travelling Recommendations for Lowland Scottish Tour

#4
I'm not sure if it counts as lowlands, but we've done the Dumfries, Stranraer, Ayr, Glasgow side of things umpteen times and it is beautiful. There's lots of forest walks and wildlife to be seen and the coastal stuff was good for my tastes too. Plenty of nice accommodation and relatively quick to get to as it's just around the corner from Gretna at the start. And you can finish off in Glasgow for a little bit more urban life.
 
#5
I know Galloway very well, Dumfriesshire nearly was well, and The Borders and Ayr and Renfrew/Glasgow somewhat less. What kind of things do you want to see/do?
 

MartinP

Rune Priest
#6
Depending on whether you are looking at the 'not the Highlands' definition or not Dumfries is possibly the Southern Uplands, but very scenic with it. The Central Lowlands is basically the central belt plus the east coast up to Aberdeen, all the bits that don't give you a nose bleed or heart attack to go up.

There are some nice abbeys and the like in the Borders, plus some good fishing in the Tweed if that's your thing. Dunbar on the East Lothian coast has 'the bridge to nowhere', which at high tide is a bridge in the North Sea, but at low tide links the two parts of the beach. Edinburgh has...Edinburgh. Linlithgow has a ruined palace, and nearby is Blackness Castle, jutting out into the Forth.

Near Bathgate is Cairnpapple Hill, with the remains of a Neolithic circle and a bronze age cist burial, but the climb is quite steep and definitely not disabled friendly.

Falkirk has the Falkirk Wheel, the massive boat lift that connects the Union canal to the Forth and Clyde canal. Also by here are the Kelpies, big metal statues of the mythical water-horses (gotta love these millennium projects). And of course there are some (slight) remains of the Antonine Wall across the central belt.

North of the river you could try Scotland's Secret Bunker, the cold war command centre out near St Andrews. Which has a ruined castle, and beach etc as well.

How about Comrie, up past Stirling nearly in the Highlands? Apart from some niche buildings (a church dedicated to an obscure early saint, a Rennie Mackintosh shop) there is Cultybraggan Camp, WW2 POW camp and later training site, owned by a community trust. Sadly the nuclear bunker there has been bought by some company for secure storage.

People tell me Angus and Aberdeenshire are good to visit as well, but I couldn't comment...
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#7
I want to drive out of Newcastle upon Tyne in a car and drive in short hops from b&b and/or pub from place to place with nice scenery and nice buildings to meet nice people and try the drinks.
Know Edinburgh and Glasgow quite well. Ann not up to big or difficult walks. Personally like water. Fond of views.
 
#8
The Melrose -Kelso - Jedburgh triangle is very nice. There are ruined abbeys in all three, plus at Dryburgh in between. If you can do a hill walk on your own, the Eildon hills are very nice not too difficult right out of Melrose. Smailholm tower near Dryburgh is very cool old peel tower, tall and thin with slate roof intact.

Traquair house further west in Innerleithen has nice grounds and they brew very nice beer. Open to public after July 17. Near this are Kailzie Gardens and Dawyck Botanic Garden.

Moffat is also a nice centre with some scenic drives out of it. From Moffat take the a701 ( the beeftub road) up past the Devils Beeftub (seen from roadside lookout) toward Tweedsmuir, then hang a right and take the backroad to Talla Linnsfoot and Talla and Megget reservoir, ending at St Mary’s Loch. This road has highland character and Buttermere-like views. Do it in clear weather if you can. Return to Moffat on the a708 past the Gray Mares Tail. You’d presumably have to skip the nice hike to the top, but the stop is scenic nevertheless. The Black Bull Pub in Moffat has some history (Covenanters and Burns, iir)

Lochmaben has a very ruined castle that once belonged to the Bruce’s on the shore of a small lake, a nice stop along the way to somewhere.

Hermitage Castle is an eerie and isolated place. The back road from there westward toward the A7 is stunning.

Dumfries is not bad, was looking a little sad when I was last there, maybe 8 years ago. A nice enough high street and bridges and walks along the river. Caelaverock castle to the south is very nice. The coastal road from Dumfries to Kirkudbright with stops in New Abbey, Southerness, Rockcliffe, Kippford, Orchardton Tower, Balcary Point (where there is a nice B&B and also a hotel) Dundrennan Abbey, and finally Kirkudbright, which is a nice overnight town, worth a day on its own, if it’s not too far.

if you go that far, head north through Castle Douglas (Threave Garden and Threave Castle both worth visits, and in town Solvath brewery) then up through New Galloway and Daley, Moniaive (pub in town used to offer cask conditioned ale). Drumlanrig Castle is an estate to visit north of Thornhill. Then take the Mennock Pass from Mennock up to Wanlockhead for another very scenic drive.

Back east, Holy Island / Lindisfarne is beautiful, though not in Scotland. I haven’t been, but Alnwick Castle also has famous gardens.

If you’d really like to go west, see the Mull of Galloway and many nice gardens in Wigtownshire.

So...
Day 1 Newcastle to Melrose.
Day 2 explore Melrose - Jedburgh area.
Day 3 To Moffat via Traquair and Dawyck.
Day 4 explore Moffat and the Talla road.
Day 5 west via Wanlockhead, Moniaive, New Galloway to Kirkudbright.
Day 6 the coastal road A711 back to Dumfries, maybe a quieter overnight stay in New Abbey instead of Dumfries.
Day 7 return to Newcastle, maybe via the Hermitage castle back road and Kielder Water, or by the Wall route.

Too much?
 

MartinP

Rune Priest
#10
Moffat is also a nice centre with some scenic drives out of it. From Moffat take the a701 ( the beeftub road) up past the Devils Beeftub (seen from roadside lookout) toward Tweedsmuir, then hang a right and take the backroad to Talla Linnsfoot and Talla and Megget reservoir, ending at St Mary’s Loch. This road has highland character and Buttermere-like views. Do it in clear weather if you can. Return to Moffat on the a708 past the Gray Mares Tail. You’d presumably have to skip the nice hike to the top, but the stop is scenic nevertheless. The Black Bull Pub in Moffat has some history (Covenanters and Burns, iir)
...
Day 4 explore Moffat and the Talla road.
While you are in the area, it seems a shame not to carry on up the A701 to Broughton, maybe you can pop in to the micro-brewery there (like many places they are running a campaign to raise money), or just have lunch at the tea shop. Maybe head over to bohemian Biggar, the only town I know that has both more museums and more art galleries than it has pubs.

Come up the east coast if you are in Dunbar looking at the water you could do worse than the Belhaven brewery, and for a bit of coastal stay there is the funky Harvest Moon Holidays glamping/tree house place, just behind the dunes from the sea. I do a winter trail race around there every year, and it's got lovely scenery.

On the west coast, if you head out to Oban and you're feeling flush, you could try a night at Barcaldine Castle? I did the tour about 20 years ago, it was fairly interesting.
 
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