Galloway Gravel: part 2

Part two of a week spent exploring the tracks and trails of Dumfries & Galloway in the company of friends.

Back in Cornwall as of last night and I’ve completed my compulsory tasks for the day, essentially to eat breakfast, drink coffee, and go ride a bike for a few hours, so as promised here is the part two to the part one of a few days ago; also a nice way for me to reflect on a terrific few days. We had never met prior to this but regardless Warren and Esther welcomed me into their lovely home and tolerated me for for a whole week… something for which I am profoundly grateful. We had a super time of days on the bike¬†exploring the local area, making new friends, and evenings by the fire sampling the seasonal foraged hedgerow-flavoured liqueurs. We also talked some more about the possibility of a two-wheeled dirt-road flavoured photo workshop with Galloway Cycling Holidays in the area; it would appear there is some interest so hopefully a little bit more and it could really happen. A weekend or long-weekend might work best rather than a week especially for people with other family-related holiday obligations, and would help keep the costs down. I reckon about this time of year would be perfect. The days are still long enough but the light is soft and conditions interestingly variable with some fall colours beginning to appear in the landscape.

There’s something wrong with you if you don’t enjoy riding here….

As a quick aside, just before I throw a bunch of pictures at my screen, and because I don’t really know where else to fit it.. recently I wrote an interview-flavoured piece for bikepacking.com on my experiences of cycling as a way of dealing with depression. It’s also about my bike of course, but you can always skip that stuff unless you’re particularly into square-taper bottom brackets…. It would appear that it struck a chord with many people which was pleasantly heartening knowing what a shitty place the internet can be; so on that basis I thought I may as well share it. The article is here.

Bright jerseys help enormously on a cloudy day. I think we’d have to make them compulsory for any workshop…
I love these little stone bridges. Plenty in Cornwall too but lacking a certain ruggedness of setting.
Gravel roads of Galloway Forest #1. I kind of wish I had a lime green jersey to wear instead of black. The three of us would have lent a terrific fruit salad flavour to the day.
Rapidly changing light across the landscape. I would love to ride up here mid-winter with my camera clobber and stay in one of the bothies for a few days.
Enjoying the view.
Riding by Loch Dee. The sun was behind the mountain at my back but luckily that jersey has a certain eyeball searing quality. Bring a pot of retina salve if you join Warren for a spin ;-)
Gravel roads of Galloway Forest #2
Thick stands of spruce.
A trailside brew up. The carved wooden mug isn’t mine but came from Finland rather than Shoreditch so is ok in my book :-)
Some bridges also made of tree, albeit machined rather than carved.
Nice climbs.
Enjoying the view #2
Gravel roads of Galloway Forest #3
Gravel roads of Galloway Forest #4
Gravel roads of Galloway Forest #5. There’s something wrong with you if you don’t enjoy riding here….
Surfaces are good for flying over on 35c or fatter tyres. Plenty of more technical stuff available if desired. Looking forward to returning…

8 thoughts on “Galloway Gravel: part 2

  • “Plenty of more technical stuff available if desired” Such as – but not exclusive to – the 7Stanes Kirroughtree, Dalbeattie etc with their blue, red and black routes. Not to mention plenty of less technical stuff – lots and lots of traffic free minor metalled roads through beautiful countryside for road bikes. Dumfries & Galloway is cycling heaven. Was great to meet up and ride with you last weekend Mike and hopefully will again next time you’re up.

  • Mike, good luck on the house hunting. I moved to Herefordshire from Lancashire four years ago, a big mistake ill thought out. I miss the friendly northern folk, the happy outgoing people of the northern lands, the people down here are very hard to make permanent friends with, so I am selling up and moving back to Lancashire, besides there is far more activities to be had, the wonderful lake district, not too far from Scotland and all that it has to offer, great walking cycling the outer Hebrides and a place I love, The Forest of Bowland, very quiet great for walks and bike rides to be had.
    You have wetted my appetite to explore Galloway. Seems to be the place least travelled.

    • hey Mike, cheers for the super comment; it sounds like you’ll enjoy a spot of exploring of the SW of Scotland!
      I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about where I could live over the last couple of years.. Cornwall is great but increasingly feels like nothing more than a theme park that is utterly overwhelmed with visitors with villages hollowed out by second homes. I need easy access to some wild places and some sense of community, I’ve long thought Scotland would be the place but it’s always felt like too big a move… my time in the Outer Hebrides was wonderful and I have friends out there but lack of cycling opportunities was always going to be a negative.. Dumfries and Galloway on the other hand.. instant cycling friends.. and close to all the best bits of the north. There are a couple of longer cycling things I want to gt out of my system but I think it’s also time to think seriously about what my future looks like, and whether it should have a Scottish flavour.

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