Thornhill to Sanquhar – 14.2 miles (695.6 total)
Because Anthony had parked his car in Thornhill we all stayed at home last night. This was the first of 10 nights when I hope to stay at my own house and save the expense of paying for overnight accommodation. Another benefit is that I can walk with a daypack rather than my much heavier rucksack.
Anthony gave me a lift back to Thornhill in the morning for my walk to Sanquhar (rhymes with ‘tanker’). Back to walking on my own again today, which sort of suited me because I had football that I wanted to listen to on the radio.
Another forecast of good weather ahead sent me off in a positive frame of mind. I started my day by re-crossing the bridge over the River Nith, at Thornhill, which had ended the previous day’s walk. After a couple of hundred yards I turned right off the main road, taking a country lane which eventually led directly through Queensbury Estate to Drumlanrig Castle. The castle is a quite magnificent building and the grounds are well-maintained.
Drumlanrig Castle hit the news headlines in 2003 when a famous Leonardo da Vinci painting, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, was stolen by visitors. It was recovered and returned a few years later. I chatted to the young lady at the pay kiosk to find out prices for entry to the castle which I would like to visit when my life returns to normality. There is no charge for walking through the Estate.
My route took me straight down the main castle drive, past one of the largest sycamore trees in the British Isles, which is over 300 years old. The rest of the day was spent walking along very quiet country lanes, sometimes strolling through wooded plantations, sometimes staying close to the River Nith and sometimes being surrounded by fields of new-born calves and lambs. When I had open vistas I continued to get good views of Lowther Hill with its golf-ball radar station.
I didn’t feel any pressure today as I made good time on a gentle 14 mile walk, taking advantage of a seat on a couple of benches to rest my feet. Soon after spotting my day’s destination, Sanquhar, I encountered Kerching No. 10 at Ulzieside, the Southern Upland Way. This was the second Way Walk that Pete, George and I tackled in 1990. The SUW took me directly in to the centre of Sanquhar where I had time to visit a tearoom while waiting on my lift home.