Beattock to Eskdalemuir

The linear SoSCT route through Ae Forest joins the public road at Kinnelhead, west of Beattock.  This is usually a very quiet, it somewhat wiggly, road - hence it's name "The Crooked Road".  You can access an online map of this route via BHS EMAGIN - from the Scottish section of the "Routes by Region", look down the list for Ae to Eskdalemuir route.  You can increase the scale to 1:2,500 OS by clicking on "map type" from the horizontal menu at the top.  Note that whichever scale you are looking at, the maps under Ae to Eskdalemuir are only for this individual route, but if you look at the 1:2,500 scale for the South of Scotland Countryside Trails section on the list, you will be able to track the promoted SoSCT route network in any direction.

Carrying on from Kinnelhead - just past Earshaig the Southern Upland Way joins the road.  Enjoy the spectacular views as you head east, with Moffat nestled in the valley bottom below Hart Fell and the Southern Uplands.

Just after Beattock Hill, as the road starts to descend, a fingerpost on the right (south side) of the road marks the Annandale Way, which is a long distance route through Annandale from the source of the River Annan high above the Devil's Beeft Tub, above Moffat, to where the river joins the Solway Firth below Annan.  The  section of the Annandale Way between the Crooked Road and Cauldholm follows a grassy drove road, and is ideal for horse-riders as well as walkers.

 

Carrying on east along the Crooked Road will take you down over the railway to Beattock.  The SoSCT route is clearly signed as it follows the Southern Upland Way under the motorway - if you are riding, it is suggested you get off and lead through the underpass which is fairly narrow and has limited headroom.  East of the motorway, continue on the quiet road, over the River Annan.  At the t-junction, walkers can cut the corner across the field.  Horse riders should follow the llok in the road to the right (south), with which the footpath links back at Newmills. At the next road junction, walkers follow the Southern Upland Way through the wood on the east side of the Moffat Water.  Horse riders follow the adjacent quiet lane along past Craigbeck.  The track up to Craigbeck Hope branches off to the right (east) just before the bridge over the Moffat Water, and is clearly signed for both the Southern Upland Way and SoSCT.  Continue along this forest road for several miles, ignoring the Southern Upland Way as it branches off to the left (north).  The forest road is now heading south, with Colt Rig to the east.  Just before the remains of an old steading at Garrogill, the SoSCT route branches off to the east, climbing up a VERY STEEP stony track which is not for the faint hearted, but was the only viable route which could be agreed with Forestry Commission.  You may well want to lead your horse up or down here (or push your bike!!).

Once over the top, a new path link created by SoSCT leads down to a lovely track around the head of the Dryfe Water valley, and through the forest past Kiddamhill to join the public road just north of the Samye Ling Monastery at Eskdalemuir.

Samye Ling has a tea-room and shop, and can offer accommodation for walkers or cyclists, but apparently their yaks do not like horses so they cannot accomodate riders!

To continue east along the SoSCT route to Craik and Hawick, turn north along the public road and then turn right at Burncleuch along the forest road, over the bridge across the White Esk to Drumfedling.  The SoSCT route is clearly waymarked as it follows the forest road uphill, around Drumfedling Hill and Lamblair Knowe, to the regional boundary at Craik Cross Signal Station.