The Magical Stewartry Tour
Ride the artist landscape
Galloway's coast has always had more than its share of history. The remains of long abandoned settlements are dotted along the coast, with ruined churches and graveyards now in the middle of fields. People raised stone circles and cairns, and left behind cup and ring carved art thousands of years old.
The Romans were here, as were the Vikings and Picts, then pirates and smugglers. Christianity was founded here, and great abbeys became the centre for learning and pilgrimage.
There are sandy beaches that you can often have to yourself. Spectacular towering cliffs, hidden bays and spectacular views to the Lake District, the Isle of Man and Ireland. Take your time and explore.
Start: Gatehouse of Fleet
Time: Any time
Day 1 -
Gatehouse of Fleet - Kirkcudbright
You start from Gatehouse of Fleet with a ride along the coast. Vikings, smugglers and pirates sailed the hidden harbours of this beautiful stretch of coast. Whenever possible the route takes off-road tracks to ride by the side of the sea. Watch out for seals on the rocks and peregrines hunting.
Kirkcudbright is your first overnight stop. ( You could stay here an extra day to visit galleries or bike to Threave Castle. )
Day 2 -
Kirkcudbright - Kippford
A ride along beautiful and quiet coastal roads to the ruined abbey of Dundrennan. Mary Queen of Scots spent her final night on Scottish soil here at this Cistercian Monastery. You continue along the coast, visiting Orchardton Tower and the rather quirky harbour of Palnackie, and ending your day at Kippford. You will fall in love with what many think is the most beautiful harbour in Galloway. A walk to the shell beach after food is a must for the evening.
Day 3 -
Kippford - Dumfries
You leave ' The Scottish Riviera ' and head for more open country, with views to the Lake District. We route you along tracks and quite lanes to visit Southerness Lighthouse, the second oldest in Scotland and the birthplace of John Paul Jones. One time local pirate and founder of both the American and Russian navies. New Abbey has a great cafe and your second stunning ruined abbey, Sweetheart Abbey. You continue into Dumfries to end your short tour.
This route can be as little as 70 miles in total for a short break or long weekend. There are ways to extend the route to over 100 miles if you prefer.