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National Scenic Areas

There are three National Scenic Areas within this region.

Nith Estuary - This area follows the River Nith southward from just south of Dumfries into the Solway Firth. Dumfries itself has a rich history going back over 800 years as a Royal Burgh (1186) and is particularly remembered as the place where Robert the Bruce murdered the Red Comyn in 1306 before being crowned King of Scotland - and where Robert Burns spent his last years. His mausoleum is in St Michael's graveyard. Going down the east bank there is the village of Glencaple, Caerlaverock Castle, Caerlaverock Wild Fowl Trust, an ancient Roman fort on Ward Law Hill and neaby in Ruthwell is the Ruthwell Cross and the Brow Well where Robert Burns "took the waters" and bathed in the Solway just before his death. On the west bank there are several walks and cycle routes in

Mabie Forest Kirkconnell Flow for the naturalist, the National Museum of Costume just outside New Abbey and Sweetheart Abbey within the village. Criffel (569 metres) offers the hill walker a reasonably modest walk with excellent views across the Solway to the Lake District. The house of John Paul Jones founder of the American Navy is also open to visitors near Kirkbean. East Stewartry - This takes in the coast line from Balcary Point eastward across Auchencairn Bay and the Rough Firth past Sandyhills to Mersehead. There are several attractive coastal villages within this area - Auchencairn, Kippford, Colvend, Rockcliffe, and Portling. There is also a unigue round tower at Orchardton and the islands of Hestan Isle and Rough Island can be reached at low tide outside the breeding season for birds. Mersehead is an excellent wildfowl reserve. The area is well provided with coastal paths.

Fleet Valley - This area takes in Fleet Bay with its popular holiday destinations of Auchenlarie, Mossyard Bay, Cardoness, Sandgreen and Carrick Shore. The area also includes the town of Gatehouse of Fleet and the historic villages of Anworth and Girthon - there is a castle at Cardoness in the care of Historic Scotland. There are pleasant hills to walk in around Cairnharrow and Kenlum and Castramon Wood at the north end of the area is a joy particularly with the bluebells in spring.

Things To See And Do

Whether you are searching for a relaxing break or an adventurous holiday, this region offers breathtaking landscapes, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches and glorious forests.

keir mill

The home of Kirkpatrick McMillan

Inventor of the first bicycle with pedals, is only a few miles from Ghillie’s Cottage and Dumfries and Galloway is renowned for for the many exceptional bike trails in the area. The 7 Stanes (or stones) are individually graded trails each featuring a stone sculpture which reflects a local myth or legend.


Ellisland Farm:

Home of Robert Burns from 1788-1791. See Jean Armours kitchen, museum room, audio visual display and river walks. Burns wrote “Tam o Shanter” and “Auld Land Syne” while living here!


Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura:

The History of Dumfries and  Galloway, featuring fossil footprints, Victorian farm, tools and weapons and early Christian stone carvings. The Camera Obscura was installed in 1836 and is the oldest working instrument in the world. From it you can see a fascinating panoramic view of Dumfries and surrounding area.


Mabie Forest and Farm Park:

This is a lovely place to go walking, with all abilities catered for. Children will have a wonderful day out at nearby Mabie Farm Park, which covers 40 acres. Dirt buggy tracks,grass sledging slope, pedal go-karts, boating pond, animals and indoor playbarn are a few of the attractions at Mabie. There is also an excellent tea-room.


Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate:

Set on the 80,000 acre Queensbury Estate, Drumlanrig is a fine example of 17th Century Rennaissance architecture. Inside is the Duke of Buccleuch’s internationally renowned art collection. Enjoy a castle tour, refreshments at the tea room, large adventure playground, bike hire, woodland walks, or a land rover tour. A hit with all age groups. Very close to Penpont and Thornhill and Ghilloies Cottage


Caerlaverock Castle and Mersehead Nature Reserve:

Caerlaverock is a moated, twin towered Medieval stronghold. Visitors can enjoy a siege warfare exhibition, children’s adventure park and nature trail. There is a footpath to the adjacent RSPB nature reserve where you may observe wading birds, lapwings and skylarks in Spring. In the Autumn thousands of barnacle geese arrive for the Winter. A real spectacle.


Galloway Sailing Centre:

A fantastic activity centre including sailing, windsurfing, archery, climbing wall and Kayaking. Also on offer here are outdoor laser quest and off-road Karting. Children can be booked in for a few hours or the whole day.


Cream ‘o’ Galloway:

A paradise for younger children! Here you can watch how ice-cream is made on the farm and the kids can enjoy the straw bale barn, huge flying fox ariel slide and 3D maze. Best of all though is trying out their delicious ice-cream menu!

Galloway has been the setting of a number of novels, including Walter Scott's Guy Mannering. Other novels include the historical fiction trilogy by Liz Curtis Higgs, Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince. Richard Hannay flees London to lie low in Galloway in John Buchan's novel The Thirty-nine Steps. Five Red Herrings, a whodunit by Dorothy L. Sayers published in the US as Suspicious Characters, sees Lord Peter Wimsey, on holiday in Kirkcudbright, investigating the death of an artist living in Gatehouse of Fleet; the book contains some remarkable descriptions of the countryside.
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Ghillie's Cottage,Penpont, Thornhill, Nithsdale
Dumfries. DG3 4ND - Phone: 01848 330443
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