tub
Walk 19 Ettrick Head
Walk 20 Hart Fell
Walk 21 White Coomb
Walk 22 White Coomb and Hart Fell
Walk 23 Loch of the Lowes and Ward Law
Walk 24 The Wiss and St Mary’s Loch
4 Manor Hills to the Tweed
Walk 25 Broad Law
Walk 26 Manor Head
Walk 27 Cademuir Hill and the Tweed
Walk 28 Glen Sax Circuit
Walk 29 Lee Pen and Windlestraw Law
Walk 30 Three Brethren and Minch Moor
Walk 31 Eildon Hills and the Tweed
Walk 32 Rubers Law
Walk 33 Pentlands
Walk 34 Arthur’s Seat
Walk 35 Blackhope Scar
Walk 36 Lammer Law
Walk 37 Abbey St Bathans and Cockburn Law
Walk 38 North Berwick Law
6 The Border Ridge to Cheviot
Walk 39 Langholm Heights
Walk 40 Cauldcleuch Head
Walk 41 Peel Fell and Kielder Stone
Walk 42 Hownam Law
Walk 43 Windy Gyle
Walk 44 The Cheviot and Hen Hole
Appendix A Walk summary table
Appendix B Information and facilities by area
Appendix C Scots glossary
The mapping in this guide is based on the Ordnance Survey’s Landranger series at 1:50,000. However, anyone walking in the hills needs to be able to see a larger area of land than the small extracts on these pages, so as to be aware of escape routes and neighbouring glens (in case you come down the wrong side of the hill). It is recommended that walkers take with them a paper map sheet (or electronic equivalent).
The 1:50,000 Landranger mapping covers the area of this guide on sheets 66 (Edinburgh), 67 (Duns), 72* (Upper Clyde), 73* (Peebles), 74* (Kelso), 76 (Girvan), 77* (Dalmellington), 78* (Nithsdale), 79* (Hawick), 80* (Cheviot Hills), 83 (Newton Stewart) and 84 (Dumfries), with the starred sheet numbers being more important.
The area is also covered on the OS Explorer maps at 1:25,000 scale. Their main advantage is in showing fences and walls, along with much extra detail in the valleys. Against this, they are bulkier than the Landranger maps and considerably less clear to read. Refer to the box at the start of individual walks for the relevant sheet numbers.
While either scale of Ordnance Survey mapping is good, the mapping by Harveys is even better on the ground that they cover. Their maps are specifically designed for walkers and are beautifully clear and legible, mark paths where they actually exist on the ground, and do not disintegrate when damp. Their 1:25,000 Superwalker ‘Galloway Hills’ covers the main range, but not Cairnsmore of Fleet; the 1:40,000 Superwalker ‘Cheviot Hills’ covers the book’s three final routes. Harveys have also mapped the Pentlands and Edinburgh. If a Harveys map is available, details are given in the box at the start of the walk.
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"You can always rely on a Cicerone guide to show you the way, with its clear maps and directions, while also entertaining you with concise stories, inspiring future trips with great photographs and somehow remaining genuinely pocket-sized. This latest offering, subtitled "The best hill days in Southern Scotland", does not disappoint on any count."
Find this review in the May/June issue of Scotland Outdoors magazine.
This guide is useful for both the occasional visitor and for someone who wants to explore some of the lesser known and wilder areas of Scotland.
The author, Ronald Turnbull, is again an expert in the local area with an in depth knowledge of every nook and cranny and with 44 walks there is something for everyone.
...There is plenty of detail in the walk descriptions and the mapping is detailed enough to warrant leaving the main map behind for short walks. The new style feels fresh and modern and my wife enjoys walking in this type of terrain so the guide has piqued our interest for a short holiday in the region. So all in all another great guide to add to your collection and the area certainly calls for closer exploration.
Read the full review on the Climbing Gear Reviews Blog.
Multi award-winning guidebook author Ronald Turnbull is not one to mince his words. Somewhat controversially, but entirely typically, he claims the Southern Uplands are the UK's fourth great range of hills, surpassed only by the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands, in this superb, comprehensive and entertaining guide.
There's plenty for Ronald to go at and... all the stories of these walks are beautifully told in Ronald's familiar rollicking style."
Read the full review here: Outdoor Focus, Winter 2015
Roly Smith, Outdoor Focus
"Walking these hills offers an opportunity that is hard to find in other remote parts of the UK – the real adventure of wild hill walking, with no one for miles around.
The guidebook provides each walk with a wealth of detail; from distance, timing and ascent information, to the terrain and where to park, all accompanied by annotated OS maps and alternative routes.Other information, such as how to get to and around the area, and advice on preparation and accommodation, or background knowledge on the range’s geology, history and wildlife, is also included.
The result is an essential guide to discovering the best of the Southern Uplands."
"The book fired me up to visit some of the rolling hills I'd neglected for a while... I really liked this guidebook and it will be in the top of my rucksack when I aim south from Edinburgh!"
Read the full review on Steven Fallon's website.
"Walking in the Southern Uplands" by Ronald Turnbull is a lovely little book that shows just how good a walking guide can be. Ronald Turnbull is a man whose name and books will be known to anyone who loves the Scottish hills and mountains, and whose knowledge of the subject is deeply impressive. And the books of Cicerone Press are likewise very familiar to and loved by hillwalkers, in Scotland and far beyond it. This book is the first we have seen that takes a new approach by Cicerone. In the past their output could be characterised as "excellent books in rather drab covers". As the cover image shows, they are now giving their books covers that allow them to stand out far better on the bookshelf: and, it might be said, do far better justice to the quality of the contents.
For many visitors to Scotland, the Southern Uplands are the hills they drive through on the M74, or glimpse from the A1, while en route to the "real" Scotland. They have been overlooked for far too long, and Ronald Turnbull does much between the covers of this book to help address that neglect. The area it covers includes some of the most remote and quietest parts of Scotland. And now many pub quizzers would know that Scotland's highest village (Wanlockhead) is in Dumfries and Galloway? Or, as the author tells us in his introduction, that there are more than 80 hills over 2,000ft in height in the Southern Uplands?
The content begins with an introduction of the sort that is obligatory in walking guides, albeit a well written and informative one. We then move onto 44 sections, each covering a different walk. Each walk comes with essential facts, an often amusing introduction by the author, a route guide, a nicely produced colour map, and a couple of very good colour photographs. The included walks are widely geographically spread across the area. Notable hills such as Merrick, Hart Fell and Cheviot are included, and a particular attraction is the wide variety of the walks on offer, from challengingly long to very short, and from hill climb and ridge walks to river and coastal walks. Plus an island walk, on Ailsa Craig, and, arguably, a city walk, taking in Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.
Undiscovered Scotland, Jan 2015
Ronald Turnbull writes regularly for TGO, Lakeland Walker, Trail and Cumbria magazines. His previous books include Across Scotland on Foot, Long Days in Lakeland and Welsh 3000ft Challenges. He has written many other Cicerone guides, including Walking in the Lowther Hills, The Book of the Bivvy and Not the West Highland Way.View Articles and Books by Ronald Turnbull
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