The North Solway coast is covered with quiet, rolling country roads that take you past hills, lochs, castles, towers and stately homes, through villages, towns and dark forests that open out to reveal bright sea vistas of the Solway Firth and distant Cumbrian Mountains.
It was in the Dumfries and Galloway region that Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the first ever pedal cycle, and just as a song sounds best in the studio where it was made, the area can justifiably be called a cyclists paradise.
In addition to the quiet back roads which are ideal for exploring the region, there are also a number of dedicated mountain bike routes, such as Dalbeattie Forest which has signposted routes to suit all abilities. The best off-road possibilities, however, are to be found a few miles futher north in the Galloway Forest Park.There are several dedicated cycle routes here including the NCN (see below) but the best way to see the area is with time and a good map.
The National Cycle Network, built by Sustrans, passes within a couple of miles of Auchencairn on its way from Carlisle to Glasgow (route no.7). This provides a well signposted and safe route through some of the best countryside in the area, and gives you the choice of on or off-road routes from Castle Douglas to Loch Trool in the Galloway Forest Park. Maps and information can be found on the Sustrans website.
Hire and Repair
Castle Douglas Cycle Centre, Church Street, Castle Douglas DG7 1EA (01556)504542
Loch Ken Holiday Park, Parton, by Castle Douglas DG7 3NE. (01644)470282
W Law, 19 Cuthbert st., Kirkcudbright, DG6 4DJ, (01557)330579