Gatehouse of Fleet Travel Guide

  • First view of viaduct, driving up the road.
    First view of viaduct, driving up the...
    by nickandchris
  • One of the hotels in Gatehouse of Fleet
    One of the hotels in Gatehouse of Fleet
    by nickandchris
  • Flowers.
    Flowers.
    by nickandchris

Gatehouse of Fleet Things to Do

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    by nickandchris Written Aug 30, 2012

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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.

    Sculpture on walk in Gatehouse. The old mill, restored, Gatehouse of Fleet. Old waterwheel, Gatehouse of Fleet. Statue by the mill, Gatehouse of Fleet.
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    by nickandchris Updated Aug 30, 2012

    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.

    Colour in the garden at Cally Garden. Lovely reds. Paths in Cally Gardens. Flowers. Old doorway in walled garden.
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    by nickandchris Updated Aug 28, 2012

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    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.

    Overnighting, Lauriston Forest, Aug. 2012 Picnic area by stream, Lauriston. Sundown, Lauriston.
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Gatehouse of Fleet Hotels

Gatehouse of Fleet Off The Beaten Path

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    by nickandchris Written May 17, 2012

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    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.

    First view of viaduct, driving up the road. Parked by the defunct viaduct What a huge structure. On the top, viaduct access denied, unsafe. Overall view
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    by nickandchris Written May 17, 2012

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    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.

    Cairn Holy stones The tomb? Neolithic burial chamber?? Stones aligned with the sun Ancient marks at Cairn Holy
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    • Archeology
    • Religious Travel

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Gatehouse of Fleet Travel Guide
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