The Southern Upland Way is Scotland's first coast-to-coast long distance footpath and is 340 km long. It starts in Portpatrick, a small town on the west-coast, and ends in Cockburnspath, on the east-coast. The path traverses some beautiful but remote countryside of Scotland, but it is an unforgettable experience to walk it. The way passes the grain of the country and although many miles are on the level much is also up and down hill.
In the summer of 1997 I walked a part of the "Southern Upland Way" with Dirk de Leeuw. We started in Cockburnspath and tried to walk the whole way to Moffat. Because of our lack of experience we thought the walk easier than it really was. Because of this inexperience we had to cut of a lot of stretches to reach Moffat in time. We only had 10 days to stay in Scotland and had to be back in time for the boat. So far my first experience with the SUW.
Although I was disappointed that the walk didn't go so well I kept thinking of the SUW. I wanted to walk the whole way and started to make new plans. This time I wanted to be prepared and started planning early. I found another friend, Rogier de Vroomen, who was interested in walking a 340 km stretch and we decided to go to Scotland for 4 weeks. During these 4 weeks we would have plenty of time to walk the SUW.
We prepared our trip by using the second edition of the "Official Guide" by Roger Smith (ISBN 0 11 495170 5). This is a very useful book, although it is a bit too descriptive about some of the countryside. The book comes in a packet, together with two maps. One map describes the Eastern Section and the other map describes the Western Section. The maps are cut-outs of the original Ordnance Survey 1;50,000 Landranger maps. You can also buy separate Ordnance Survey maps, but they will be more expensive. When you plan on walking short stretches, then it is more useful to buy separate maps.
We planned our walk in advance. We used the "Southern Upland Way accommodation list" to plan our overnight stays. On the next page you can find our initial walkingscheme. We altered some stages during our walk. This is explained in our travel journal.