Loch Trool - around 5.5 miles
Today's walk is west of Castle Douglas and north of Newton Stewart, the 'Gateway to the Galloway Hills' at Glentrool, deep in the Galloway Hills! The area has Scottish Highlands-like scenery and popular with walkers, including the start point to the highest hill in the south of Scotland, Merrick at 843 metres.
Apart from the Merrick walk, we suggest a walk around Loch Trool joining the Southern Upland Way, the cross country walking route for part of the time. There are some great riverside routes here also, so you can do walks combination in the area. When you arrive we advise on the walk options in the area, including the two refreshment places. We normally arrange accommodation in Newton Stewart after this walk.
Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve - 2 to 6 miles
Cairnsmore of Fleet Nature Reserve is one of the wildest places in Southwest Scotland, but still surprisingly accessible, Cairnsmore is a paradise for walkers. There are wide ranging views and a patchwork of muted colours from the low growing vegetation that ekes out its living here on the cold nutrient-poor soil. Watch out for some spectacular birds of prey, masters of the sky that hunt over the open landscape.
The Reserve in part of the Unesco Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere and lies within the Galloway Forest Park, the largest in the UK. It is significant in the novels Five Red Herrings and the films The Thirty Nine Steps.
Balcary Bay - 2 to 5 miles
Balcary Bay is a popular walking area near the village of Auchencairn. Heston island is offshore and Screel and Bengairn Hills are nearby. For this walk we suggest the way-marked route between Balcary Bay and Rascarrel Bay. We discuss two shorter versions and other options in the area. There are several sites to see along the way including Adam's Chair, Lot's wife and donkeys - see the photo!
A beach hotel is available for lunch or afternoon tea. We also advise of other walks nearby, Scotland's only round tower house where you can climb up the spiral staircase and a good tea room.
Portpatrick Circuit - 3.5 to 6 miles
Portpatrick, the shortest crossing point to Northern Ireland, is in the west of the region and over an hour from Castle Douglas. It is a popular holiday location. We use tried and tested accommodation in this area which can be arranged for this walk and also other walks selected in the west of the region.
We suggest two walk options today, one a 3.5 miles circuit by woodland to the coast with a detour to a Garden with tea room. The other is longer circuit in the opposite direction, initially by the coast to a lighthouse and back by a quiet country road, again with the option to visit the garden and tea room. There are also other walk options which we can advise on.
Threave Estate - from 3 to 6 miles.
Threave Estate is a National Trust for Scotland property at the edge of Castle Douglas. Threave Garden with Threave House is one of the most popular gardens in Scotland are is on the walk route. Threave Castle, in a separate location on the Estate and situated on an island in the River Dee is accessed by ringing the bell for the ferry boat! Also see an ospreys nest nearby in the summer. Apart from the Estate walks, there are several other walk options including nearby villages, Carlingwark loch and Castle Douglas itself.
On return to the town we advise on refreshment places, e.g. an artisan bakery cafe, a chocolates producing tea room and Sulwath brewery.
Around Kirkcudbright - 2 - to 6 miles
Kirkcudbright artists' town is popular with tourists due to harbour, castle, art galleries and museum. There are also some excellent cafes and restaurants. There are several circular walk options which can be combined to give a morning walk, lunch and an afternoon walk.
Options include a riverside loop with different options on the way back, an woodland / estuary side walk around a peninsula, a woodland walk, a general town walk and even a walk to a nearby village with chocolate factory visitor centre with David Coulthard (racing driver) museum.
Carsethorn Circuit - 6 miles
This is a part coast and part countryside walk with the John Paul Jones museum around halfway. Carsethorn was once a major emigratiomn centre for the area with thousands departing by ship for USA, Canada and Australia, often to join larger ships from Liverpool. It is now a quiet village with a good food pub.
We check the tides for the beach part of the walk, passing fossils and a beach house used for filming. The Thirl stane is worth a look as you take a path past John Paul Jones's cottage which is nowa musuem. Jones founded the US Navy. A walk through the Arbigland country estate takes you back to Carsethorn. This walk could be done in the morning with lunch then another short walk further along the coast.
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