- Category: Interests
- Published on Friday, 02 May 2014 10:07
- Written by Super User
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Activities in and around Galloway
Castle Douglas makes an ideal base from which to explore this picturesque corner of south west Scotland or for visiting places further afield. The influence of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream generally means the best of the weather in south west Scotland can be found here.
There is a lot to see and do locally and if you don't want to venture away for the day why not enjoy the local forest walks.
GALLOWAY FOREST PARK
Galloway Forest Park has been officially unveiled as the first Dark Sky Park in the UK. The award, announced by the International Dark Sky Association, confirmed Galloway as one of the best places for Dark Skies in the world.
7 Stanes Mountain Bike trail - Kirroughtree7Stanes Mountain Bike trails at Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, Over 66km, deep in the vast Galloway Forest Park. Kirroughtree, home to some of the best technical singletrack in the country is also a favourite family venue with a wide range of trails, seasonal café and a great kids' play area.
Check the 7Stanes web site for latest information
The blue and green routes will prove attractive to the inexperienced riders (families and novices), while the red and black options offer a mountain biking experience that requires skill and bags of nerves.
Discover the wild heart of Galloway and two very different riding experiences, both of which start and finish at Glentrool Visitor Centre. Tel. 01671 402420
7Stanes trails at Glentrool is an entirely different experience, the whole of the Big Country route is on forest roads, covering a total of 58km. With spectacular views of lochs and hills and ride through the forest where Robert the Bruce was victorious against the English in 1307. There are some testing climbs and big descents. It's a challenging but rewarding day out.
Glentrool blue route:
In contrast, the blue-graded route is nearly all on purpose-built single track. The trail gradually climbs up through the forest to a ridge overlooking Loch Trool, followed by a fun-filled 2.5km section plunging you back down to the visitor centre.
© Mountain Biking photos courtesy of Forestry Commission Scotland
Relax After a days cycling why not relax at the nearby Otter's Pool where adults and children can have hours of fun in the good weather.
Wigtown - Scotland's National Book Town
The Royal and Ancient Burgh of Wigtown is Scotland's National Book Town. Wigtown now has over 25 book related businesses, shops, pubs and restaurants. Throughout the year there are Saturday markets.
Bladnoch Distillery - Visitors Centre
Scotland's most southerly distillery nestles on the green banks of the River Bladnoch, from which it takes its name.
Now you can buy Whisky Online from their web site whisky shop.
See our Golf section on this site
There are some 32 exceptional golf courses in the region. A number of these are within a short drive from the hotel, including three of the "Tiger Trail" courses.
Gateway to Golf Passes : 3- and 6-round passes, can be obtained.
Glen Trool, the Galloway hills and Southern Upland Way provide stunning scenery to compliment a variety of hill walking challenges. There are mapped and signposted paths in and around the Machars peninsula. Galloway Forest Park has well maintained paths of varying lengths and levels of exertion, for walking, cycling or even horse-riding.
Good salmon and sea-trout fishing can be had on the rivers Cree and Bladnoch and the Palnure burn. There are lochs and rivers in abundance which provide good trout and course fishing. The Isle of Whithorn and Garlieston also offer you the opportunity to try your hand at sea fishing.
Shooting and stalking can also be arranged for you in season.
Scotland's Outdoor Centre:
Paintballing, 4x4 off roading, clay pigeon shooting and team building exercises are some of the activities on offer here. Open all year round. Glenluce is a 40 minute drive from the Dalry and Castle Douglas.
Visit www.scotlandsoutdoorcentre.co.uk and http://www.lochken.co.uk
Wigtown Off Road Driving Centre
You don't have to own a 4x4 to enjoy the thrills of Off Road Driving.
Land Rover Discoveries are available for you to experience the drive of your life. Before you set off on the adventure with 1 to 1 tuition a qualified instructor enabling you to tackle the challenging terrain that lies ahead. www.wigtownoffroad.co.uk
Army Tank Driving
This is a fantastic day out for all ages. Galloway Tanks offers unique tank driving experiences, situated in the rolling farmland of Galloway. 18 Tons of steel, 240Hp, are you up to the challenge?
Castle Douglas swimming pool http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4122 is opposite the hotel and The Merrick Pool http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4134 is in Newton Stewart. Here there is also a gym, sauna and jacuzzi. Tel. 01671 404301
The Ryan Centre in Stranraer has a leisure pool, 60m flume water small and childrens splash pool. There is also a health suite with sauna, steam room, gym and spa bath. Tel. 01776 703535
Picnics & Bird Watching
the Galloway Kite Trail around Loch Ken
Ken-Dee Marshes is another place to visit, with its stunning views across the River Dee and Loch Ken. In winter large numbers of Greenland white-fronted geese and Icelandic Greylag geese arrive. The woodland is a strong hold for willow tits and rare red squirrels.
Other birds you can expect to see in the region include the Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Goshawk.
The Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve is the largest local reserve in the UK. It has internationally and nationally important numbers of wildfowl, in particular some 7000 pink-footed geese in March/April. On the top floor of the County Buildings in Wigtown, there is a room dedicated to watching wildlife, here with the live CCTV coverage of the first Ospreys to have nested in Galloway for over 100 years for the last 4 years everyone has had an unparalleled view of Ospreys sitting on their eggs and bringing up their young, the male coming back with fish to share with the female and taking over nesting duties while she eats. We are all extremely privileged to have this intimate view into their family life.
Creetown Gem Rock Museum
The Gem Rock Museum is the leading independent museum of its kind in the UK and is renowned worldwide. Owned and run by Tim and Rosemarie Stephenson it is regarded as one of the finest private collections of gemstones, crystals, minerals, rocks and fossils in Great Britain. Crystals and minerals are some of natures most outstanding creations and the collection demonstrates this with many fine specimens of world class standard on display.
The Museum is however, more than just a static display, it is a fully interactive experience with lots of things to do as well as to see. Winner of Visit Scotland's Visitor Attraction of the Year 2003.
Visit www.gemrock.net. 40 minutes from Castle Douglas.
A great day out for families and couples alike. A 1 hour drive takes you to the port of Stranraer where you can catch the 10am ferry arriving in Belfast at midday. £1 per head to the city centre in an open top bus where you can shop til you drop or stay on the bus and enjoy the beautiful city's historical tour. W5 science centre is ideal for children and is next to a ten pin bowling alley. Belfast Zoo is a wonderful, but steep, place too. Visit Belfast