Day 1 - Castle Douglas to Gatehouse of Fleet - around 25 miles with half on forestry roads
Today you cycle by Loch Ken and pass through two prominent nature reserves. In between you follow the old railway line west - which was a significant feature in the 1930's murder mystery novel 'Five Red Herrings' written by Dortothy L. Sayers. After passing two lochs on this peaceful route, the cycling / biking is thereafter fairly flat to Cairnsmore of Fleet nature reserve which has a small visitor centre explaining the area's designation as a Unesco biosphere and Dark Sky Park. A disused railway viaduct is a prominent feature in this recreation area. The last 6 miles today is downhill into the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area and Gatehouse of Fleet which is a pleasant small town to look around.
Day 2 - Gatehouse of Fleet to Newton Stewart - around 21 miles with 5 miles off road.
The route we choose today links up to a strenuous old military road over a long hill towards Creetown. After a mile or so on a tarred road, the route follows a track road where you may have to push your bike. The road eventually improves and later joins a tarred road again all the way to Creetown, with the option of great views from a hilltop mast site short detour along the way. We suggest a good tea room in Creetown. The railway line bike path then takes you to Kirroughtree forestry visitor and mountain biking centre, again with cafe and bike hire shop. Another short but steep hill takes you to Newton Stewart; your overnight stop. A rest day can be incorporated in this tour, based in Newton Stewart.
Day 3 - Newton Stewart to the Glenkens - around 35 miles.
Head upstream by the River Cree today to Glentrool. This hilly area is popular for walking and also biking, being one of the 7 Stanes mountain biking centres. A forestry visitor centre with tea room is a welcome stop before heading to Bruce's Stone at the head of Loch Trool and into the hills. It is a fairly remote area with the bike route roughly following the same line as the cross country walking route; the Southern Upland Way.
The forestry road turns to a tarred road before you emerge at Clatteringshaws loch, again with a forestry vistor centre beside the loch. Continue on over a hill into the Glenkens area passing two hydro power stations. Accommodation will be arranged in St John's Town of Dalry with the hotel having a popular restaurant.
Day 4 - The Glenkens to Castle Douglas - from 17 miles.
Depart from the Glenkens area and head south by Loch Ken down the Ken / Dee valley back to Castle Douglas. You have an option to detour to Balmaclellan village and Ken Bridge, a previous night's accommodation option, before arriving at New Galloway, the smallest Royal Burgh in Scotland. You have the choice of three tea rooms here including an arts visitor centre. Have a pleasant cycle beside Loch Ken for a distance before passing Mossdale village. If you didn't have time to have a look at Threave Castle or Garden on your arrival day, you can visit there, or have an end of tour beer at Sulwath brewery or visit one of the tea rooms in Castle Douglas. If an extra night's accommodation is required, this can be arranged.
An extra day - Dalbeattie Forest
Dalbeattie Forest mountain biking centre is only 8 miles from Castle Douglas, so an extra day biking in the forest with a scenic loop by the coast is a possibility. We can drop you at the trailhead so you can do a basic 13 miles loop or as long as want in the trails within the forest.
You can visit the town of Dalbeattie after the trails and we can provide a route back to Castle Douglas by an old tower house or we can pick you up.
Back in Castle Douglas you can truly celebrate the end of your tour at Sulwath brewery.
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