Scotland – The Beautiful South

GT3 - Scotland – The Beautiful South

Dates – Saturday June 13th (one tour only, unless a group request)

Start – from Castle Douglas (pickup from Lockerbie station if desired)
Distance – From 20 to 35 miles (32 to 56 km) a day, with flexibility in agreement with those on the tour.
Grade – Moderate - some reasonable hills.
Comments – This 6 days / 7 nights tour begins witha Scottish Riviera Circuit, the heads across river valleys to the Nith Valley, a fine cycling area with Drumlanrig Castle and the smithy where the pedal cycle was invented. The Glenkens, the Fleet valey, a National Scenic Area and Kirkcudbright artists town completes this excellent route. with different features each day 

Price – £725 p.p. -  i.e. around 925 E / 1160 USD / 1316 CAD assuming two sharing a room. (£915, i.e. around 1170 E / 1462 USD / 1660 CAD single)

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

Itinerary -

Arrival Day - Day 1 – Arrive to Castle Douglas.
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 2 or Day 3 if missed on arrival day.
Stay in Castle Douglas.

Day 2 – The Scottish Riviera 
Distance – 30 - 35 miles (48 - 56 km).
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – Undulating with  an occasional hill.
Summary – A circular tour to a National Scenic Area by the coast with a good lunch spot. Climb Orchardton Tower on the way back.

Haugh of Urr - village.
Mote of Urr -  the 80 foot high remains of a Saxon motte and bailey fort.
Dalbeattie – pop. 4000 – several features including excellent local museum and ‘7 Stanes’ mountain biking trailhead nearby.
Sandyhills Beach – expansive beach and recreational area - extra miles longer option.
Colvend – small visitor centre, shop and nearby craft farm.
Rockliffe – old fashioned village on the coast with excellent tea room, gallery and hotel.
Mote of Mark – former pre 7th century citadel of Celtic Chieftains with commanding views.
The Muckle Hill and Jubilee Path – another viewpoint and popular path. We also point you to an interesting house garden full of driftwood and stone features.
Kippford village
– a popular yachting village. We recommend a popular pub food location.
Palnackie – a former busy port beside the River Urr with a visitor attraction nearby.
Orchardton Tower – a 15th century tower house – the only round one in Scotland.
Sulwath brewery – a small brewery and visitor centre with tours – a good place to end the tour in town!
Carlingwark Loch – at the edge of Castle Douglas.
……and if not visited on arrival day,
Option to visit Threave Castle and / or Garden on return to Castle Douglas if not visited on arrival day.
Stay in Castle Douglas.

Day 3 – Castle Douglas to Thornhill
Distance – 30 - 35 miles (48 - 56 km)
Grade – moderate with a few challenging parts..
Terrain – Quite countryside roads with some hills.
Summary – Some spectacular scenery today crossing two river valleys to the pleasant tree-lined streets of Thornhill in the Nith valley.
A guided tour is best to find the old smithy and headstone of Kirkpatrick Macmillan with ‘inventor of the pedal cycle’ inscribed in the nearby hidden cemetery.

Small villages – pass through several small villages, one with a  tea room / shop stop option.
Glenkiln Reservoir - a loch in a beautiful location with a hillside sculpture.
Crocketford village - with shop and tea room.
Cairn Water Valley – cross this scenic river valley.
Dunscore village – with hilltop church.
River Nith Valley – join the Kirkpatrick Macmillan Cycle Trail with views over this larger valley.
Keir Mill – small village with the nearby smithy where the first pedal cycle was invented in 1840. Also the cemetery where Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the inventor is buried.
Penpont – small village with tea room and Macmillan info.
Thornhill – picturesque small town with good tea rooms and restaurants. Stay in Thornhill.

Day 4 – Thornhill Circuit
Distance – 16 - 30 miles (26 - 48 km) .
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – Undulating and scenic routes. Flat back to Thornhill.
Summary – Two castles and a picturesque village. Spend time at Drumlanrig Castle (castle tour etc) and easy return to Thornhill or continue cycling for those who want more miles.

