The Galloway Explorer Guided Cycle Tour

 GT2 - The Galloway Explorer Guided Cycle Tour

Start – 2014 dates to be chosen. Please ask.
Distance – Around 30 to 35 miles a day, with flexibility in agreement with those on the tour.
Grade – Moderate.
Comments – A popular route covereing a variety of terrain with lots of places of interest, including Bladnoch whisky distillery with award winning accommodation nearby.
Price – £750 p.p.

Tour Features - Below we briefly list the 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.

B&B accommodation in Castle Douglas on the Sunday night.

Arrival Day - Arrive on Sunday.
If early arrival, you can take a short 'acclimatisation' cycle to visit the following places.
Carlingwark Loch – at the edge of Castle Douglas.
Threave Garden – one of Scotland’s finest gardens. Just outside Castle Douglas and on a cycle route.
Threave Castle – ring the bell for the boatman to take you to the castle on the island – again just outside Castle Douglas on a different route.
Castle Douglas ‘food town’ – a popular shopping centre with lots of attractive independent shops. 

Day 1 – Castle Douglas to St John's Town of Dalry
Distance – 23 miles (37 km) including 6 miles on untarred roads.
Grade – easy / moderate.
Terrain – relatively flat most of the way to New Galloway, then a hill or two.
Summary – A pleasant peaceful route through a nature reserve, visting a red deer compound and along an old railway line and beside Loch Ken to New Galloway, an ideal lunch stop. Another 6 miles visiting Balmaclellan village on the way to your destination and a quaint county inn.

Glenlochar barrage – on the River Dee,
Balmaghie Kirk – great views across Lock Ken on this hilltop church.
Ken Dee Marshes Nature Reserve – with bird hides, red squirrels etc beside Loch Ken.
Red Deer - can be seen in a gamekeeper's compound - off the beaten path.
Mossdale village – with shop, limited opening times.
Old railway line and The Raiders forestry road - visit Loch Stroan option.
Loch Ken – nearly 10 miles long.
New Galloway - arts centre, tea rooms we suggest, riverside pub nearby.
Balmaclellan - village with clog making workshop.
St John's Town of Dalry - village beside the Water of Ken with riverside walk.

 B&B accommodation in St John's Town of Dalry

Day 2 – St John's Town of Dalry to Wigtown
Distance – 28 miles.
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – A hill stretch soon after Dalry, then generally to sea level at Newton Stewart and flat to Wigtown..
Summary – You cycle through the Galloway Forest Park to Newton Stewart then alongside the estuary to Wigtown, Scotland’s ‘book town’. 

Glenlee hydro power station – with fish ladder.
Galloway Forest Park – spectacular mountainous scenery with a tarred road to cycle on.
Clatteringshaws loch – forestry visitor centre – see our info for opening times.
Red Deer Range – guided tours – see our info.
Wild Goat Park – viewing area beside the road.
Murray’s monument and Grey Mare’s Tail – a good stop place - with a dramatic hidden waterfall.
Glen of Bar Viewpoint – views over a deep glen
Newton Stewart ‘Gateway to the Galloway Hills’ - an interesting market town beside the River Cree with a cinema and several attractions – see leaflet we provide.
Bladnoch whisky distillery – distillery tours.
Wigtown - ‘Scotland’s book town’ – lots of book shops.

B&B accommodation in Wigtown.

Day 3 – The Machars Circuit
Distance – options from 31 miles.
Grade – Esay / Moderate.
Terrain – Reasonably flat much of the way.
Summary – A fine cycle down the Machars peninsula nevber far from the coast with Garlieston a stop before Isle of Whithorn for lunch. Return by Whithorn and country roads.

Garlieston – small harbour with Galloway House garden nearby – see our info.
Isle of Whithorn – a picturesque fishing port with good pub for food.
Whithorn – historical town with Cradle of Christianity visitor centre and old priory.
St Ninians Cave – religious haven - detour option.
Several Machars hamlets – with places of interest depending on route taken.

Same accommodation again.

Day 4 – Wigtown to Gatehouse of Fleet
Distance – 28 miles.
Grade – Moderate with a couple of strenuous parts.
Terrain – flat to Newton Stewart then a steep hill after Newton Stewart, then a gradual long hill before 6 miles downmhill at the end..
Summary – After Newton Stewart you visit Kirroughtree mountain biking centre, then follow an old railway line before heading over a peaceful hill to a nature reserve and a mystical area mentioned in at least two books. 

Newton Stewart ‘Gateway to the Galloway Hills’ – a riverside market town.
Kirroughtree Forestry Visitor Centre – mountain biking, walking and recreation area.
Creetown – old ‘ferry toon’ with ‘The Wickerman’ featured hotel, Gem Rock Museum.
Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve - with visitor centre and viaduct.
Gatehouse Station – disused railway station – a significant place in the novels ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’ and ‘Five Red Herrings’.
National Scenic Area – Fleet Valley National Scenic Area and a detour via Castramon Wood.
Gatehouse of Fleet - an interesting town beside the River Fleet with several attractions which we provide info about. 

B&B accommodation in Gatehouse.

Day 5 – Gatehouse of Fleet to Castle Douglas
Distance – 28 miles.
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – nothing too difficult.
Summary – We take you around the line of coast to Kirkcudbright, an ideal lunch spot. Then we go inland to Castle Douglas for a beer at Sulwath brewery at the end of the tour.

Cally Palace Hotel – pass the front door of this grand house with 18 hole golf course. 
Sandgreen – a beach detour.
Cream o’ Galloway ice cream farm – a great place to stop for a refreshment. More than ice cream to experience!
Carrick Shore and Knockbrex Hill Viewpoint – a detour option we point out with views over the Isles of Fleet.
Kirkandrews kirk – we'll get the key nearby.
The Coo’s Palace – an interesting farm tower.
Borgue village – pub with limited opening hours (we might call in)
Brighouse and Ross Bays – detour options – we outline the merits.
Dhoon Bay – a bay popular with locals.
Kirkcudbright – Scotland’s artists’ town with castle, fishing port, art galleries and the Stewartry museum.
Tongland – hamlet with two interesting bridges which cross the River Dee.
Rhonehouse – once home of the biggest horse fair in Scotland. All the former hotels are now houses!
Castle Douglas - we'll have an end of tour beer at the brewery or tea room if preferred.
Tour End

Accommodation again in Castle Douglas..