Mennock Pass (SW #63) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

7 mi
1,221 ft
3 %



Mennock Pass is the first of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Scotland.  Just shy of the pass we travel through the Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland.  This is a gorgeous, bucket list-worthy climb that winds its way through a canyon that was covered by heather in purple bloom when we rode up in September 2018.
This one has a 3% average grade (3.8% climb only).  63% of the climb is at 0-5% and 23% is at 5-10%.  The steepest 500 meters is 8.6% and steepest kilometer 6.6%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Two lane narrow roadway with center striped line and no shoulder, in good condition.

Traffic:  Mild.

Parking:  At the start of the climb on the side of the Farm Access Only roadway (Map; Street View). 
Provisions:  In Sanquhar four kilometers northwest of climb start on A76 (Map) or in Wanlockhead on the left side of the road near the top of the climb. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
This is #63 on the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain and is one of  seven climbs in the Scotland section of the book. Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in the region.  

Visit the Museum of Lead Mining in Wanlockhead at km 10.5 of the climb (Google Map + Reviews).



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bike parked next to sign reading "Wanlockhead: Highest Village in Scotland"

Cycling Mennock Pass, Scotland

Ride 7 miles gaining 1,221’ at 3% average grade.

Beginning on a bridge crossing over an old railroad track, Mennock Pass winds through a few homesteads before taking you into the big mountains of Scotland. About halfway up the climb, you enter a valley surrounded on all sides by lush green hills and there is even a river flowing parallel to the road. It is an astoundingly beautiful setting and you’ll likely see people camping and hiking around here. Past this valley, the grades kick up into the finish town of Wanlockhead, which holds the title as being the “Highest town in Scotland.” Traffic will likely be very mild on the road and everyone that did drive past me on the day that I rode drove respectfully.          

photo collage shows bike parked next to various signs along the climb: Wanlockhead, Leadhills, Abington, sheep in roadway

photo collage shows cyclist riding on two-lane roadway past sign for Lead Mining Museum; parallel train tracks

Start climb just off A76 by riding north up B797.

photo collage shows views of Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland (1531 feet above sea level)

Enter the highest village in Scotland at mile 6.3.

Cycling Mennock Pass, Scotland - Visitor Center sign at the Mining Museum, old stone building

Visit the Mining Museum during your trip

(Photos: Britainexpress (main photo); inset Museum’s Twitter Page)

This is a gorgeous, bucket list-worthy climb that winds its way through a canyon that was covered by heather in purple bloom when we rode up in September 2018.

photo collage shows green hillsides shrouded in purple heather

aerial drone views of green hillsides shrouded in purple heather

Cycling Mennock Pass, Scotland - two sheep standing side by side on two-lane roadway, road curves right at base of brown and green hillside

Share the road.  

Purple blooms of heather on the hillsides (km 9).

bike parked on side of two-lane roadway on clear day with bright blue skies

When the clouds open - brilliant blue skies. 👍

The first 5½ kilometers of this climb are close to flat at 1.4%, but we respect Simon Warren’s start point because the beauty of those kilometers are worth the wait for the tough stuff.  

Cycling Mennock Pass, Scotland - photo collage, bike on two-lane road in green and brown hillside, road sign for falling rocks, creek running parallel to road, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Some history on Wanlockhead:

The village was called Winlocke until 1566, derived from the Celtic Cuingealach (the narrow pass).

Wanlockhead owes its existence to the lead and other mineral deposits in the surrounding hills. These deposits were first exploited by the Romans, and from the 13th century they began to be worked again in the summer. The village was founded permanently in 1680 when the Duke of Buccleuch built a lead smelting plant and workers' cottages.

Lead, zinc, copper and silver were mined nearby, as well as some of the world's purest gold at 22.8 carats, which was used to make the Scottish Crown. Wanlockhead became known as "God's treasure house" from the richness of its mineral resources.

William Symington, Engineer.
Despite a branch railway (see Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway), also the highest in Scotland, which served the village from 1901 to 1939, lead mining declined in the 20th century and finished in the 1950s. From 1850 the Glasgow and South Western Railway had provided sidings at Mennock Lye Goods Depot for the use of the Wanlockhead and Leadhills mines.

The village had a curling club which was formed in 1777 and there were also quoits, bowling clubs, a drama group and a silver band which had instruments purchased for them by the Duke of Buccleuch.

William Symington was from Leadhills, but lived and worked in Wanlockhead. His fame lies in the fact that he designed the engine used to power the world's first steamboat. This boat was successfully tested on Dalswinton Loch near Ellisland on 14 October 1788. Dalswinton was the home of Robert Burns's landlord, Patrick Miller,”  (
Wikipedia - Wanlockhead).

To round out your stay in the Wanlockhead area, check out Trip Advisor’s top 10 things to do around Wanlockhead here.

PJAMM Cyclist climbs on two-lane roadway past green hillsides on a foggy day

Turn right off B797 just before the finish and ride two miles up to Lowther Hill Radar Station.

The last three-quarter mile averages 11.5%.

That’s a wrap!