Morton Castle – a 4th century ruined castle in spectacular scenery beside a loch and hills.
Durisdeer – cul de sac hamlet with 1699 church containing the fascinating Queensberry Marbles.
River Nith – river popular for fishing.
Drumlanrig Castle - a 1690 working castle owned by the Duke of Buccleuch. A castle tour of rooms with expensive paintings is popular. Kitchen tea room and other attractions. The gardens are also open to the public. Mountain biking and bike shop in the castle yard. Replica of the first pedal cycle.
Stay in Thornhill again.

Day 5 – Thornhill to Glenkens
Distance – 29 miles.
Grade – Moderate / Strenuous parts.
Terrain – A short steep hill and a grdual hill to give great views over the Glenkens and galloway Hills.
Summary – An upland route passing through some hillside communities including Moniaive as a highlight. Uses some parts of the National Byways Cycle Route.
Tynron village – a peaceful small village formerly a refuge for Covenanters.
Moniaive – Attractive village with village cross dating from 1638. We visit a tea house and chocolate shop.
Striding Arches Sculpture – An Andy Goldsworthy sculpture – detour option.
Single Track moorland road – single track road with commanding views over the hills – beware of the wandering sheep!
Earlstoun Loch – views over the Loch and Glenkens.
Loch Lochinvar – on detour route.
Balmaclellan – another hillside village with Old Mortality statue and Scotland’s only Clog and Shoe Workshop. See our info. A detour option.
St John’s Town of Dalry – hillside town with several features – your accommodation town for tonight..

Day 6 – Glenkens to Gatehouse of Fleet  
Distance – 30 to 35 miles (48 to 56 km)
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – Fairly flat to Laurieston, then over a hill to Gatehouse.  
Summary – Visit New Galloway, then a pleasant cycle by Loch Ken with short detour options around Mossdale. After Laurieston village cycle through a forest to moorland with great vierws over the Fleet Valley.

New Galloway -
smallest Royal Burgh in Scotland with Catstrand arts centre.
Loch Ken - cycle beside the loch. 
Mossdale - with shop and detours. 
SR Crockett Memorial - Crockett was a popular author in his day to rival Sir Walter Scott - died 1814.
Laurieston village - with Phil McMenemy's photographic gallery, weather centre and a bakery - all not open to the public but we may have a look in!.
Kenick Wood - picnic spot.
Knocktinkle Viewpoint - over the Fleet Valley.
Fleet Valley detour option - by an ancient oak woodland.
Gatehouse of fleet - small town by the River Fleet, with Cardoness Castle, kilt making shop and Mill on the Fleet visitor centre. In a National Scenic Area.

Stay in Gatehouse of Fleet. (Option for a 'palace' upgrade accommodation tonight with a swimming pool and golf course).

Day 7 – Gatehouse to Castle Douglas
Distance – 25 - 35 miles (40 - 56 km)
Grade – Moderate.
Terrain – Flat to undulating by the coast. A hill after Kirkcudbright.  
Summary – A pleasant cycle by the islands of Fleet to Kirkcudbright artists town, an ideal spot for lunch and to look around before continuing the last 10 miles to Castle Douglas,

Cally Wood - with Cally Garden .
Sandgreen - with beach.
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 – easily missed.
The Coo’s Palace – an interesting farm tower.
Borgue village – pub with limited opening hours (we provide the details)
Brighouse and Ross Bays – detour options – we outline the merits.
Dhoon Bay – a bay popular with locals.
Twynholm – a detour option with the David Coulthard museum and Cocoa Bean chocolate factory.
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!
Rhonehouse village – picturesque village, site of the famous Kelton Fair.
Castle Douglas - with end of tpour beer at Sulwath brewery.

Day 8 – Departure day.
Transport back to Lockerbie railway station if required..

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 - Selected tried and tested small hotels, guest houses and B&B’s, 3 star and 4 star (upgrades available on some nights).

Dinners – Not Included. Dinners either in your accommodation, if a hotel, or at a nearby food pub or restaurant.

Included Services
+ pickup from Lockerbie railway station
+ welcome meeting
+ 7 nights en suite accommodation
+ 7 breakfasts.
+ luggage transfer.
+ support service
+ advice given for city break stays after or before cycle tour if desired