Robert the Bruce, Robert Burns and Whisky Cycle Tour


GT2 - Robert the Bruce, Robert Burns and Whisky Cycle Tour

Dates - 10th July and 11th September 2015

Start – From Castle Douglas.
Distance – Around 30 miles a day.
Grade – Moderate.
Comments – As well as visiting many significant historical locations relating to the well known Scottish figures Robert Burns and Robert Bruce, this is an excellent 5 days / 6 nights guided cycling tour in its own right and includes a visit to the new Annandale whisky distillery experience.

Price – £565 p.p.- i.e. around 723 E / 903 USD / 1025 CAD assuming two sharing a room. (£815 i.e. around 1042 E / 1300 USD / 1480 CAD single)

Bicycle (extra) - £85 / 109E / 136 USD / 154 CAD.


Tour Features - Below we briefly list the main interesting features you will find on each day of the cycling tour. Your guide will 'find' them all for you and provide the necessary local knowledge with some stories along the way to ensure you maximise each day's cycling through Bonny Galloway.
All the cycling routes have of course been selected to provide the best scenery each day with plenty of tea room and refreshment stop options.

Arrival Day (1) - Arrive on Friday.
Option for pickup from Lockerbie railway station – 1 hour from both Glasgow and Edinburgh).
Welcome meeting with cycles fit and tour overview provided.
If early arrival, we will take a short 'acclimatisation' cycle to visit Carlingwark Loch, Threave Castle, (ring the bell for the boatman to take us to the castle on the island) also osprey nest viewing platform, and the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Garden on the way back into town where you can have a beer at our local brewery.
This short circuit can also been done on Day 1 if missed on arrival day.
4 star B&B accommodation on your first night in Castle Douglas.

Day 2 Kirkcudbright Circuit
Distance – from 23 miles (37 km) with extra miles option to visit Gatehouse of Fleet and an extra Burns location.
Grade – easy / moderate.
Terrain – a gentle rise towards Kirkcudbright then downhill to sea level and the town. Extra miles option has more hills.
Summary – Today can be a relatively easy cycling day with plenty of time to look around Kirkcudbright. Alternatively, if the group agrees, we can do extra miles and even take in Gatehouse of Fleet.

Features:
Rhonehouse village – picturesque village, site of the famous Kelton Fair. Ross Island – views of the island with lighthouse on one of the route options.
Kirkcudbright – the ‘county’ town has a museum, several art galleries and Maclellan’s Castle near the harbour where fishing boats land scallops, - with a good fish and chip shop nearby to sample them! A local hotel has a Burns room and is significant in the Robert Burns story. 
Gatehouse of Fleet (on longer route) - small town with kilt making shop, Mill on the Fleet visitor centre, castle and tea rokms and hotels, one frequented by Robert Burns.
Option to visit Threave Castle and / or Garden on return to Castle Douglas if not visited on arrival day.

Same B&B accommodation in Castle Douglas. 

Day 3 – Castle Douglas to Dumfries via Ellisland.
Distance – 32 miles.
Grade – Moderate with some short hills..
Terrain – Unfdulating countryside mostly.
Summary – A fantastic quiet route today through several villages with Ellisland Farm, where Robert Burns wrote many of his poems, being the focal point before heading down the River Nith Valley to Dumfries.

Features:
Villages - Several villages with character visited on the way to Ellisland, including one with a hotel or tea room for lunch.
Ellisland Farm - occupied by Robert Burns when he was 29 and in the peak of his powers.It is now a visitor centre and open to the public to look around.
Dumfries - the largest town in the region beside the River Nith.Several Burns and Bruce locations - see tomorrow.

Hotel accommodation in Dumfries.

Day 4 – A Dumfries Circuit, Part or Full Rest day.
Distance – from 5 to 25 miles.
Grade – Easy / Moderate.
Terrain – Fairly flat - depending on agreed route taken.
Summary – A flexible day. Visit Burns and Bruce locations on foot or by bike. Option to cycle around Dumfries on bike paths or a circular trip to Sweetheart Abbey. 

Features:
Robert Burns Centre - beside the river Nith in Dumfries.
Burns House - where he stayed - open to the public.
Globe Inn - the favourite howff of Robert Burns (tour arranged)
Burns Mausoleum - where Robert Burtns is buried.
Other Burns locations - on a Dumfries Burns trail.
Friars Vennel, Greyfriars Church, St Mary's Church, Devorgilla Bridge, Dumfries Museum and Castledykes Park (Dumfries Castle) - all featured in a Robert Burns 'Dumfries Town Trail'.

Same accommodation again.

Day 5 – Dumfries to Annan
Distance – 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 km)
Grade – Easy / moderate.
Terrain – Flat most of the way.  
Summary – Initially follow the River Nith from Dumfries along the estuary to the sea then along the Solway Coast to Annan. Several attractions with the new Annandale whisky distillery the focal point at the end of the day.

Features:
Castledykes Park and Dumfries Castle - if not visited yesterday.
Kingholm Quay – small port for Dumfries.
Glencaple – another small village by the River Nith estuary.
Caerlaverock Castle – fell to Robert the Bruce in 1312.
Caerlaverock Nature Reserve – tea room.
The Brow Well – a spot where Robert Burns bathed.
Ruthwell village – scenic village with museum of the world’s first savings bank.
Ruthwell Cross – an 8th century Anglo-Saxon cross in the local church.
Powfoot – village by the coast.
Annan - land where the Bruce's rose in power. The largest town in the area.
Annandale Distillery - The end of day highlight today, either by cycle or taxi from your hotel, is a visit to Annandale whisky distillery, with an exciting new visitor centre and whisky tasting!

Stay by the coast in a hotel with a golf course.

Day 6 – Annan to Lockerbie
Distance – 30 miles (48 km)
Grade – Easy / moderate.
Terrain – Reasonably flat most of the way.  
Summary – Continue to near the border with England to visit Gretna Green then on via Robert the Bruce’s Cave to Lockerbie and the last nights hotel accommodation. 

Features:
Devil’s Porridge Exhibition – a recently completed visitor centre depicting a significant local wartime ammunitions factory and local history.
Gretna Green - the famous marriage centre (still several marriages held most days). Visit the famous blacksmiths shop and popular visitors attraction with Scotland themed shops.
King Robert the Bruce’s Cave - accessed by a walkway along a rock face, where he is reputed to have got inspiration from a spider!
Ecclefechan – small village with a museum to Robert Carlyle, famous writer and historian, and home of the tasty Ecclefechan tart, 

Day 7 – Departure day.

A few minutes taxi to Lockerbie railway station.

Other Information

Arrival / Departure

Airports: Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester.

Train station: From all above train stations to Lockerbie (1 hour from both Glasgow and Edinburgh).

Arrival Transfer to Castle Douglas: included in cost - 45 mins.

Accommodation:
Small hotels, guest houses and B&B’s, 3 star and 4 star.

Dinners – Not included but there's always nearby hotel and restaurant options.

Included Services
+ pickup from Lockerbie railway station
+ welcome meeting
+ 6 nights en suite accommodation
+ 6 breakfasts.
+ luggage transfer.
+ support service
+ advice given for city break stays after or before cycle tour if desired