Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) and Robert Burns (1759-96) were contemporaries, but while the birthplace of the former goes overboard in its celebration of its most famous son, the town where Burns spent the last few years of his life remembers him in a more Scottish manner: dour and understated. Okay, there is a statue of Burns at the end of the High Street, you can admire the gothic splendour of his mausoleum amid the crumbling gravestones at St Michael's Church, and there is a corner of the Globe Inn preserved forever as it was when he drank there - but where are the Scotland Burns tee-shirts, the haggis-to-go souvenir boxes, the Rabbie's Lowland Whisky? Dumfries obviously needs some marketing guru to help local traders separate tourists from their money.
welly boots and a rain coat!
Dumfries is in the gulf stream from the Solway Coast so it isnt normally too cold - however it rains lots and lots! It may be home to the Gates rubber factory which makes fab welly boots but I'd bring your own just in case...
Windswept beach with fossils thrown in!
Carsethorn lies a mere 25 minutes drive from Dumfries along the A710: a beautiful road that takes you through New Abbey with its evocative Sweetheart Abbey and along the foot of the region's highest hill, Criffell. It is one of my favourite beaches.
It is a windswept bay, that has rocks and sand, thus creating the sorts of rock pools at low tide that can keep children amused for hours (well, minutes anyway). As children we would spend hours seeking out dead jellyfish and the screeching when we found them and running away!
Among the rocks and pebbles you will very easily spot fossils, thousands of them. This is the reason you'll find those in the know, strolling, like my father in the photo, head-down rather than taking in the beauty around.
After a brisk walk down the beach (making sure you don't get cut off by the tide), you can repere to Carsethorn village's great watering hole, the Steamboat Inn... a historical inn that will welcome you with a fine collection of whiskies and a wonderful menu.
This village is steeped in the history of Scottish emigration. Many Scots in the 1700's and 1800's left from Carsethorn port seeking fame and fortune in the new world. Nearby you will also find the birthplace of John Paul Jones, father of the US navy.
Walking (hillwalking & otherwise) around Dumfries
It seems like there are beautiful walks falling out of the sky around Dumfries.
For info on walking safely in the Galloway Hills see the following weblink for Galloway Mountain Rescue Team
The following is from http://www.walkscotland.plus.com/. For more detailed info on walking in South West Scotland this website is highly recommended
"The South West of Scotland tends to be ignored by most visitors to Scotland as they head north for the the classic tourist destinations - Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Skye and the West Highlands in general.
For the people who live in the area and for the more discriminating visitor this general rush northwards is quite a blessing. We here are not afflicted by the more brash appendages of tourism, and the crowded roads that go with it. This is an area where you will find, mostly, ordinary people just getting on with their own lives in a quiet rural landscape where there is peace and space aplenty to savour the more subtle qualities of Scottish land and culture.
For the 'serious' walker there is a coast to coast walk across the whole width of southern Scotland called the "Southern Upland Way". As with tourism so with walking - the "West Highland Way" is where most 'serious' walkers rush to in Scotland. On the Southern Upland Way you would not expect to find yourself part of a long snaking line of people making their way across country like a mini refugee procession.
And this is surely the outstanding feature of walking in this area - you can easily get away from other people into some wonderful countryside of shoreline, hills and lochs, under a big ever-changing sky, with the peace to let it all penetrate into your soul. It is quite possible to spend a whole day walking and not meet another example of homo sapiens, though buzzards, ravens, falcons, eagles, ferrel goats, sheep, foxes, hares ...... Well the place belongs to them really doesn't it? We are privileged to be mere interlopers here and wonder at it all.
So while there is this national walkway through the area, and while there are popular routes along the coast or up onto the best known hills, like Criffel, Screel or Merrick, the real way to see this area is to 'walk on the wild side'. Right of access is pretty well unlimited in the wilder parts of the region (and there is plenty of that). So you can study the maps, work out a route to suit yourself and just head for the hills. This demands a totally different mind set from the 'serious' walker intent on 'bagging Munros' - where the object is to be able to say you have been to the top of every mountain in Scotland over three thousand feet.
There are no Munros south of Ben Lomond, so you won't be knee deep in 'baggers' here.
All we would like to offer in this site is an introduction to the possibilities of this area for people who prefer not to go with the herd - and these possibilities are pretty well unlimited. For example you could be out on the hill each week for a year and never on the same route twice, though you would come into the same ranges of hills from every conceivable angle, and in every conceivable weather! This gives you a kind of awareness map of the whole area. You get to know what it is like to be on those hills over there and look back to where you are now.
The spirit of the place comes together like a big jigsaw in your head. Past walks and today's merge into one big experience, and over the years you will want to go back and feel the uniqueness of individual areas again and again - and it is never the same twice - cliche as that may seem. The sense of individual freedom and yet infinite relatedness is awesome. The sun, the mist, the bitter cold wind and rain, the physical exertion, the tiredness in the body, the dram on the top of the hill, is your experience of it nobody else's - magic. Mouseover the image below to see the names of the various hills in this combined image."
Dumfries - Gateway to Galloway
Dumfries - gateway to Galloway - is the first town of any real size that you come to after crossing the border from England. The Galloway area in the southwest of Scotland is often overlooked by tourists, as they rush by on their way to the urban delights of Glasgow or the rugged splendour of the Highlands. But the hills of Galloway have a smoother, rounder, calmer appeal; the lochs are smaller and their waters sparkle in a softer, more enticing light; the local people, ever reticent as Scots are towards strangers, offer a gentler, kinder welcome.