A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Home Travel StoriesExploring The Galloway Coast

Prologue - Galloway Coast 2023

Leading Up To The 8 September 2023

By Ren Withnell

The A75 runs for 96 miles, starting at Gretna Green just off the M74 and wriggling westward to Stranraer. This major trunk road has become familiar to Sharon and I. We have discovered it's much nicer to follow the A75 for a while then take the A712 at Crocketford to head north west to Ayr, take a break in the Ayr area, take the A78 north to McInroy's Point and catch the ferry to Hunter's Quay. This puts you into The Highlands in a far more pleasing manner than using the motorways through Glasgow.

We've since travelled the full length of the A75 during the various Covid rule changes to get to the ferry at Cairnryan then on to Northern Ireland - twice. While the A75 didn't set my world alight with joyous glee I rather enjoyed the mostly free-flowing nature of the road and the varied scenery on offer as we rode along. 

The motorcycles with luggage by the roadside with hills and trees in the background
Galloway on our way back from Northern Ireland. Looks nice enough.

Last year's trip to The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and the Isle of Mull saw us returning through the Galloway Hills. I duly noted they're not as superlative as The Highlands however the roads were quieter and from a rider's perspective a match for all but the very best The Highlands has to offer. 

Rolling hills, trees, a winding road and Sharon on her Kawasaki
The roads through the Galloway Hills proved to be most entertaining.

The regulars know we love The Highlands yet of course nothing is perfect. There's those damn midges. There's the remarkable success of the NC500 bringing perhaps a few too many bikers, sports cars, motorhomes, and tourists to the area. It's definitely too far away from Manchester to nip up there for a long weekend. 

And a long weekend is all we have, for this trip at least. My holidays are all messed up with starting a new job this year much to my dismay, and all I can manage this September is an early finish on Friday, then a Monday and Tuesday off. Finishing on a Friday lunchtime limits how far we can get if we wish to be ensconced and settled by a sensible time, say 1900? This gives us around 5 hours ride time.

"I could get from Manchester to Tyndrum in the Highlands in 5 hours!!" Yes dear, of course you could dear. "It's only 260 miles, at just 60mph that's still less than 5 hours" Yes dear, of course it is. Unless of course you might, I dunno, wish fill up with petrol? Maybe stop for a stretch and a brew? Can you filter through rush hour traffic with luggage at a constant 60mph? There is a large gap between what can physically be done and what you actually might sensibly want to do. 

What we can do is get to the Galloway coast, about 150 to 180 miles from here in 3 hard hours or 5 easy hours. Well it's something I suppose, at least it's Scotland. Actually I, no we, have been looking at the Dumfries and Galloway area for a while. I have previously noted this south western corner of Scotland as a "drive through area" in this post and declared it worthy of further investigation. This it seems is our chance to carry out the required further investigation.

Sharon and I have been having deep and meaningful discussions, there is a tension in our relationship. Sharon has a problem with my prudence (stinginess, miserly ways, etc etc) and I have an issue with her enjoying herself... oh... by spending money I mean. OK I admit, I don't like her enjoying herself full stop but when it comes to spending money this will just not do!!!

Sharon smiling and larking around on a campsite in the rain
Happiness is unacceptable.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth we have reached a compromise. We have a fixed annual budget for travel accommodation. I can live with this as it causes Sharon to keep her wayward spending in check, she can live with it because I can't gripe and moan and huff and sulk as long as she keeps within this budget. If she blows the budget on a nice hotel or a swish chalet, then we is camping for the rest of the year innit. Simples. 

Don't get me wrong I prefer nice hotels and chalets to camping, but I hate spending my own money. We need a sponsor... 

As such for this trip we have 2 nights camping booked just outside of the village of Creetown, then 2 nights in a static caravan close to Kippford. Sharon hasn't blown the budget just yet. All that's left to do now is pack the tent and a few essentials and hope the weather is kind. Brace yourself Galloway.

