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Copy of MBUK 269 - St Mary's Loch ||
||Feb 25th 2012, 07:55
Start/finish The grassy car park at Loch of the Lowes, across from the Glen Café (grip ref NT238205)
Total distance 37.4km (23.2 miles)
Total time 3-4 hours Total ascent 921m (3,022ft)
Route summary This route has a bit of everything - exposed hilltop singletrack, fast downhills, fireroad climbs and the odd bit of bike shouldering over boggy ground. On a good day the views cant be beaten, but with poor visibility navigation will become more of an issue, with short sections on pretty ill-defined trail.
1. Start at the picturesque car park by the Glen Café. Cross the bridge on the road to the Tibbie Shiels Inn, passing the hotel on your left as you go through the gate and onto the track climbing the hill east. Follow this track for just short of 3km, looking on your right for the Southern Uploand Way signpost off to your right and over a small footbridge. The trail is singletrack from here. Keep following the SUW thistle marker posts over Pikestone Rig, and eventually down Scabcleuch Burn to the road.
2. Turn left on the road and follow it through the village of Ettrick, staying left at the junction. Continue along the B709 to Hopehouse, where a sign points you left up the Captain's Road. Follow these signs up towards Thirlstanehope Farm.
3. A few hundred metres before the farm, the footpath is signposted to the left through a gate - follow this. The Captains Road is marked on the map as continuing straight up the glen from here, but the route is virtually non-existent and boggy. There are new tracks in the glen though, so when you get to a tall deer fence after having passed the farm on your right take the opportunity to cut right across the burn and join the track that climbs up the up the glen, but on the opposite side to the Captain's Road. Follow this, passing the turnoff for Shepherdscleuch on your left, and climb right up to the head of the glen on this large scarred track.
4. Where the track turns at the head of the glen, the Captains Road continues climbing on a poorly defined trail up to the forestry you can see on the skyline - aim for the lowest point where there is a gate marked as the Captains Road. Go through this and (probably) push along this boggy trail for 600m to get to the linking fire road at the other end. That is the hard bit done!
5. Join the track, follow it down the Berryknowe Burn, staying left at the first junction, then right at the next to reach the B709. Turn left and descend down to the crossing over the road junction at the Yarrow Water. Turn left here, ride for 4km before turning left onto the Southern Upland Way. Follow the thistle marker posts along the shores of St Mary's Loch to return to your start point. |