Lowther Hills and the River Clyde
- 7stanes Ae Forest
- 7stanes Dalbeattie
- 7stanes Kirroughtree
- 7stanes Mabie
- Carrick Forest
- Clatteringshaws Loch
- Drumlanrig Castle to St Johns Town of Dalry
- Glentrool and Clatteringshaws Loch
- Lochinvar Circular
- Lowther Hills and the River Clyde
- Lowther Hills Circular
- Newton Stewart to the Isle of Whithorn
- Stranraer to Dunbar
- Stranraer to Newton Stewart
- The Merrick Circle
Visit the hometown of John Buchan, author of the 39 Steps, and explore the highest village in Scotland on this fascinating cycle route.
Key route details
Main Region: South of Scotland
Distance: 41 miles
Difficulty: Hilly route
Type of Ride: Road Cycling
End Point: Broughton
At 469 metres Wanlockhead has a long history. The Romans took gold and lead from there and there are claims of Roman roads and the remains of a fort to be seen. Perhaps you can imagine the heather thatched dwellings housing the miners who extracted lead ore and the families who smelted it. The Museum of Lead Mining has a mine to explore and a tea room. There is also a shop, plus craft workers, and a community centre.
Leadhills was also a lead mining village. Allan Ramsay, born in Leadhills in 1685, became one of Scotland's most famous poets. It was through his influence that a library was formed in 1741, allowing lead miners and their families access to literature. This can still be visited today. Another notable son of Leadhills was William Symington, who was born there in 1763 and worked as a mechanic in the Wanlockhead mine. In 1787 he patented an engine for road locomotion and in 1802 completed the Charlotte Dundas, one of the first practical steamboats ever built.
Biggar has an amazing number of museums for a small town, these reflect its interesting history.
For a fuller description of the museums The Moat Park Heritage Centre has geology displays, natural history and historical items. Gladstone Court Museum has wee shops and offices displaying small town life as the old remember it.
Greenhill Covenanters' Farmhouse is a Convenanting museum. Here one is transported back to the century of the signing of the National Covenant and the Civil War. The Albion Archive houses the archives of Albion Motors, a commercial vehicle manufacturing firm which was started here in 1899. The company grew to be the largest truck manufacturer in the British Empire.
In 1973, when natural gas from the North Sea came to Biggar, the gas works closed down. However, unlike other gasworks it was not demolished. Instead, it has been preserved.
The first part of the route passes through the Lowther Hills. From Mennock you climb to Wanlockhead, Scotland's highest village, a 300 metre climb. Wanlockhead was a lead mining area, and there is a mining museum in the village (tea room). There is also an open air museum, with beam engines, a smelt mill, and period furnished cottages. Just beyond Wanlockhead is Leadhills where the gold of the Crown of Scotland was mined. After Leadhills keep on the B797 ignoring the turn-off for Crawfordjohn before passing over the M74 motorway to Abington. Stop for a bite to eat in the tea room at Abingdon before tackling the the A702/A73. While this section is busy the road is fairly straight and drivers will see you a long way off . The Symington turn-off is signed and the back roads are fairly easygoing. There is a hotel in Symington, on the A72. The A72 is quite wide here and the short distance on it should not be a problem.
Biggar is an attractive town with a good choice of pubs and tea rooms. It has the only surviving coal gas works in Scotland which is now a museum. The B7016 to Broughton is at the north end of Biggar. Broughton was the home of John Buchan, author of 39 Steps. The Real Ale, Greenmantle is brewed locally in Broughton Brewery and is named after another of his novels. Learn about Buchan's fascinating life as a soldier, lawyer, politician, and Govenor-General of Canada.
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