Advertise here - contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Prologue - Galloway Coast 2023 The wheres and whys are explained in Ren's usual "looking for excuses" style. There's method to his madness, if only he could explain.
Traffic, Improving Scenery And Drink Problems And they're off! There's traffic and improving scenery, Ren dares to spend a few pence and there's some drunkenness.
Exploring The Machars Peninsula The Machars Peninsula on the Galloway coast receives a good dose of looking at today. What the area lacks in superlatives it more than makes up for in charm. 
A Long Way To Not Far There's a big job breaking out today and Ren is worried if they're up to the task. They have 4 hours to cover 35 miles, OH NO! Fear not, even Ren can get this wrong too.
Around Dalbeattie It's time to explore the area around Dalbeattie, to see what's what. It's all going rather well until Ren's vivid imagination runs away with him.
Home And Thoughts On The Galloway Coast Home time once again and Ren's mulling over the whole experience. Was it worth the effort and should a return trip be planned?

Reader's Comments

Scot-in-Exile said :-
D&G has sooo much to offer. Try the A710 coastal road, sandy beaches, castles, ace grub. It’s all there waiting to be found.
22/09/2023 18:07:52 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Aha Scot-in-Exile - you will have to wait in antici......pation to see if Sharon and I managed to stumble across the A710. Admittedly it seems quite likely as you HAVE to use the A710 to get to Kippford where we had the static booked.
22/09/2023 18:53:24 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ahhhhh, D and G, lovely indeed and like you say very manageable from the Midlands area.
There used to be a good butchers in Creetown and the Galloway Smokehouse do some great hot smoked fish, the cafe does some cracking lunches too. I seem to remember buying venison from Willy's (?) in Creetown one Christmas but my whisky haddled cells may have that wrong.
Have you been or are you going. I hear there's a storm brewing.

25/09/2023 15:55:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
We have been. You too will have to wait to see what we found there.
25/09/2023 18:42:54 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Kippford is a really lovely spot, and there's a smashing walk up the coast from there. There's lots of lovely places in D&G including Portpatrick, the Whithorn peninsular, Glentrool and Bruce's Stone, Kirkcudbright etc. etc.

Colour me jealous! (though with luck and a following breeze, I may be heading up there for 5 nights mid October, possibly on the 125!)
27/09/2023 09:44:29 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
If you're into wild/bird life the Red Kite Centre is a hour well spent at feeding time. Plus Caerlaverock is a good day out if you're into birds.
27/09/2023 23:40:48 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
I have just returned yesterday evening from a 4 day Scotland tour. It should have been a 5 - 6 day tour but I thought it prudent to head home with the storm imminent.
So, I missed the south west area of Scotland and look forward to reading the rest of your tour.
28/09/2023 11:27:50 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh right fine I see. Pffft. There's this lovely bit of Scotland that you all know about and none of you bothered to tell me? You've all had me traipsing all the way to the Northern Highlands, laughing at me as I rode past? With friends like this who needs enemies.

A 4 day Scotland tour ROD? How much of Scotland can you see in 4 days?
29/09/2023 07:42:49 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Ren, I went up through Glenshee and the Cairngorms, and on around the nc500 route.
I had planned to go from the end of the nc500 at Inverness down Loch Ness, Fort William, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and down though Dumfries and Galloway.
With storm Agnes forecast I headed back home from the end of the nc500 at Inverness.
29/09/2023 16:34:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Well ROD you're a tougher man than I - to me that sounds like at least a 7 day trip! Were you camping?
29/09/2023 19:13:05 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
No Ren, I am not tough at all. I just love riding.
Yes I was camping.
I could try writing the trip up if you are interested, but writing is not my forte.
29/09/2023 20:45:22 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I'd like to read and see it Rod.
30/09/2023 10:23:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Yes ROD I'd like to see that too. I figure folks might think their own write ups need to be like mine - wordy and detailed. I (we) would be quite happy with a picture story with a short sentence or two for each image, or some muddled up paragraphs that I'd be happy to re-write into sensible prose. This site isn't about fabulous Shakespearean wordsmithery, we just want to get a feel about your own trips, however's best for you. It could be one page summing up the whole ride. Anyhow you'll get me via ren@bikesandtravels.com
30/09/2023 16:47:00 UTC

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