Area Attractions


Moffat High Street

Moffat is Scotland's first Walkers Welcome town, and when you arrive at Hillview you'll find details of a dozen or more local walks. In the section below we try to give a flavour of the attractions further afield, around Dumfries and Galloway, with links to local attractions where possible.

Area Attractions

Castles

Best of the bunch are perhaps Caerlaverock (60 mins.) and Threave (50 mins), both over 500 years old in part.

Caerlaverock (www.caerlaverock.co.uk) is a uniquely triangular shaped castle, some ten miles south of Dumfries - in Dumfries follow the signs to the Crichton and then continue past out of town. It's well preserved, with a moat, a model catapult and it's next to a bird reserve and the vast expanses (at low tide) of the Solway sands.

Threave Castle (www.aboutscotland.co.uk/threave/castle.html) is five miles north-west of Castle Douglas. Built by Archibald the Grim, it maintains its grim, military appearance, sitting on an island on the River Ken, accessible only by boat.


Caerlaverock Castle

To the north, Traquair House, (www.traquair.co.uk) near Innerleithen, Peebles, is the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland, dating back 900 years - its grounds, maze and excellent micro-brewery are open to visitors.

As a working stately home, Drumlanrig Castle (www.drumlanrig.com) (60 mins.), north of Thornhill on the Dumfries-Kilmarnock Rd A76, is difficult to beat. The public are allowed into the gardens, grounds and parts of the castle, a magnificent Adam building, home of the Duke of Buccleuch, Britain's biggest landowner, by acreage.

Beaches

The beaches around Borgue,  just beyond the very pretty Kirkcudbright (60 mins) can't be beaten for sand, swimming, undeveloped, unspoilt bays. Carrick Bay gives you rocks, sand, streams, and an island you can walk to at low tide (don't get cut off!) - but you may need a good map to find it. It's by the Cream o' Galloway (www.creamogalloway.co.uk) organic ice-cream-making farm and adventure park, a favourite with local children.

Past Dalbeattie (50 mins) are Kippford and Rockcliffe, quiet bays frequented by yachts with exquisite views across the bay. From Rockcliffe a 15-mins walk takes you to a quiet sandy beach at Castlehill Point. Further on, Sandyhills Bay is in a lovely setting, with a large caravan site with full amenities next door.

Wildlife

Dumfries and Galloway is a red squirrel area and you may see one anywhere, particularly in the woods around the Selkirk Road. Red deer are a common sight.


Grey Mare's Tail

The Solway coast is perfect for wetland birds, and there's an RSPB observation hut at their reserve at Mersehead, by Southerness, south of Dumfries. Scottish Wildlife Trust (www.wwt.org.uk/gallery/117/caerlaverock.html) has a wetland reserve at Caerlaverock. National Trust for Scotland has a camera trained on the peregrine falcon nest at Grey Mare's Tail waterfall (www.nts.org.uk/Property/29/)which with a 60m drop is the highest waterfall in southern Scotland.

Further afield, the Galloway Forest Park (100 mins) boasts a wild goat park, an otter lake and a woodland RSPB reserve.

Dumfries and Galloway is rich in wildlife and there are more leaflets in the sitting-room.

Moffat has its own small community-run (www.moffatwildlife.co.uk/reserve.htm) wildlife sanctuary.

Ancient History

Look for three small ancient standing stones on your right just after you leave Moffat on your way to the motorway.

Most important sites are Cairnholy (www.ancient-scotland.co.uk/site.php?a=34) (90 mins), east of Newtown Stewart off the A75 - two 3500 year old burial chambers in good condition - and the nearby Torhouse (www.ancient-stones.co.uk/dumfries/011/017/details.htm) (120 mins), a small but complete stone circle.

Whithorn, on that peninsula, is where St Ninian brought Christianity to Scotland. Whithorn Museum (www.whithorn.com) boasts an impressive collection of celtic christian stones, and St Ninian's cave is on the coast nearby, accessed by a footpath.

Cultural Life

As a sparsely populated large rural region, it can be a challenge getting audiences to events.


Dumfries Devorgilla Bridge

There are traditional pipe and drum Town Bands in most towns, which turn out for Gala events. Moffat has occasional film and theatre shows in the Old Well Theatre. Dumfries has a film theatre (the Robert Burns cinema), and a couple of theatres used for largely amateur work.

Langhom Buccleuch Centre (50 mins) is a large modern theatre with a variety of events. Peebles (30 mins) has the Eastgate Theatre. Castle Douglas has a small theatre (the Lochside), and Gatehouse of Fleet (65 mins) has the Bakehouse, a backroom venue with occasional but reliably good seasons of poetry, theatre and other events. Dalry (65 mins) a village north of Castle Douglas has the excellent little Catstrand art gallery and theatre.

