Southwest Coastal Route
South West Scotland
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Route at a Glance
Starting out from Moffat you will find yourself immediately in the bends with a great little diversion onto the Greenhill Stairs road. Make sure your GPS device is turned off motorways so you can enjoy the parallel road – B7076 a two lane fast but quiet road. Just a few more miles on, go through Abbington and head towards the B740 known as the Crawick Pass. Not particularly challenging or extreme but some brilliant bends, twisties, highs and lows. Throw in some amazing scenery and you have got The Crawick Pass. You will head west to the sea, take a left and literally hug the coastline through the whole Dumfriesshire region.
The route takes you to Port Patrick, a lively picturesque coastal village. Have a lunch stop here – one of the Hotels serves up a mean Seafood Platter. If it is not too windy follow the recommended route down to the Mull of Galloway.
PRO TIP – if it is too windy avoid this stretch. There is not enough land to break the wind on this very narrow little road.
PRO TIP – Due to the warmer Gulf Stream Tropical plants are able to flourish. A number of (tropical) botanical Gardens exist on the Mull. They are all signposted. Do visit them if they hold appeal.
Once off the Mull you will visit and go through places such as Port William, Whithorn (the seat of Christianity in Scotland), Wigtown (known as the book town), Kirkcudbright (known as the Artist Town), and New Abbey (the Home of Sweetheart Abbey).
The last stretch through Dumfries, Lochmaben , Lockerbie and finishing off on the B723 to Moffat is just a gentle reminder of some pleasant farm roads and pleasant riding to finish off the day.
Route Notes & Highlights
(Icons on the map)
- Moffat – The biking heart of the region. A quaint picturesque market village with a variety of choice in shops and eateries. The home of the renowned Moffat toffee shop. Also the burial place of Tar Macadam the creator of the tarmac as we know it.
- Crawick Pass – Crawick Pass is the most northerly of the three passes and carries the B740 from Crawick to Crawfordjohn and on to the M74. If you get your timing right in August these hills turn a deep purple with their generous covering of heather.
- Ailsa Craig – An island that can be seen clearly from the A77 along the coast with loads of history. As a strategic landmark between Ireland and its history goes back to the late 1500s when a castle was built to protect the island from Spanish invaders. The island was used as a prison during the 18th-19th century. From the mid-19th centuries, the island was quarried for its rare type of granites all of which were used to manufacture what are regarded as the best curling stones in the world due to their molecular make up.
- Stena Ferry Point – This is the main Ferry Point between Scotland and Belfast in Northern Ireland.
- Portpatrick – A picturesque fishing Harbour with a few notable hotel/eateries along the promenade. Home to six spectacular gardens, namely: Logan Botanic Garden, Logan House Gardens, Ardwell Gardens, Glenwhan Gardens, Dunskey Gardens and Castle Kennedy Gardens.
- Mull of Galloway Lighthouse – A traditional working lighthouse, although now automated with a visitor centre and cottage holiday lets. This is also the most Southerly point of Scotland.
- Whithorn – The town was the location of the first recorded Christian church in Scotland, Candida Casa : the ‘White [or ‘Shining’] House’, built by Saint Ninian in about the 5th Century. Later on, the burgh of Whithorn thrived as the shrine was visited by Scottish Kings and Queens from Robert the Bruce to Mary Queen of Scots, and by thousands of pilgrims.
- Wigtown – Wigtown was officially designated as Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998 and is now home to over 20 book-related businesses. A book lovers haven!
- Creetown Gem Rock Museum – One of the finest private collections of gemstones, crystals, minerals, rocks and fossils in its award-winning Gem Rock Museum. Not just a static display there are some interactive experiences too.
- Kirkcudbright – Kircudbright became a magnet for Scottish artists in the late 19th century, and is now known as The Artists’ Town because of this association. Town attractions include the Tolbooth Art Centre and Harbour Cottage Gallery.
- Sulwarth Brewers – One of the regions most renowned Breweries and Real Ales. They conduct tours on Mondays and Fridays at 1pm.
- Sandyhills Beach – Dumfries and Galloway’s most popular beach. It might not rival that of the tropics but the locals certainly make the most of it.
- Southerness Lighthouse – Dating from 1748, it is at present the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland. It was decommissioned in 1936 but still stands tall and proud. Southerness itself feels like a holiday park that time forgot but the beach provides a lovely gentle walk.
- Sweet Heart Abbey – A pretty Cistercian Monastery (ruin) dating from 1275, founded by Lady Dervogilla in memory of her husband. When she too passed, she was laid rest next to her husbands embalmed heart, thus the monks naming the abbey after her.
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Filling Stations on Route
You will not be without fuel on this route as there are a number of fuel stations on this route in all the major towns. If in doubt just top up.