Sanquhar to Wanlockhead

Walking Route

Sanquhar to Wanlockhead


This route is one of 12 sections of the Southern Upland Way. From the ruins of Sanquhar castle, the incredible landscape art of the Crawick Multiverse to the industrial heritage of Wanlockhead this section gives an opportunity to explore the history and culture of the area.

If you didn’t take the time yesterday evening to find the ruins of Sanquhar castle it is well worth doing it now. Also a detour to the Crawick Multiverse should be on your list. Charles Jencks designed the swirling landscape art here which is only about a mile off route.

Leaving the town you will start by climbing up a steep grassy bank called the Cows Wynd. This was route taken by the town herd taking cattle to the common grazing land. You will already have views back to Sanquhar and the Nith Valley and they only get better as you get higher.

After several miles of scenic hill walking you will descend towards Wanlockhead. Here you will start to see the signs of the lead mining that once dominated this area. At the bottom the first thing you will see is the old smelting works and there are more industrial remains as you walk along the valley. In the village is the beam engine, perhaps the most impressive of them all.

As this was a short section you will have time to look around the lead mining museum in the village. Go down the lead mines, explore the workers houses and the second oldest library in the world. There is also a pub here and in the next village Leadhills there is a small shop and a hotel.

From the village you can see the golf ball on the top of Lowther Hill, you will be climbing up to it tomorrow.

7.5mi / 12km
Total climb:
1,902ft / 580m
Total descent:
1,017ft / 310m
Towns along route:
Sanquhar, Wanlockhead
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What you'll see


Towns & Villages

Sanquhar is an exciting market town on the River Nith, north of Thornhill and west of Moffat.

Sanquhar Castle - Sanquhar


The ruined Sanquhar Castle, located on the southern approach to Sanquhar, was built by the Crichton family in the 13th century.


Towns & Villages

Wanlockhead is a former lead mining village nestled in the Lowther Hills, close to the head of the Mennock Pass. It is Scotland's highest village.