Southern Upland Way & The Dempster Road

This was another classic from the vertebrae scottish moutain bike guide, although after the most recent experience we were cautious in our expectations! A hidden gem in southern Scotland would be one way of describing the Mennock Pass which is where the route begins. Parking in the middle of the pass allows for a descent at the start and the end. Turning north west off the pass takes you on a steady climb to meet the Southern Upland Way.

The track is farm track before the SUP and then it turned to singletrack and what can best be described as a grassy and in places boggy trail. A short ascent and it was soon time to take a fast grassy descent to Cogshead.

Once at Cogshead you meet a forest road turning right before picking up the SUP again to ascend Glengaber Hill. This was a drag with great views and relatively easy riding. We had picked a clear day which meant you could see for miles.
The descent off the top to Wanlock Water and subsequently onto Wanlockhead was brill! The fast, grassy, stoney track had it all. As with this kind of descent it was over all too fast!

At Wanlockhead we passed the old mine workings and restored Beam Engine before heading for a cuppa at the Lead Mining Museum Tearoom.
The route crosses the main pass road out of Wanlockhead and climbs a tarmac road up Lowther Hill towards the radio masts. Nothing like Great Dunn Fell but enough to get the heart pumping after a brew stop!
Just before the masts a track branches off to skirt East Mount Lowther and Threehope Height. It was undulating and reminded us very much of the Howgills and the Calf. A great descent soon followed.

At the bottom of the descent Glenim is reached before climbing out of the farm up Cock Hill ready for the final descent down the Dempster road.

The road soon disappears and it was time to find the Dempster road that would take us down to the pass. After a bit of exploring we soon found the trail. It was narrow and technical in some places and provided a good challenge at the end of the ride. It ran diagonal alongside a steep fellside.

Once at the bottom a little ascent to the road led to free wheeling all the way to the parking place. A 30km ride totally worth a visit. Not sure I would have said the same in driving rain and wind so best to pick the day! 

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