Rating out of 5: 3.5
Looking for a nice stroll on a sunny day, enjoying a refreshing swim afterwards? Well, this route can be perfect or completely wrong for you then. Having started just past noon with a friend it was quite exhausting cause of the heat and so in the end we decided to go for a spontaneous swim in St Mary’s Loch, which was very refreshing, but it took us quite a while to find a calm spot for that.
During the last years the loch grew in popularity and so on a sunny day it is absolutely packed these days, for me enjoying a bit of peace it would have been too much just for swimming, however doing the walk we barely meet anyone and following part of the Southern Upland Way the route was clear and easy going, at least for the first half up to Dryhope Tower (for which a Blogpost will soon be online as well).
If it is very warm, I suggest leaving out Dryhope Tower and the kirkyard later on the walk, however for me that was just perfect and doable, with lots of water and motivation packed.
The second half of the walk was either all the time close to the main road or even running on it which took a bit of the relaxing part out of it and is for me a very big point when it comes to my rating. Which is why although I enjoyed the rest of the walk a lot, I will give this walk 3.5 (the .5 cause of the rest of the walk) out of 5 stars. If there was an alternative climbing up the side of a hill instead of staying on the road I would be absolutely up for it, although I guess the route follows the road cause there is simply no other option with the loch very closely next to it in many places.
My personal tip would also be that you look for a quiet place and stop there for a swim, along the route you might find some, just keep the general rules in mind.