start: Abbey St Bathans
A route mostly on tarmac but the off-road sections are good. Not particularly strenuous but does include a couple of steep climbs. Scenery is excellent throughout and the route should provide a fine excursion. There are no facilities (shops, pubs) on the route.
Start by the phone box and follow the Southern Upland way past the church and cross the suspension bridge. Turn right along a good track for half a mile, cross a burn, and pick up a path leading steeply into a wood. Through the wood and down to a rough track. Go left and follow this for 1 mile. On meeting a minor road at (781 622) turn left, heading North, and continue to Ecclaw farm (760 685).
Left here and continue to Oldhamstocks. This is a picturesque village complete with village green and ancient church but, sadly, no pub.
[It's worth looking at the church, originally built in the 14th century, and, in particular, at the Gravewatcher's House. This was added in the last century because Mrs Agnes Moore, the Minister's wife "was much alarmed by the reports of bodies being dug up to supply the Edinburgh medical students". Ed.]
Leave Oldhamstocks passing the church and follow the road to Stottencleugh (729 704). Through the farmyard and follow a track by the river and then across a field to another track leading upwards to Aikengall. From here enjoy a pleasant run down the valley to Thurston Mains (710 730). Turn left here and make for Elmscleugh.
From here the road climbs steeply for two miles to a cattle grid. After a well earned rest an excellent hurl down the Monynut Water follows. On crossing the bridge climb steeply through trees to a fork in the road at (689 671). A choice here as both roads lead to the B6353 near Cranshaws. Straight on leads to Crichness and a quick descent with some sharp corners past St Agnes to the main road. Turn left and follow this to Cranshaws and continue without difficulty to Ellemford Bridge and on to Burnhouse (754 583).
Turn left and climb the last hill and enjoy a pleasant run back to Abbey St Bathans. An alternative finish would be to follow the Southern Upland Way from near Ellemford Bridge back to Abbey St Bathans.
w k dodds, lauder
Download GPS data in GPX format.