For the visual arts, the main gallery is Gracefield Arts Centre, on the left side of the road into Dumfries centre. But there are numerous good arts and crafts studios and galleries around the Region. Kirkcudbright (55 mins) in particular has been known as an artist's town for over a hundred years.


Threave Castle

There are also some open space artworks to be found. The Henry Moore trail is a deliberately unpublicised walk around various of his sculptures (most notably King and Queen), positioned in open countryside on an estate a few wiles north of Dumfries. The tourist office should be able to give you details, again you will need a good map. Penpont, near Thornhill, is the home of internationally-famous environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy, and one his stone eggs is to be found in a field there.

A new BBC tv series "Hope Springs" was filmed in Wanlockhead (50 mins), the highest village in Britain and an old centre of lead mining, while the series 2000 Acres of Sky was filmed in the quaint fishing village of Portpatrick, beyond Stranraer. The cult horror movie "The Wicker Man" was filmed in the Whithorn and Kirkcudbright areas, and Gavin Maxwell, author of the "Ring of Bright Water" otter stories lived on the Whithorn peninsula. Most famously, Robert Burns lived the last few years of his life in Dumfries, and at Ellisland Farm, two miles north on the A76. Dumfries folks say "He might have been born in Ayrshire - but we got to keep him".

Other Attractions

The Region has several smaller museums. The national Museum of Costume (www.nms.ac.uk/museumofcostumehomepage.aspx) is at Shambellie House, by New Abbey (45 mins), A 710 south of Dumfries. Dumfries has a museum of Flight (www.dumfriesaviationmuseum.com) (30 mins), turn left at the first roundabout as you come into Dumfries. The Wanlockhead Mining Museum (www.leadminingmuseum.co.uk) (50 mins) is a museum of past life. Four miles west of Lockerbie (25 mins) there's a Ukranian Chapel (www.nothingtoseehere.net/2007/11/ukrainian_pow_chapel_hallmuir.html) - a wartime Nissan hut painted out as a chapel by prisoners of war.

Gretna Green (50 minutes) (www.gretnagreen.com) is renowned for its Blacksmith's Smithy marriage ceremonies - being just over the border in Scotland, it was the first place English girls could wed without their father's permission when running away from home.

There are golf courses at Lochmaben, Moffat and Thornhill

Some Drives From Moffat

Moffat is at the centre of Southern Scotland's best scenery, and several longer day trips make excellent drives. The main roads in the region - the A701 and A75 - are fairly busy, but wherever you go, you will be able to find quiet, often single track, alternative routes through low rolling farms of sheep and cattle.

1. East - Selkirk and the Borders (150 miles)

Turn left at the end of Moffat High Street onto the Selkirk Road (This is a narrow road, which needs to be treated with respect).

The Grey Mare's Tail is a good place to stop for an energetic walk then continue on to the peaceful lochs at St Mary's Loch, where the Glen Café and historic Tibbie Shiels Inn are excllent refreshment places. The road continues along the Yarrow valley to Selkirk. Turn left on arriving in Selkirk, towards  Galashiels, but then turn right before Galashiels to Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's home (open to the public). Melrose, Dryburgh, the Tweed Valley and the countryside around are all well worth exploring. Galashiels, the main town of the Borders, isn't.

2. West - The Galloway Forest (150 miles return)


Loch Trool, Galloway

Loch Trool, the view down the Glen Trool and the walk up to the lochs below Mulwharchar, or up the Merrick, southern Scotland's highest hill (842 metres) are the classic Galloway picture postcard. On route you pass stunning coastal views from the A75, and any number of possible diversions.

Taking minor roads on the way back you drive along the Southern uplands moorland scenery and through the magnificent Dalveen Pass.

3. North - Edinburgh and Glasgow and Loch Lomond

Edinburgh's medieval High Street and 19th century New Town are about 75 minutes away by car. Glasgow's central shopping area is an hour away (but expect up to an hour's delay in Glasgow from 7.30-9.30am and 3.30-6.30pm). There's a bus service from Moffat to both - an express to Glasgow, a slow bus to Edinburgh, timetables are in the house. Edinburgh is the older, tourist-focussed town, Central Glasgow is Victorian and the commercial heart of Scotland.

Ben Lomond is the nearest Munro (mountain over 3000 feet) at 973 metres, overlooking the very beautiful Loch Lomond, and is two hours drive from Moffat.

 

Full details of all these journeys are left in Hillview for your use.

Contact

For more details, to check availability or to book:
Phone Alis or Chris Ballance 01683 221021 or 07979 707231
Email:

Write: Mr & Mrs Ballance, 9 Beechgrove, Moffat, DG10 9RS

Member of the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers Link: http://www.embracescotland.co.uk/link_to_us.asp