As this tour begins from Wigtown in the west of the region, we transport you from Castle Douglas to the start point. Wigtown is the former county town and now Scotland's book town - with Bladnoch distillery only a mile away in the village and beside the river with the same name.
Bladnoch distillery is currently under renovation and has it's 200th anniversary in 2017. The distillery shop is still open to the public. Bladnoch whisky will still be available to taste, whether at the distillery or adjacent at a popular pub across the road.
We advise of the various licensed premises - bars, pubs and hotels - along your route which have a good selection of malt whisky.
Near the end of your week's cycling tour you visit Annandale Distillery - a distillery which opened in 1830 and went out of production 90 years ago. Annan, the nearby town was an established embarkation port for emigrant Scots. The renovated distillery started production two years ago.
New make 'Rascally Liquor' is currently for sale with two products, - a peated single malt themed with local historical figure King Robert the Bruce and a non peat whisky themed with local exciseman Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard. The distillery has been furnished with high quality finishings and has a popular coffee shop. Excellent whisky tours are conducted during the summer season and can be arranged at other times.
Day 1 - Machars Circuit - from 20 miles.
On the first cycling day (being too early to taste whisky!) you first tour the Machars region to visit Garlieston on the coast with the option to cycle as far as the Isle of Whithorn, an early Christian centre. There are variouis places of interest, including Sorbie Tower; the seat of the Hannay clan.
On return the plan is to visit the distillery shop and have a look around. As the distillery is under renovation, the current position would be ascertained in advance. An excellent pub is across the road from the distillery and a refreshment is also available there. A taste of Bladnoch is the reward for your day's cycling efforts. Accommodation in Wigtown tonight.
Day 2 - Wigtown to Gatehouse of Fleet - 28 miles.
Depart Wigtown on a flat road by the estuary to join the bike path into Newton Stewart. After a look around the town, join the No. 7 cycle route east and you soon arrive at Kirroughtree forestry visitor and mountain biking centre with tea room. Continue on the old railway line with views over the River Cree estuary to Creetown. The Gem Rock Museum here is an ideal refreshment stop before heading into moorland to arrive at the entrance to Cairnsmore of Fleet nature reserve, with a short detour to a visitor ventre. To end your day you cycle downhill into the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area - we have a detour by ancient oak woodland - and to Gatehouse of Fleet with several attractions including Cardoness Castle, Mill on the Fleet and a kilt making business.
Day 3 - Gatehouse to Castle Douglas - 26 miles.
Continue through this National Scenic Area, initially by the coast and Isles of Fleet on a quiet detour route we prefer from the National Cycle Route. Cycle beside Kirkcudbright Bay and cross the River Dee into the historic former county town known as an artists town for over 100 years. Spend some time browisng the galleries, museum, castle and harbour where scallops are the main catch. Continue on to approach Castle Douglas, where Threave Garden or Threave Castle, accessed by boat, are major attractions - along with an osprey's nest in the summer. Although you can have a beer at Sulwath brewery or one of the many tea rooms at the end of your cycling day, later we conduct a whisky tasting session with a selection of single malt whiskies from Scotland.
Day 4 - Castle Douglas to Dumfries - 20 miles
Although the No. 7 cycle route goes between the two towns, we know a better countryside route with less traffic and more features. The route today visits several small villages, with one having a shop and hotel. On entering Dumfries, a farm shop with restaurant is worth a visit to see many items of produce made in Dumfries and Galloway region. You have the opportunity to explore parts of the town on cycle paths crossing the River Nith before we direct you to your accommodation for the night. Those who have an interest in Robert Burns can visit the Burns Centre, his house, now a museum and his mausoleum. To combine an interest with Burns and whisky, we direct you to his favourite howff (pub), the Globe Inn. We also point out a whisky shop with an extensive range of malt whiskies.
Day 5 - Dumfries to Annan - 25 miles
Today you leave Dumfries by cycling beside the River Nith on the No. 7 cycle route. You pass through several villages as you turn east from the estuary. We give you information on several places of interest including - the Brow Well, Caerlaverock Castle and nature reserves, the world's first savings bank museum at Ruthwell, and the 8th century Ruthwell Cross - all before you approach the largest town of the area, Annan.
Your route takes you to the hotel accommodation on the sea front. You then have the option to cycle into town and on to the whisky distillery to experience a tour which we will book for you. Alternatively, if you think you may partake of several whiskies in the whisky bar after the tour, a taxi is another option!
Day 6 - Annan to Gretna Green and on to Lockerbie - 26 miles.
Continue on the No. 7 cycle route throught Annan and soon to find the Devil's Porridge Musuem - about a First World War explosive factory. Gretna Green, the famous marriage centre, still with daily weddings, is worth a visit. Your tour can end here depending on your departure timescale and method - i.e, train from Gretna to Carlisle and south to England.
Alternatively you can continue north by several other interesting villages with attractions to Lockerbie where you can depart north by train. We can arrange you to visit a hotel to change and freshen up and leave your bikes. We advise on the train options to Glasgow and Edinburgh - both 1 hour duration.
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