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Our walk started from the main village carpark, taking us down to the River Fleet and through the woods, supposedly a circular walk. We found ourselves at the golf course and then at a deadend by a water treatment works!! We passed all the above features, as well as a ruined building, which was an old school for the children of workers on Cally estate.
We ended up in a beautiful park, by a fantastic childrens play area complete with zipwire. We thought it wonderful that the council here were so forward thinking in allowing such a "dangerous" item!!
A wonderful feature of Gatehouse is that it is surrounded by glorious countryside, mainly accessible, as well as having some wonderful parkland.
On another occasion we walked along Water of Fleet from Cardoness Castle, taking a look at the old port where a canal had been cut to join the river and acessing the centre of the town.This is all now a nature reserve.
Written Aug 30, 2012
Address: Gatehouse Of Fleet
We decided to have a look at Cally Gardens, being so close and enjoying garden visits.As well as a garden, it is a nursery, selling thousands of specialist plants.
The entrance is way along the drive to Cally Palace Hotel, deep in Cally Oak Woods. Along here are various paths and cycle tracks.
The 2.7 acre walled garden was originally built in the 1770's to provide fruit and vegetables for Cally House (now the hotel.) During WW2 children from Glasgow were evacuated here when the garden was turned over to food supplies and the digging for victory act was brought in. It gradually fell into neglect andsoon became badly overgrown. In 1987 Michael Wickenden found the garden and decided it was ideal for the project he had in mind, a sheltered garden where he could develop a specialist nursery.
The garden, buildings and hothouses are still being restored and the proceeds from plant sales in the nursery here and the admission price of £2.50 go towards the ongoing upkeep and restoration.
We were the only visitors and enjoyed meandering along the paths, stopping to have our coffee by the hothouses and browsing the leaflet for the garden. Unfortunately, it had been raining a lot and most of the flowers were looking a little bedraggled and although we were disappointed there were no vegs. growing, we still enjoyed our visit.
Lots of info on the website below.
Updated Aug 30, 2012
Address: Cally Gardens, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas,
Phone: 01557 815029
On an extremely wet day, we decided to get off site and travel through lauriston Forest.
Our first stop was at the newly constructed viewpoint carpark at Knock tinkle. I am sure on a fair day, the views are wonderful, looking out over the hills (see weblink below.)I guess it is a good starting point dfor walkers.Unfortunately, we couldn't even get out of the motorhome it was blowing so hard and the rain was torrential. We decided to stop and cook our lunch before pressing on.
This road is a lovely run out and on such a dire day, was very quiet, we hardly saw another car.
There is an excellent parking and picnic spot once in the forest, at the Lauriston end, which we stopped in to have a wander along the beck. There are waymarked trails here but owing to the weather, we just had a little wander through the forest, across the road. Even here, there were picnic tables and seats carefully placed to take advantage of the nature all around. We walked over springy moss and turf and noticed, as in other places, how the moss had encroached on everything, rocks, trees ,stumps, dead wood, all creating a rather spooky picture.
Owing to the constant rain, it was impossible to take photos.
AUG.2012 WE RETURNED HERE TO SPEND A VERY PEACEFUL NIGHT, NO TRAFFIC AT ALL.
Updated Aug 28, 2012
Address: Lauriston, D&G
We had to visit Cardoness Castle as it was right on our doorstep, so to speak, during our stay in the area. Unfortunately our visit coincided with that of every school in the area as well as the groundsmen strimming the grass, so none too peaceful a visit! Still, it was a worthwhile visit and there was a lot more to the castle than we had at first anticipated.
This was a six storey tower house built for the McCullochs in the 15th century. The approach is up a steep banking and first impressions are grand.
There are at least three large vaulted cellars - they must have dined well, this family! There is also a two tiered prison, the bottom cell windowless with the upper cell directly over this having the odd slit for air and even a toilet! Obviously, it depended how highly ranked you were as to whether you ended up in the upper or lower cell!
The great hall is very impressive, with massive fireplaces and ample storage cupboards - I have never noticed a castle having such storage space before. There is also a "buffet," shown in the fourth photo,the true meaning of the word is a place to show off valuables.
You can climb up numerous spiral staircases and eventually end up right at the top (not for the faint-hearted!) where the wonderful views include Fleet Bay.
Admission for adults is £4.
Toilets and tea room.
Updated May 17, 2012
Address: Gatehouse Of Fleet, DG7 2EH
Gatehouse of Fleet is a small town in an area of special scientific interest in Dumfries and Galloway.It is surrounded by moors and forests and close by is a stunning bit of coastline.The area is rich in flora and fauna and I have to admit, the wild flowers everywhere we went were terrific
The town was developed in the 1700's by James Murray who had the extensive Cally House (now a hotel)built in that time. At that time,the town was merely a staging post for traffic for Port Patrick and onwards to Ireland but between 1760 and 1850 a thriving cotton industry was developed. The town grew rapidly and had four cotton mills, tanneries, a foundry, a brewery and a soap facrory. It's population was then twice the size it is today!
