With musical concerts and other social gatherings stacked up from the last two and a half years now taking place, Iona Cali is struggling to get out and about! However, we have squeezed a quick four/five-day trip into our schedule.
So as we drove out of the driveway, we turned left and headed south towards our southern border, where we pulled off the M74 and stopped in Leadhills at the Hopetoun Arms Hotel, where we stayed overnight.
Hopetoun Arms Hotel
While enjoying a cool pint of Guinness under the late afternoon sunshine, we got talking to a three-generation family. They were in the area for the National Gold Panning competition currently being held in nearby Wanlockhead! Go figure.....
After enjoying our traditional cup of “java” in the morning, we set off on a 5-mile walk up into the Lowther hills, part of the Southern Upland Way. We walked past the two lochs and down into neighbouring Wanlockhead, where we had a libation in the highest pub in Scotland before walking back to Leadhills along the small gauge railway line.
Back at the highest Hotel in Scotland, the Hopetoun Arms, we soaked up the late afternoon sunshine and met a few more fascinating folk, including a 57-year-old who sold his home and now lives in his van!
Our next move was southwest to Sanquhar, where we found a fabulous overnight pitch and from where we had a great 4-mile walk along another part of SUW past the ruins of Sanquhar Castle and up out of the town heading northeast before returning to town via a circuitous route. Once back in town, we found a small lively pub, the Crown, where we enjoyed a pint and their choice of music! We also met a few of the friendly locals who played our choice on the jukebox, talked to us about local history and even sang to us!
We awoke to a cacophony of birdsong following a peaceful night, and wow, what a cacophony! After what now constitutes breakfast, a cup of “java” with MCT oil, we drove to the Crawick Multiverse, a fabulous architectural landscape designed by the late Charles Jencks. Charles, an American from Baltimore, Maryland, was also the Maggie Cancer Care Centres founder. We enjoyed a two-mile walk around the Multiverse, up hill and down dale and through the universe!
Charles Alexander Jencks (21st June 1939 - 13th October 2019)
Our next stop-over was the Flotterstone Inn, which we first visited at the end of last year and is close to some great walks in the Pentland Hills.