If you arrive to Castle Douglas in afternoon or early evening, you have the option to familiarise yourself with Castle Douglas, by cycle or a town walk stopping in to a restaurant for an evening meal.
If afternoon, you can even explore further afield and take a short cycle (5 miles) to Threave Castle on a river island – ring the bell for the ferry boat and also to nearby Threave Garden, run by the National Trust for Scotland.
Also on an afternoon cycle, returning by Carlingwark loch leads backby by Sulwath brewery to sample a local beer or to one of the many tea rooms.
Day 1 – Scottish Riviera Circuit – from 32 miles.
This coastline known by the Victorians as the Scottish Riviera is the mid point attraction today. An alternative is a shorter tour (20 miles) to nearby Balcary Bay. The National Trust for Scotland protects this National Scenic Area, with 7th century mote and panoramic views for the benefit of the public. The way there is by the River Urr Valley through Dalbeattie to the Solway Coast. We suggesta good half-way lunch stop. The village of Palnackie is an interesting stop by the harbour, with a popular tea room and pub for refreshment. Further on, climb the spiral staircase of the only round tower house in Scotland before returning to Castle Douglas. The tour visits six villages in total.
Day 2 – Kirkcudbright Circuit – from 20 miles.
Follow a signposted cycle route most of the way to arrive in the town via Kirkcudbright Bay with views of Ross island and lighthouse.
You can easily spend several hours exploring this historical artists’ town and include some queen scallops for lunch landed from the fishing boats. Maclellan’s Castle, Stewartry museum and several art galleries are just some of the features in this popular ‘county’ town.
The return journey follows the line of the River Dee on the way back to Castle Douglas.A riverside cycle, views of the old 'Galloway' car factory, and Threave Garden asre all on your way back - as may be the local brewery.
Day 3 – Loch Ken Circuit option – from 15 miles.
Loch Ken is 12 miles long and only 4 miles from Castle Douglas. You have flexibility to choose how far and which way to cycle this route. The Galloway Kite Trail (red kites birds of prey), a loch side nature reserve, old railway line detour to a beauty spot, red deer and lunch at Scotland’s smallest Royal Burgh with great tea rooms and arts centre can all be part of this day out. An early suggested stop is a disused church which overlooks anf gives panoramic views across the loch to Crossmichael village. The grave of local author SR Crocket is in the graveyard. At a secret location on the route is where an archaeological dig recently found significant Viking treasure, said to be worth over a million pounds.
Day 4 - Gatehouse of Fleet Circuit – from 33 miles.
This is a longer but worthwhile route with a variety of terrain. To begin with, a peaceful woodland and moorland initial rising route takes you through spectacular scenery to Gatehouse of Fleet after 16 miles. The town, with River Fleet flowing through, is in a National Scenic Area and has several attractions, including Cardoness Castle, Galloway kilts and the Mill on the Fleet visitor centre. You continue by the coast on a favourite route with the islands of Fleet offshore. Stop at the Cream o' Galloway ice cream farm and visitor centre or by a beach. You can arrive back at Kirkcudbright or take a detour to visit the Cocoa Bean chocolate factory and visitor centre and David Coulthard museum on the way back to Castle Douglas, with a celebration beer at the brewery
If back at Castle Douglas, you are welcome to have a last explore around the town before departing.
If you didn't manage to visit Threave Castle or Garden on arrival day, this is an option also.
You may have taken advantage of a shorter tour yesterday and whether from Kirkcudbright or Gatehouse, the route back to Castle Douglas can be from 10 miles (Kirkcudbright) or 17 miles (Gatehouse) or a pickup can be arrranged.
We can assist with your departure to Dumfries or Lockerbie railway stations.
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