Part of the Fleet which was used as a harbour was canalised in 1824 to enable ships to trade and up to 150 ships a year would call.
The town is a delight to wander around with old fashioned, individual shops to browse as well as a visitor centre at the old mill and a pleasant park to wander in.
The clock tower is probably the most noticeable building in the town but there is also an interesting drinking fountain.
We found an incredibly cheap charity shop where we stocked up on reading material at an amazing price of 10p a book!
Updated May 17, 2012
Address: Gatehouse of Fleet, D.& G.
Fleet Bay is an inlet at the mouth of Water of Fleet, some 1.5 miles from Gatehouse of Fleet.It has miles of silver sand, rock pools, islands, rocky outcrops and is home to some beautifully located caravan parks.
The bay is shallow and is a safe haven for many types of boating and water activities.Access on it's eastern shore by road is from the A55 to Carrick Bay and Knockbrex. Sandgreen Caravan Park also boasts it's own private beaches in this area.Access from the western side is from the various caravan parks, some of which do not allow access without permission.
The beaches where we were camped had numerous high water lines consisting of many different types of shells. In some parts the shells were inches deep. Further out onto the sands lugworm is there for the digging for bait, which we did one evening. The following day we tried fishing from our boat but couldn't even get the crabs interested. We also tried fishing for mackerel with no luck but on our last day when it was too rough to get our boat out, we actually saw yseabirds bombing the water for fish. Perhaps this was the arrival of the mackerel? We were just too early in the season!
Updated May 15, 2012
Address: Fleet Bay, Gatehouse of Fleet, D.& G.
When the tide is out, it is possible to walk the whole way to Mossyard Bay on the sands. I tried this but was not so keen on parts where the soft sand sucked me in so headed for the first beach at Mossyard. There is a footpath from the backshore through the trees that takes you onto a nicely mown grass footpath. The verges of the path were covered in wild flowers in May, primroses, bluebells, campions, wood anenome, orchids, celendine and the prolific gorse was a brilliant yellow.It was so beautiful...
From the path you can then access the gorgeous sandy cove in my first picture and beyond this is more sand and rocky islands making this a stunning location.
Set back off these beaches (not visible from where I was) is a popular caravan and camping site which has statics and a few wooden chalets. I was amazed with the close proximity of this site that on my walk I saw only four people, everywhere so quiet.
Written May 15, 2012
Address: Mossyard Bay,Dumfries and Galloway.
Take the B796 from Gatehouse of Fleet for some 7 miles or so after which you will see a signpost for viaduct and visitor centre. This is a rough track but perfectly doable in a motorhome.
The road initially follows the disused railway before it cuts off leftwards, rejoining at the viaduct.
Before the viaduct, there is a visitor centre but ignore this park and continue on to viaduct. To explore the viaduct park here, you can walk up onto the disused track via a footpath from the picnic area and information board here. Further on is a further picnic and parking area.
The railway was opened in 1861 and was known as the Port Road, linking Port Patrick and Dumfries.It's 300 yards and twenty arches spans the Big Water of Fleet (which was merely a trickle on our visit and the viaduct just seemed totally out of proportion!) and is a most impressively huge piece of architecture. During WW2 it played an important role,transporting supplies that arrived in the country and also moved US forces along the line.
Sadly, during the Beeching rail cuts the line closed in 1965. It has a claim to fame - being used in the 1939 film The 39 Steps. Come on, everyone remembers that scene......
There are walking trails to follow and the views from up by the viaduct are pretty decent.
A most impressive piece of workmanship indeed.
Written May 17, 2012
We nearly gave this site a miss, being up a very narrow and steep road but in the end, we decided to take the motorbike off the van and travel that way.
We were so glad we made the effort; what a beautiful location and tranquil ancient site this is!!Set on a hillside, surrounded by more hills on one side and the sea on the other, it had obviously been chosen with great care as a place of worship and burial.
The two cairns, situated some distance apart, date from Neolithic times, before 4000 BC and are a typical example of the Clyde type burial cairns built in these parts. The first cairn, Cairnholy 1 is the better preserved and this is where we met Joe, an American who had moved to these parts some time ago. He helped us to understand what these places might have been, how the stones were all lined up slightly differently so as to take in the different solstices with the summer solsice sunset shining directly through the entrance.Could this have been an ancient calendar?He also made us notice that one set of stones created a curved line whereas the other formed a straight line, the same with the tops of the stones. He told us not to speculate but to look! It was all quite fascinating and the more we did look, the more we saw.
Cairnholy 11, further up the track, is aligned in the opposing direction, we think! This is reputably the tomb of the mythical King Galdus.
The site was excavated in 1949 and part of an axe made from the rare green stone, jadeite, from the Alps, was discovered .The site finds are in The Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
You really need to visit this place on a beutiful day when you can fully appreciate it's location and alignment with the hills and setting sun.
From the A75 heading towards Creetown,a signpost points to the right. This is a very narrow road of about a mile with few passing places. There is a small parking area by Cairnholy 1.
Written May 17, 2012