Southern Upland Way

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Running across the bottom of Scotland, the Southern Upland Way traverses 212 of one of the least populated areas of Britain. It's also Britain's only official coast to coast walking route.

Opened in 1984 the Southern Upland Way is a great challenge for walkers and is especially ideal for the walker who wants to wild camp or stay in remote bothies.

And in the summer of 2011, that's exactly how I did it.

You can read about my journey below, or get 'The Secret Coast to Coast' to get extra bonus content!

The Secret Coast to Coast: Walking Scotland’s Southern Upland Way

Read about my journey in book format. Available in paperback, and for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Kobo, Nook, Google Play and more.

Southern Upland Way Introduction

Published 9 January 2012

It’s probably fair to say that more people have a Great Aunt Mabel then have heard of Scotland’s official Coast to Coast walking route.

Southern Upland Way Day 1: Portpatrick to Stranraer

Published 12 January 2012

Setting off on the first day for coastal walks, tarmac and a deer.

Southern Upland Way Day 2: Stranraer to New Luce

Published 16 January 2012

Ruined castles, sinister cows and homemade haggis all in abundance as the journey continues.

Southern Upland Way Day 3: New Luce to Bargrennan

Published 19 January 2012

A good plan quickly falls apart when a bothy is reached at lunchtime, and no wild camping spots can be found as the Southern Upland Way heads in to the forest.

Southern Upland Way Day 4: Bargrennan to Loch Dee

Published 23 January 2012

A trip through the largest forest park in Britain leads to a remote bothy with an alcohol problem.

Southern Upland Way Days 5 and 6: Loch Dee to St John’s Town of Dalry (and a day off)

Published 26 January 2012

The rain it does come down as I struggle on from White Laggan bothy to St John’s Town of Dalry.

Southern Upland Way Day 7: St John’s Town of Dalry to Poleskeoch

Published 30 January 2012

A wet and boggy traipse across the moors and through forests where I actually see other people walking the Southern Upland Way (gasp!)

Southern Upland Way Day 8: Poleskeoch to Sanquhar

Published 2 February 2012

Setting off from a remote bothy, I head to the town of Sanquhar and its closed museum.

Southern Upland Way Day 9: Sanquhar to Wanlockhead

Published 6 February 2012

The Southern Upland Way arrives at the highest village in Scotland; the former lead mining centre of Wanlockhead.

Southern Upland Way Day 10: Wanlockhead to Brattleburn Bothy

Published 9 February 2012

The Southern Upland Way takes me to both its highest point, and the half way point as it heads out of Wanlockhead.

Southern Upland Way Day 11: Brattleburn Bothy to Over Phawhope Bothy, via Moffatt

Published 13 February 2012

From one remote bothy to another, via the town of Moffat.

Southern Upland Way Day 12: Over Phawhope Bothy to St Mary’s Loch

Published 16 February 2012

Oh my goodness, there’s actually someone else who walks in this part of the world!

Southern Upland Way Day 13: St Mary’s Loch to Innerleithen

Published 20 February 2012

Around the mist covered loch, up a tower and off in to town. It’s just another day on the Southern Upland Way.

Southern Upland Way Day 14: Innerleithen to Galashiels

Published 23 February 2012

It was time to head to the largest town on the whole trail: Galashiels.

Southern Upland Way Day 15: Galashiels to Melrose (backwards)

Published 27 February 2012

The route gets rather urban as I complete the short stretch between the towns of Galashiels and Melrose.

Southern Upland Way Day 16: Melrose to Watch Water

Published 1 March 2012

The route now leaves civilisation behind and heads into another section past the Southern Upland Way’s last pub.

Southern Upland Way Day 17: Watch Water to Abbey St Bathans

Published 5 March 2012

Through tiny villages and past wind farms, the Southern Upland Way even has time for a cup of tea and some cake on the penultimate day.

Southern Upland Way Day 18: Abbey St Bathans to Cockburnspath

Published 8 March 2012

On the final day of walking I head to the coast and the end of the trail.

Planning your Southern Upland Way walk

Published 19 March 2012

The Southern Upland Way is a hugely rewarding adventure but it planning your trip can be very complicated. In one of our most detailed guides, we’ll help you get on your way.

Southern Upland Way - the trail highlights

Video The Southern Upland Way in Video

Published 13 December 2011

If you saw the launch of my book about the Southern Upland Way last week and wondered, “Hey, what’s all that about?”, well this is the video for you.

Video Bothies of the Southern Upland Way

Published 21 January 2012

The Southern Upland Way, a 212 mile walking route across the Scottish Lowlands, has six such bothies and in the summer of 2011 I visited each one. This video is about them.

Southern Upland Way Gallery

Published 12 March 2012

Another coast to coast adventure – this one in the Scottish Borders.

Southern Upland Way Cartoons

Published 13 March 2012

A series of postcards drawn and sent from the Southern Upland Way.

Video Southern Upland Way and the Waymerks

Published 26 March 2013

Finding hidden treasure in the hills of Scotland.

13 amazing things you’ll never forget about Walking the Southern Upland Way

Published 1 April 2018

These are some of the reasons you’ll remember the Southern Upland Way when you’ve walked it.

At the start of the Southern Upland Way

Published 23 August 2020

A wooden shelter in an attractive little harbour.

Boots by the loch

Published 11 December 2022

A pair of walking boots take a rest in lovely surroundings on the Southern Upland Way.

Brewing up in a bothy

Published 13 August 2023

When it’s raining, and there’s a choice between a nice warm fire, or walking eight more miles to get a curry.

Also about Southern Upland Way

National Trails – from old to new

Published 25 June 2023

In 2025 we’ll be getting a new National Trail. But how long have the others been around?

Dreaming of a night in the tent

Published 24 May 2020

Who wouldn’t like a night under canvas right now?

At the end of the Southern Upland Way

Published 25 March 2018

What will you find at the end of the Southern Upland Way when you get there?

Surprising things you see on a walk #4: a scary stone monster

Published 22 March 2015

What’s that scary stone monster on the hillside?

Exclusive: the original Southern Upland Way book cover

Published 9 October 2013

What the Secret Coast to Coast book cover could have been.

Cove Harbour

Published 11 March 2012

This photograph is of the delightful Cove Harbour, about a mile or so before the end of the Southern Upland Way.

Heading over the hill

Published 4 March 2012

I can remember exactly how many walkers I passed on the Southern Upland Way.

Loch, loch, glorious loch

Published 26 February 2012

As a walker I rather dislike mist and fog for it makes gloomy walking. But as an amateur photographer I love it to bits as you can take moody, atmospheric photographs like this one.

Brattleburn Bothy

Published 12 February 2012

Today a photo of Brattleburn bothy, about six miles away from the town of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway and (you guessed it), it’s on the Southern Upland Way.


Published 5 February 2012

Wonderful memories photos doth bring.

A bowl of coins

Published 29 January 2012

A Sunday Picture goes hoard crazy

Loch Dee

Published 22 January 2012

A Sunday Picture is, once more, showing some of the many great photos I took on my Southern Upland Way trip last summer.

Black Loch

Published 15 January 2012

Black Loch is a lake which sits in the stunningly laid out formal gardens of Castle Kennedy, which I visited on my second day of walking on the Southern Upland Way.

A Nice Place to Set Off From

Published 8 January 2012

Tomorrow sees the publication of the first instalment of my series on the Southern Upland Way, and what better way to celebrate than for the Sunday Picture to show you some of the highlights of that walk.

Southern Upland Wordle

Published 23 August 2011

I’m half way through writing up my Southern Upland Way posts, so I’m celebrating with a Wordle on the text so far.