County Coun­sel: Dum­fries and Gal­loway

South-west Scot­land fea­tures rolling hills, beau­ti­ful lush coun­try­side, breath­tak­ing coast­line and some won­der­ful his­toric towns. Bry­ony Symes ex­plores

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

Ex­plore rolling hills, lush coun­try­side and coast­line, and his­toric towns. Bry­ony Symes is your guide

Head to Dum­fries for the Big Burns Supper; the Dum­fries Art Trail

1 Tales of a town

It might have a long, tur­bu­lent his­tory but the Dum­fries of to­day is lively and cre­ative, and of­ten cel­e­brates Robert Burns, who spent the last years of his life here. Visit Dum­fries and Gal­loway Avi­a­tion Mu­seum, Old Bridge House Mu­seum and the Dum­fries Mu­seum and Cam­era Ob­scura. Web www.dum­

2 Gal­loway For­est

Look­ing for some­where to es­cape for the day? You’re vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed to find your own cor­ner of peace and tran­quil­lity in Gal­loway For­est Park. The 300-square-mile area is hugely di­verse and has some spec­tac­u­lar views down val­leys, across lochs and over heather-clad moor­land. Web gal­loway­forest­

3 My heart will go on

The stun­ning re­mains of 700-year-old Sweet­heart Abbey hold on to a his­tory of love and de­vo­tion. Af­ter her hus­band died in 1268, Lady Der­vorgilla had his em­balmed heart put in an ivory cas­ket, which she car­ried with her. She founded Dolce Cor in trib­ute to her late hus­band, John Bal­liol. The monks at Sweet­heart Abbey buried her in front of the high al­tar, with her hus­band’s heart clutched to her chest. Web his­tori­cen­vi­ron­

4 Life on the wing

Al­though a com­mon sight to­day, the hum­ble red kite was ex­tinct in both Eng­land and Scot­land by 1879. The Gal­loway Kite Trail takes in some of Gal­loway For­est’s best view­ing points, in­clud­ing a feed­ing sta­tion, the old cages where the birds could be cared for and mon­i­tored, and more. Web­lowaykite­

5 Is­land fortress

Of the many cas­tles and for­ti­fied manors in Dum­fries and Gal­loway, Th­reave Cas­tle has a unique quirk: to reach it, you must take a boat across the River Dee to this fore­bod­ing is­land fortress. Tick­ets need to be bought at NTS Osprey Cen­tre, but you’ll have to wait un­til it re­opens in April. An­other must-see nearby is Th­reave Gar­den, with ba­ro­nial manor Th­reave House in the cen­tre of land­scaped beauty. The es­tate is a haven for wildlife. Web his­tori­cen­vi­ron­

6 Rock stars

This is great walk­ing coun­try, with enough routes to bog­gle your mind, but if you choose the hills north of Kirk­dale you’ll stum­ble upon a truly ex­tra­or­di­nary re­minder of our an­ces­tors. The gi­ant rocks at Cairn­holy make up two cham­bered cairns that are thought to date from be­tween 4000 and 6000 years ago. Web undis­cov­ered­scot­

7 Rab­bie’s home

Al­though Ayr­shire is largely re­garded as Burns Coun­try, one of the best places to learn about his life is at El­lis­land Farm, near Dum­fries, the home that he built in an idyl­lic spot. So idyl­lic, in fact, that it is said to have in­spired much of his work. Or fol­low in his foot­steps on the Gal­loway Tourist Route, which will take you to the Robert Burns Cen­tre. Web www.el­lis­land­

8 Arch in­stal­la­tion

The progress of An­drew Goldswor­thy’s Strid­ing Arches across the hills of Cairn­head is a beau­ti­ful nod to the land­scape of the South­ern Up­lands, a lit­tle-known un­spoilt glen. The project in­cludes an arch ex­tend­ing from a dis­used farm build­ing, which sits atop a plat­form of land that acts as a view­ing point for the sur­round­ing am­phithe­atre of hills. This is ideal coun­try for hill­walk­ing, so pack up your ruck­sack and head out. Web www.stridin­

9 Wildlife walk

Kirk­con­nell Flow Nature Re­serve fea­tures a thriv­ing raised bog. Fol­low the cir­cu­lar paths to ad­mire it or take a picnic for a re­lax­ing af­ter­noon. You may even spot adders and lizards! Web www.nnr-scot­

10 A Scotch sleep­ing beauty

A trip to Scot­land wouldn’t be com­plete with­out vis­it­ing a dis­tillery and savour­ing one of the coun­try’s most fa­mous ex­ports. Try some of the finest sin­gle malt Scotch whisky at An­nan­dale Dis­tillery, re­cently re­opened af­ter 90 years and with a her­itage dat­ing back to 1830. Choose from the clas­sic tour, the restora­tion tour, the dis­tillery man­ager’s tour, or a tour by the owner. Web an­nan­daledis­


You’ll get some su­perb views of Loch Trool on the walks in Gal­loway For­est Park











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