Ruthwell To Nithsdale And Glasgow

Coming to the Clyde


By Road

Follow minor roads in to Dumfries. From Dumfries take the A710 to New Abbey. Return to Dumfries, and now head north for the A76. After crossing the junction with the A75 turn right for Lincluden Priory. Now continue north on the A76, passing Ellisland Farm, once farmed by Robert Burns, and Friars Carse. You can stop at Friars Carse, now a hotel, and enjoy the short walk to Ellisland Farm. Back on the A76 continue through Thornhill. At Enterkinfoot take a right for Kirkbride.

Back on the main road carry on to Sanquhar, after which turn right on to the B740. Pause in Crawfordjohn, and then retrace your route to the crossroads and turn right on to a minor road to take you to the A70 and Douglas. Now continue on the A70 until you cross the motorway. Turn left on to the B7078 to join the M74 until the next junction, jnct 11. Come off here on to the B7078 to continue north through Lesmahagow with its priory and Kirkmuirhill. Rejoin the motorway at junction 8. At junction 4 turn on to the M73, and at the next junction on to the M8 to arrive back in Glasgow.

By Cycle

From Ruthwell follow NCN 7 to Dumfries. From Dumfries keep on NCN 7 as far as Cargenbridge. Turn left to follow mainly minor roads to New Abbey.

Return to Dumfries. Leave on minor roads, passing Lincluden Priory, reaching the B729. After passing through Dunscore, turn right for Braco and then Keir Mill. Continue to Penpont where you go straight over the crossroads and follow Penpont Burn. Follow the minor roads plotted on the map until joining the River Nith at Burnmouth. Go up the west side of the river until crossing  for Sanquhar.  Leave Sanquhar on the B740. Pause in Crawfordjohn, and then retrace your route to the crossroads and turn right on to a minor road to take you to the A70 and Douglas. Now continue on the A70 until you cross the motorway. Turn left on to the B7078 which takes you back over the motorway. Turn left at Cairnhouses on to a minor road. Follow minor roads to Strathaven and Avendale Old Church.

From Strathaven continue on minor roads to Eaglesham, with an optional detour to walk to Munzie’s Well.

The route now takes you north, joining NCN 7 to go through Pollok Country Park and on towards Bellahouston. After two crossings of motorways you leave NCN 7 to reach Govan Old Church (now Govan and Linthouse Parish Church, and also known in the past as St Constantine’s) – the oldest place of worship in Glasgow.

Now cross the Clyde on the Govan Ferry – check times first. It does not operate every day. If it is not running carry on eastwards along the river as far as the Science Centre, and then cross over to the Exhibition Centre. Now go west to pick up the route again at the Riverside Museum. The route now goes through Kelvingrove Park and on minor roads to Glasgow Cathedral.

Alternately, keep following the north bank of the river eastwards to Glasgow Green, and then return to the cathedral on the route you started out on.

By Foot

There is a riverside walk from Dumfries to Lincluden.

Walk between Friars Carse and Ellisland.

From above Kirkland Kirkconnel walkers can reach St Connel’s church. There is not a marked path up Willie’s Burn (which feeds in to Glenwharrie burn) to St Connel’s cross. The cross was erected in 1870 by Rev. Donaldson of Kirkconnel at the site of St. Connel’s grave.

There is an old drove road going from Wanlockhead to Muirkirk

By Public Transport

There is a bus service from Dumfries to New Abbey.

There are bus services from Dumfries to Sanquhar, stopping at Burnhead (for Friars Carse) and Thornhill. Douglas can be reached by bus from Lanark.

There are bus services to Lesmahagow and Kirkmuirhill, and Eaglesham.

To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.

At Ruthwell, the astonishing carved cross unites the worlds of Cuthbert, Mungo and Ninian. The Dream of the Rood becomes flesh- or at least stone. This is one of the master artworks of missionary Christianity, now sheltered in Ruthwell Parish Church. By the Solway coast you then continue west to Dumfries. In addition to the town’s handsome historic churches, Sweetheart Abbey nestles by the Nith close to the estuary. On the northern outskirts are the ruins of Lincluden Priory, famous for Robert Burn’s summer poem ‘Ca the Yowes’.

Mungo came into Nithsdale to escape the ire of his royal adversary Morkan. Follow the river north through Burns country to Auldgirth and Thornhill. In Upper Nithsdale a shepherd gave Mungo refuge and in return the saint educated the shepherd’s son. In due course Conal returned to Nithsdale as pastor and missionary to his home country. He founded churches at lonely Kirkbride, at Sanquhar, and at Kirkland above modern Kirkconnel. He is buried where he first met Mungo on the hill above Glenwharry. A Celtic cross marks the place from which he could look out over the rugged scenes of his later missionary labours.

The hill theme continues back to Sanquhar and then over high ground east to Crawfordjohn, a notable Covenanting stronghold during the seventeenth century religious conflicts. A few miles north divert to Douglas with its medieval Church of St Bride. Then rejoin the main route north by Lesmahagow, and Kirkmuirhill. Eventually Mungo was able to return this way from exile, and Glasgow flourished again under the protection of Roderick, a new Christian ruler.

To this later period belong the Saint’s labours on behalf of Roderick’s wayward Queen, as he recovered her lost ring from a magnificent Clyde salmon. As described above, Columba also came to Glasgow to pay his respects and the two charismatic leaders exchanged staffs as a sign of mutual respect and communion. Glasgow had truly arrived.

May you receive
Grace and peace
After your travelling.
And the blessing
Of this Cathedral
In its heights
And in its depths,
In its colours
And in its shadows.
Through open arches
And in sheltered neuks
Be upon you.
And may the blessing
Of our founder Mungo,
Kentigern the dear one
Child of Heaven’s Kingdom,
Be always with you
Wherever you go.

Pilgrim Journeys