….or “I’m going to get a taxi and you can’t stop me.“
Todays mileage: 40
Total mileage: 146
Disasters: Zero ?
An early (for us) start today at 9:30am with Jerez as our target. Nothing special or spectacular about the mornings cycling, it was just pleasent rolling countryside.
We stopped for a late breakfast at a roadside cafe on the ring road round Arcos de la Fontera. It didn’t look much but the guy was lovely and really welcoming. He got us a toasted cheese sandwich but also brought tomato & tomato sauce. Now that’s not the Heinz type but proper pureed tomatoes. A lovely brunch for €6. Great value that would even make a Yorkshireman smile !
From Arcos we got lucky with some cycle paths along what could have been busy roads. Then we followed a “service” road parallel to the motorway. This was really quiet and took us to the outskirts of Jerez where we passed the famous racing circuit.
After this it started to get busy. I used Windy maps to navigate to our flat for the next two days. Windy’s navigation worked well and took us down cycle paths right into the centre. Well done Windy but really well done Spain for having such great cycle paths. Have to say Sarah doesn’t like busy roads. Her catch phrase of the day was “I’m going to get a taxi and you can’t stop me” (Now Sarah says I need to qualify this – busy = big fast lorries on narrow roads. )
Our apartment for two nights is lovely and very near to the centre of town. Again €70 for two nights is great value.
We wandered out for food & had a lovely meal at this spot.
Then a drink outside a local bar – the tree gives a clue to the climate here…
We found the SW300 route from the following website https://sw3004.wixsite.com/southwest300 which is well worth a view. The guy who came up with this is a super athlete so there are planned routes for 2 to 6 days. The map below shows the SW300 route as defined on this site.
A zip file containing the KML or GPX file can be downloaded from the links below:
Well it’s circular so you can start where you want but if you’re travelling from the south then Dumfries is the first (and easiest) place you come to from the motorway. We were travelling from Cumbria so this worked well for us.
We parked in the rail station car park (postcode DG1 1NF). There is parking each side of the train line, we found it best to park in the area shown on the map below.
It has cameras so probably as safe as anywhere. There is a housing estate where you could park for free on the route out of Dumfries but you’d have to be careful not to upset the locals. If you’re cheeky you could get away with parking at the entrance to the station as shown below…
Being circular you’ll probably get a head wind at some point so no real advantage either way. We chose to go anti-clockwise. For us, starting from Dumfries for us this was a good way to go as it got what I think is the hardest day out the way with fresh legs. The loop out to Elvanfoot and back is beautiful but a lot of ascent when carrying a tent !
If you’re an endurance cyclist with an arse of leather and pistons for legs then 24 hours is the target. For mere mortals like me it takes significantly longer, and I want it to take longer. For us the point of doing this cycle was to see the Dumfries and Galloway area. You can’t really do this when you’re arse up, head down going as fast as you can !
So for the point of this blog I’m going to assume the reader is a mere mortal who wants to see the area too. So do it over a week or longer & you give yourself time to see this beautiful area.
Day 1: Dumfries to Sanquhar
The route that loops out from Carronbridge round to Mennock via Elvanfoot is great and importantly has very light traffic. The same cannot be said for the route from Thornhill to Carronbridge which runs along the A76.
We changed the route to quieter roads that avoid the busy A76 section. Our detour is shown in blue.
The advantage of this route is its safer and takes in beautiful Drumlanrig Castle shown below.
Day 2: Sanquhar to Girvan
Day two was a pleasant route on mostly quiet roads. The exception to this is a section on the busy A76 from just after Kirkconnel to New Cumnock. There’s no easy way round this but we did come up with a detour that reduced it by half. Its an easy detour & is shown below – the yellow arrow shows the original route and the blue shows our detour…
Now the only downside of our route was staying in Girvan – its a hole with only four redeeming features:
The views of Ailsa Craig – especially when the sun is shining
Grazianos Chip shop – quality and great portions
Auld Acquaintance Restaurant – the owner and his wife are lovely and the food is great.
The Electric Brae visual illusion
It’s ok for a night, especially when the weathers good but don’t get too excited !
Day 3 Girvan to The Mull of Galloway
Leaving Girvan there’s a busy section to Barhill. From Barhill over to Glenluce Abby is a great road with little traffic – you’ll really enjoy this section. The roads called the Forest Road and goes to Glenwhilly and New Luce. A slight warning the road is over high fell land with not much up there so take supplies. The route towards the Mull of Galloway is ok but busier.
Day 4 – Mull of Galloway towards Wigtown
You’re on an A road, the A747 down towards the Isle of Whithorn. Don’t worry we found this to be a quiet and beautiful cycle. If you could plan your journey an overnight in Isle of Whithorn would be recommended.
Day 5 – Wigtown to Kirkcudbright
We found a few navigational challenges on this day, namely the Wigtown to Creetown section and out of Gatehouse of Fleet to the quiet roads below the A75. The Wigtown to Creetown was our own fault so we’ll skip that…
The official route follows the B727 (old military road) out of Gatehouse of Fleet. This is a narrow and busy road so we found a diversion through the Cally Palace Hotel and Golf Course. The picture shows our route in red and the proper route in yellow. You can see where we got a short distance out of Gatehouse before turning round to find a quieter route. Please note that the blue dotted line marks where the route is “off road” on rough track. If its wet & you’re on a fragile bike with skinny road tyres this may not be the route for you. We did it on Dawes tourers with Schwalbe Marathon 34mm tyres & it was fine.
This detour wasn’t quick but it was a very pleasant and traffic free route. When we hit road again just before Girthon we tracked south to the coast via Knockbrex and Ingleston before joining the proper route at Borgue. This again was a really beautiful and quiet route
Day 6 – Kirkcudbright to Dumfries
Our last day we deviated from the official route significantly. We did this for two reasons. The first reason was that we needed the quickest route to Dumfries before a storm came in later in the day. The second reason was that we’d cycled this part of the route before and found it busy – I don’t like wet and busy…
Our route is shown in red and the official route in yellow. Having done both now we think the red route using the B727 to be the nicest.
If you’re reading this you’re probably planning your own trip. I hope some of this helps but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it 🙂