Cycling in Galloway, Scotland: Photo Blog (A Year Late)

In September 2015 I spent a very enjoyable few days cycling in the Galloway region (specifically its western half) of southwest Scotland. It’s taken a year but here are some highlights in photos.

It’s a stunning and very underrated area, probably overlooked in favour of the Highlands and Islands, but ideal for a cycling break with its quiet roads and forest trails.

It’s also very convenient for ferry travel from Belfast to Cairnryan. Even as a foot passenger, you can easily travel onwards by bus to towns such as Newton Stewart, where bike hire is available.

DSC_1008.JPGa.jpgBruce’s Stone and Loch Trool: located within the massive Galloway Forest Park, the monument commemorates a victory by King Robert the Bruce against the English in 1307.

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Clatteringshaws Loch: also within the Forest Park and reachable from Loch Trool via an off-road, alternate section of National Cycle Network Route 7. Puncture kit (and ability to use it) essential.

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Wigtown: the main town on the Machars peninsula and Scotland’s ‘National Book Town’ since 1998. There’s a great vibe here with lots of interesting little cafe/second hand book shop hybrids. A great example of how a government initiative can transform a town.

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A rural scene south of Wigtown, looking back on the Galloway Hills.

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‘St. John’s Garage’: an eye-catching sight on the way into Whithorn.

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Whithorn: another attractive town, near the southern end of the Machars peninsula.

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Neat houses in the picturesque little fishing village of Isle of Whithorn (which is no longer an island). St. Ninian’s Tearoom is a great place to stop for a bite in the village.

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View of the harbour, Isle of Whithorn.

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St. Ninian’s Chapel, Isle of Whithorn: built around 1300 and dedicated to Scotland’s first missionary and saint. There are great views from here to the English Lake District and Isle of Man.

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The harbour at Port William, on the western end of the Machars peninsula, with the hills of the Isle of Man visible beyond (P.S. the man on the left is a sculpture).

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The Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point, seen from near Port William.

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Northwestern end of the Machars peninsula, with the Rhins of Galloway across Luce Bay on the left.

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Looking down on the charming seaside village of Portpatrick. The village is only 34kms/21 miles from the County Down coast. The trail here is the start of the Southern Upland Way coast-to-coast walking route.

dsc_1174-jpgaView across to the County Down and Antrim coasts, with the Belfast Hills beyond, taken above Portpatrick.

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The County Antrim coast seen from Portpatrick: Kilroot Power Station on the left with the town of Whitehead on the right.

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A view across Luce Bay back towards the Machars peninsula, taken from the hills behind Portpatrick.

dsc_1104aFishing boat on Luce Bay with the Machars peninsula beyond.

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Approaching the Mull of Galloway and Scotland’s southernmost lighthouse. The Isle of Man is just about visible again in the distance on the right.

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Descending into the town of Stranraer after a hilly cycle from Portpatrick. The town sits at the bottom of Loch Ryan.

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The Galloway Hills seen from near Newton Stewart.

Some useful links:
http://www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/dumfries-galloway 
http://www.scotland.forestry.gov.uk/forest-parks/galloway-forest-park
http://www.mull-of-galloway.co.uk
http://www.isleofwhithorn.com
http://www.kirkcowancycles.co.uk (bike hire/sales & maintenance in Newton Stewart – great service)

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