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4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 October 2008
I walked the SUW in mid-September, 2008, using this guide, together with O.S. Landranger maps. My aim was to 'wild' camp for most nights.
First of all, if you are going to B&B the SUW, then this book is worth 5 stars. The O.S. mapping it uses, and the quality of path description, are excellent. The author anticipates where we might go wrong, and warns us accordingly. He explains how the route can be split into stages that transport can get to, if you need lifts.
The author indicates the O.S. maps you need, but I'll save you £6.99 by telling you that Landranger map 74 isn't in fact needed due to the overlap of maps either side.
There is some historical background (though nearly all of it is about religious bigotry 500 years ago - so some things never change!), to add interest, and lots of general guidance for the less experienced.
It fits into a map-case, as a double spread, and is printed on good quality paper, with a laminated cover.
I found the distances within stages, and cumulative distances very useful when checking progress.
However, as a book for 'wild' campers it was somewhat lacking.
Firstly, we need to know exactly what facilities a village has, and when they are open. Yes, information gets out of date, but so do path instructions, and guides need regular revisions. It is not very helpful to be told that a village has B&B accomodation, because that doesn't then go on to say 'but no other facilities'. We campers need to know that.
We need to know when pubs open, as they are a main source of water and snacks. We need to know if a town has an 'Outdoor' type shop - to replace spent gas cartridges, replace worn walking socks, etc.
We also needed to know that the first half (Portpatrick to Moffat)is seriously boggy in many places, except after a long dry spell - so we can take more changes of socks! The best boots in the world would not have kept my feet dry, so I was forced to seek B&B accommodation on nights 3 and 6 in order to get kit washed and dried.
On the subject of accommodation, I still think that a list of establishments recommended by walkers would be a good idea. This works well in the Guide produced by the South West Coast Path Association, my 'local' long distance walk. Yes, they come and go, but if you soak your computer printout of your research that you did before you set out, you're stuffed! Campsites certainly don't change often. It would have been helpful to know that the campsite in Melrose is only open for 4 months of the year, for instance, before I arrived in mid-September to find camping not allowed.
I used a Trailblazer guide for Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast, and it had all of the above points sorted!
To start you off on your accommodation research, I will strongly recommend the two establishments that I stayed at: The Porridge House in St. John's Town of Dalry, and Blairdrummond House in Moffat. Both washed and dried my seriously smelly clothes, and fed me well. Both are very close to evening food. The latter was so amazing that I stayed 2 nights, and they even dried my tent! The best B&B I have ever stayed in, and I have stayed in dozens and dozens.
I recommend the walk, and the book.
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on 14 August 2011
I have just finished walking the Southern Upland Way using this book and have to say that it is a superb little guide. It is small and fits easily into the pocket and contains all the information I needed to complete the walk. There wasn't any ambiguity in the instructions and I didn't go wrong once. The Way is for the most part well signposted, but the author points out where way-markings may be missing and highlights the places where one has to be extra vigilant.

At the end of each stage's instructions there is information on the places of interest to be found en route and nothing except the route is contained in the instructions, unlike some other guides, which go off on a tangent when all you want is to find out where to go next!

The 1:50 000 strip maps are adequate, but they do make the destination look a lot closer than it actually is - it usually took me about three hours to walk two pages! Also, the map is hardly ever on the same page as the route instructions, but this didn't cause too much of a problem.

The book is printed on good quality glossy paper that didn't fall apart when it got wet. But, when it was raining (which it did a lot), I kept it in a transparent bag. Apart from the bothies along the way, accommodation isn't listed, but there is a useful list of addresses, telephone numbers and websites from where such information can be found.

I did the walk in ten days; the book recommends thirteen. However if I had the time I would have done it in the thirteen stages or more, as I missed out on some of the sights along the way and it made for very long days. Good luck.
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on 28 May 2010
This is worth buying for the OS strip maps alone. Having finished the SUW in May 2010 I can personally vouch that this guide contains all the (albeit slight) alterations from the original route and that the detailed route commentary helps around some of the more intricate turn by turn sections. I would have given it five stars had there been more thorough information about where food shops were located.
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on 6 November 2013
Dont underestimate the SUW! I had anticipated that it would be like 2 "West Highland Ways" laid end to end. The Western half is very boggy, and, at the time I did the walk (Summer 3013) poorly signposted. The instructions in this guide are very vague in key areas, for instance at Cairn Hill, a few miles before Polskeoch bothy. On page 172, the guide tells you to "bear left" at Braidshawrig. Dont. You must bear right, as clearly shown on the map. Other reviewers have commented that the guide gives interesting background information. It does, but I was much more interested in whether Longformacus had a pub, shop or cafe (the guide does not say)than to learn that houses in the vicinity had proved popular with English ex-pats.

I really enjoyed walking the SUW, but, be aware, parts are remote, and the going can be tough. It is essential to take OS maps of the western half with you, check your navigation, and take the guide's directions with a pinch of salt.
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on 22 August 2010
Excellent guide but too heavy to take on the walks - removable maps are very handy especially used with the more portable Cicerone guide.
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on 3 September 2014
This guide book is very useful for walking the SUW. This was the only set of maps that I carried and had no problems in navigation. The route is really interesting too. It took me 16 days to complete staying in bothies and camping along the way. Highly recommended. Thanks
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on 11 November 2013
yes another top book from their long distance walking range .I always use these books as they are so user friendly, great choice for the walking enthusiast
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on 16 April 2012
now completed the walk, the book was very useful.
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on 23 January 2013
Bought for someone who is going to walk the Southern Upland way this year and they were delighted with it
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on 15 March 2011
We set ourselves the challenge of walking the Southern Upland Way this summer and buying this book was the first step! I like the size,handy to tuck in rucksac. I like the waterproof cover, to protect from the liquid sunshine and this guide has already proved invaluable as we have been planning our trip. The combination of map segments and descriptions should keep us on track and there is also information about things to see and do along the way.
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