Cycletours in Galloway by Dave Moss.
For maps over all the tours; please click on the link below.
if you want to contact Dave Moss.
I got an e-mail from Dave Moss in September 2001 stating that I had forgotten to include Galloway in these pages. Frankly, I had always looked at Galloway with mild contempt because The Highlands and the islands is for me the real Scotland. I have also had a couple of uninteresting tours in the Ayr, Kilmarnock and Largs area. I therefore deemed Galloway as below my dignity. But Dave Moss then sent me an e-mail with more details. My curiosity was awoken. Then his first installment of the two parts of Galloway rides arrived in my mailbox and I got really interested. A webpage was found. Next summer, I will visit Galloway myself. So much for my views about cycling in Scotlandů.
I let Dave Moss take over in his own words. Cheers, Dave !!
Belfast 9. October 2001.
Mountainous rides in the South of Scotland Part One
The Newton Stewart Highland Fling.
Newton Stewart hosts a youth hostel so makes a good base for a few days, but watch out for the local cowboys at the weekend. Two guys from a visiting tarmac contractors who we once employed went on to Newton Stewart and left with a wife each!
This ride takes you away through the granite heartland of Galloway and back again.
From N.St. take the A712 "Queens Drive" . this climbs gradually up through the Galloway Forest Park and includes some real mountain scenary. Golden eagles are around, but rarely seen. The wild goats and red deer show themselves a little mor often. At Clatteringshaws Loch stop at the deer museum and sample the cafe.
When you are fed and watered, carry on down to New Galloway, there's a cafe near the bridge if you resited the last one. Turn right on the A762 on the West shore of Loch Ken and on to Lauriston. Turn right onto the minor road for Gatehouse of Fleet, If the time is right you could try a pub lunch here.
You now have a tough climb over the hill road, but the view as you approach Gatehouse is superp.In G'house a visit to the Mill is an option.
From here you may be ready for the easy(easier!) route via the main A75, the coastal scenary is good and this stretch isn't that busy unless theres a convoy heading for the Irish Ferry. if your up to it you can take the hill road over to Creetown where the Gem Rock Museum is worth a visit and has a cafe.
You then have no choice but the A75 for a few miles, although I think they are working on a cycle link along the old railway so you may be in luck by next summer.
Variations include 1)taking the raiders road(un tarred forest road, but spectacular) from clatteringshaws and by pass New Galloway. 2) From Newton Stewart take the back road to Glentrool and after a short bit of walking/carrying, follow the Southern upland way on forest roads past Loch Dee , you can go either way round Claterringshaws to the A712. you could head straight back to Newton stewart and make this a completly separate ride
Don't be put of by the A classification of the roads, as you know, everything is relative, an "A" road here is a country lane in Southern England.
West of N.Stewart I don't know, so part two will take you East to To the Highest Village in Scotland
Here is an idea for Part 2 of my Galloway Rides series.
From the west of Galloway all roads lead to Newton Stewart, but to move on from there there are several choices, the Coast and Southern rolling countryside or the Hill roads to New Galloway(see ride 1).
This ride starts from New Galloway and assumes you will be moving on, so it doesn't come back. It takes us to Scotlands Highest village, Wanlockhead, where I think there is still a Youth Hostel, If not plan you accomodation in advance because you don't want to be stuck up there with no where to stay. One option may be to stay overnight in Sanquar or Thorhill where there is more choice and make Wanlockhead the start of the next ride.
From New Galloway we head for Moniave, a look at the map will reveal several options, and they are all good choices, but I will sugest you head North to St John's Town of Dalry (know locally simply as Dalry). from here make for Moniave through the forests and hills along the A702. Don't expect to see a shop,or even any people, in between, but both villages have shops, cafes and pubs.
From Moiave the easier rout is to stay on the A702 to Penpont, but you could take the shorter back route route through Tynron up the very steep hill by taking the left turn immediatly after the bridge. (turn left and go over the bridge on the other side, dut not first left up the valley).Continue on the A702 (or rejoin from tynron ) through Penpont ( shop if required ). about 2 km after Penpont there are a group of houses on a sharp bend, take the minor road at the bend (sort of straight on as the main road goes right). This road soon brings you to Drumlanrig Castle (Scandinavians will pronounce it much better than an Englishman like me), A stately home open to the public and home of Britains largest landowner (his lands are large, not him!) There is also a cycle museum here..
Having sampled the Dukes cafe at the castle, ride down the tree lined avenue and at the end of the long straight take the left road, this is a superbly scenic route with some spendid vievs across the Nith Valley. At the end of this road turn right and this brings you down to a bridge over the Nith Go over the bridge and right onto the busy A76, watch your back on this road, but fortunatly its only for a few miles to the turning for Wanlockhead. If you choose to visit the ancient Borough of Sanqhuar (pronounced "sanker") which boasts the worls oldest post office stay on the other side of the river and come back down on the A76.
The road to Wanlockhead climbs then climbs again, the heather here produces great honey. The village boasts an excellant lead mining museum with a good cafe and the highest bowling green in Scotland.
If you want a real challenge and a thrill, from the top end of the village there is a well surfaced road up to the radar station at the top of lowther hill( the big Golf Balls) as a cyclists you can ignore the barrier and any signs that might claim the road to be private ( if challenged speak in Norwegian!) Its over 700metre at the top, so you may like to leave your bags at the bottom.When you get to the top you come back down the same way, some would say this is pointless but others know better.
think part three will take us to Moffat, but that will wait for another day.
Drumlanrig host a big cycle rally every year, you may wish to time your visit with this.