Day 1 - Castle Douglas - Dundrennan - to Kirkcudbright - 22 miles.
Day 1 departs Castle Douglas on the sign-posted National Cycle Route and later a quiet countryside road. After 12 miles you arrive at Dundrennan Abbey - see the additional info below.
You also have the option to visit the remote beach at Port Mary, accessed through a farm two miles away. After tea or lunch in the tea room in Dundrennan, a countryside route for 10 miles, the last part by the shore with views of Ross island, takes you to Kirkcudbright, Scotland's artists town. We suggest you cycle round the old High Street to the harbour and the castle to get your bearings before checking in at your accommodation. We provide the annual booklet for visitor info.
Day 2 - A day in and around the town
Today is designed as a leisurely day, if you prefer, and use the booklet to guide you on a walk around the town. The are many art galleries, in addition to the Stewartry museum, McLellan's Castle, harbour and shops to look around.
You also have the option to cycle into the countryside to explore some more. Near to the villages of Twynholm, the Cocoa Bean chocolate factory visitor centre and David Coulthard musuem (F1 racing car driver) are two popular attractions. You can continue further afield by visiting other villages and even the Cream o' Galloway ice cream farm before returning to the town by the coast. We advise on the options when you arrive for the welcome briefing and we provide route info and mileage accordingly.
Day 3 - Threave Castle and Garden and back to Castle Douglas
Today is a relatively short day - from 10 miles. You pass a village which used to have the largest horse fair in Scotland and so several ale houses! Great views over the Galloway Hills here.To save you cycling down a hill and back up again, we direct you into the rear service road to the National Trust for Scotland's Threave Garden, one of the major gardens in Scotland, with restaurant and shop. A few miles away is Threave Castle, accessed by boat to the river island and nearby osprey nest. This is another popular attraction. You continue the short distance back to Castle Douglas by Carlingwark Loch where you can visit Sulwath brewery or one of the many tea rooms for a celebratory end of tour refreshment.
Dundrennan is a quiet Scottish village in a valley near the sea. Like other villages in the area, it is located on the heritage coastline of the Solway Firth, an area of unspoiled hills, cliffs, islands, bays and beaches. However, Dundrennan also has an extraordinary history. Part of that history is Dundrennan Abbey, dating from 1142, the first of three Cistercian abbeys along the Scottish coast and was founded by Fergus, Lord of Galloway. The remains of the transept and chancel of the abbey church still stand by the Abbey Burn. After the reformation, instigated by Henry VIII, the Abbey was dissolved after having been active for 400 years. The Abbey is now operated by Historic Scotland with a custodian on hand to tell the story. Nearby is a tea room and Port Mary Bay which we provide info to visit.
Mary Queen of Scots
The abbey‘s most famous visitor was Mary, Queen of Scots. On 16 May 1568, she boarded a boat at a bay, now called Port Mary, near Dundrennan. She never returned to her native land.
Mary fled to England to seek refuge from her cousin, Elizabeth I. The Catholic Mary also had a strong claim to the English throne so Elizabeth had her imprisoned and kept under surveillance. Mary was later tried for treason and condemned to death in October 1586. Mary was executed at Fotheringhay Castle, on 8 February 1587 at the age of 44. Mary's son James went on to succeed Elizabeth in 1603. In 1612 he had his mother's body exhumed from Peterborough Cathedral and placed in the vault of King Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
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