Day 1 - Castle Douglas to Newton Stewart - around 40 miles
Depart from our base in Castle Douglas on the first day which takes you through Laurieston Forest and on to a moorland road to Gatehouse of Fleet. Continue up the Fleet Valley, a National Scenic Area, with the option to visit Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve, the setting for the chase in 'The Thirty Nine Steps' thriller. There's a good tea room option at Creetown before taking the old railway line towards Kirroughtree mountain biking centre which is worth a stop and look around - including the big bike wheel at the end of the trails. You have to climb a fairly short steep hill I'm afraid before arriving at your accommodation in Newton Sewart at the other side.
Day 2 - Via Glentrool to Dalry - around 35 miles.
Today you cycle up the Cree Valley to Glentrool, a scenic 'Scottish Highlands' - like area which has mountain biking trails. If using a hybrid or mountain bike, the route follows the No. 7 off road route using a forestry road all the way through the Galloway Forest Park to the visitor centre at Clatteringshaws. A hill road takes you on to St John's Town of Dalry.
If using a road bike - which is not suitable between Glentrool and Clatteringshaws - you have other options which we advise on, including taking a more direct road cycle route to Dalry, visit Glentrool and then double back to Newton Stewart to take the direct road route or spend an extra day on a Glentrool circuit and continue on the road route to Dalry the following day.
Day 3 - St John's Town of Dalry to Thornhill - around 32 miles
You take a hill route today which covers part of the Tour of Britain 2016 cycle route which had a stage finish in Castle Douglas. The single track tarred road takes you over the hill with panoramic views and down into the village of Moniaive, quoted in The Times as 'one of the coolest villages in Britian'. A good tea room stop here. Continue on a challenging steep hill to the Nith Valley and to visit Keir Mill, the birthplace of the pedal cycle invented by blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan. Thornhill, your overnight stop location for two nights is a pleasant town with tree lined streets. Some good tea rooms, a chocolatier and pubs add to the attraction.
Day 4 - Wanlockhead - the highest village in Scotland - arouind 45 miles
Today you take a circular tour by a quiet country road into the Lowther Hills from Thornhill using the Dalveen Pass to cut through the steep hills.The road is actually a gardual rise with a later part approaching Leadhills a bit steeper. The pub in Wanlockhead brew their own beer and a lead mining visitor centre with tea room provides other refreshment.
You then have a fantastic downhill cycle into the Nith Valley to arrive at Drumlanrig Castle, owned by the Duke of Buccleuch. You can spend time here and even hire a bike from Rik's bike shop to do some of the mountain bike trails. The tour ends back in Thornhill.
Day 5 - Thornhill back to Castle Douglas - 32 miles
The route today takes you down and across the Nith Valley into the Cairn Valley, with more beautiful scenery. You visit several communities as you cross over hills again to Glenkiln area which has some famous environmental art sculptures, A detour to a village pub and shop is an option or continue on the route following a quiet countryside road all the way back to Castle Douglas. The reduced distance can suit an early departure or visit Sulwath brewery for some 'end of tour' beer sampling and stay an extra night before departure at our Summerhill B&B tonight, subject to availability.
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