Wanlockhead Wander

Stu from Caledonian Adventures text me the other day to say he had a day off and was up for a bike ride if I could get away from work.

After working Saturday taking the rangers and public down the very low White Cart in canoes I had some time to take back so plans were made.

We trundled down the M74 and left it at Abington taking the  B797 to the other side of Wanlockhead and just before we got to Mennock we parked up at a small road junction and got set to go.

Stu had brought a friend with him called Tor, he would be running aside us on our journey.

The single lane road takes you straight up the hill so it was a hard start but we soon got into a rhythm and made good progress despite the amount of gates.

The track takes you through Brandleys Farm, I always think it’s a bit weird cutting through the middle of someones courtyard.

From there the track opens up a bit and thankfully levels out as well.

We picked up The Southern Upland Way track and again set off uphill, thankfully the ground was dry and hard which made the going much easier.

We finally made up to the saddle just SE of Conrig Hill and a quick break and soaked in the views as well as checking the map.

The downhill to the woods was awesome and as I got to the gate I stopped to get the camera out to get a picture of Stu and Tor coming down the hill.

Stu’s brakes were screeching with the work of slowing the bike down on the slope.

As we passed through the gate Stu mentioned that his breaks did not appear to be as positive as he would like as well as the screeching, at that he touched his disk with his glove and a little cloud of smoke came of his glove as it melted.

Through the gate we checked the front pads and found they were a bit chipped and unevenly worn.

So whilst the midges had a go at us we changed the front pads and pretty soon we were off again spinning away on the track towards Glengaber Hill.

Again we had another awesome downhill section off the NE shoulder of the hill.

There was no break screech this time and by the time we got to Wanlock Water we had big grins on our faces.

As we rolled into Wanlockhead I noticed my back tyre was a bit soft and as pedaled up the wee hill it was like a wheel barrow full of cement with a flat tyre going through mud.

Stu was also being slowed by the new pads binding.

We stopped at the visitor’s centre and headed into the teas room, as usual with Scottish tourism we were greeted by a welcoming smiley face behind the counter as we ordered cake and Irn Bru.

I pumped my tyre up and we also pushed the pads in a bit on Stu’s bike as well as realigning the caliper.

Straight away we both noticed the difference as we yet again headed up hill.

Again we followed the SU Way heading up the side of  Lowther hill.

The track joins the road at one point helping the climb a bit, so heads were down and there was no more gears to be had as our turn off finally came into view.

It’s all so easy especially on the bike to have your head down and miss all the views, as we stood at the track junction it gave you a chance to take it all in and see the distance we had already travelled.

Another downhill with loose stones all over the place saw us at the shoulder of East Mount Lowther, another climb / push got us to a nice rolling track and another nice grassy downhill.

The final loop took  us around Threehope Hill onto the very hard to spot Dempster road !

After some interesting contouring we were back at the road, I left Stu and Tor and sped off to get the truck.

At this point I hit the top speed of the day at 50.8 KM/Hr it didn’t last long as the wind picked up and typical blew in my face all the way to the truck.

A great wee day oot !

Total Distance 28.4km

Top Speed on trail 40km/hr

Maximum Height 639m

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