Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ettrick Head

On Friday I decided that another walk along a short stretch of the Southern Upland Way was in order. I'm at the road end, west of Ettrick, car parked ... and what greets me are sounds and sights of considerable activity. Clear felling in the distance, for example.

A substantial new forestry road runs past Potburn farm, all to facilitate the timber extraction.

So often on walks through forestry plantations one comes across little quarries which have supplied stone to make the access roads. It was interesting to see one such still in use.

Tipper lorries were carrying rock from the quarry to the ends of the new roads.

Something of a 'boys' toy' awaiting its turn.

Money has been spent in putting in substantial bridges!

The bothy at Over Phawhope.

I found the MBA bothy in great condition, and well maintained. It was interesting to read of the shepherds and their familiies who had lived there, gleaned from census records from 1841 onwards.

This little plaque says it all, really. Have I said before that the Mountain Bothies Association does a great job?

Soon though I was looking back down the valley, and was on an older forest track, heading west.

The Southern Upland Way is well signed.

Crossing over to Dumfries and Galloway!

This was as far as I was headed - the watershed at Ettrick Head. This view is looking west. The area hereabouts is a splendidly isolated part of the Southern Upland Way. It was fine to be here on Friday, although the weather was beginning to change. It would be challenging in bad weather, for sure.

This little pool on the Ettrick Water was an idyllic place to stop for lunch. The burn is joined by the Black Burn, the Little Black Burn, the Rashie Grain, the Midden Sike, the Smid Hope, the Little Smid Hope, and the wonderfully named Entertrona Burn, all before reaching Over Phawhope. Don't you just love maps! The Ettrick Water joins with the Yarrow and then feeds into the River Tweed.

The forecasted change in the weather was becoming apparent as I headed back towards the car.

I said I was looking for the Ettrick Shepherd, but they took no notice!

What a great day out!

Pix © Skip Cottage


  1. I have just finished re-reading the Thirty-nine Steps, a terrific yarn by John Buchan in which the hero, Richard Hannay, spends some time being chased over the hills of Dumfries and Galloway by some very bad chaps indeed. These photos bring the landscape to life. Great stuff!

  2. Hi Robin
    You would enjoy walking the John Buchan way: John Buchan Way