You are absolutely spoiled for choice with the range of walks available in Dumfries and Galloway. From the harder walks up the Merrick and the Cairnsmore to the easy strolls along the plentiful beaches, there really is something for everyone. Below are a sample of some of the walks available.
St Ninian's Cave
Distance: 3.3 km
This short walk takes you down to the shore on the Machars Peninsula to explore a cave that has significant religious and historic connections for Scotland. The walk follows a footpath signposted to St Ninian's Cave. Follow this path through Physgill Glen on to the shore and on to St Ninian's Cave. The cave is said to have been used for prayer and meditation by St Ninian who first brought Christianity to Scotland founding the first monastery at Whithorn around AD500.
Balcary Bay to Rascarrel
Distance: 7.5km; duration: 2 - 3 hours
This short walk along the Solway Firth is a great way to unwind and take in some of the region’s most stunning views. Look out for gorgeous maritime flowers and fascinating geological features along both the coastal and woodland paths. From the bench at Airds Point you can see the cliffs which you have just traversed.
The Wigtown Martyr’s Stake
Distance: 6.4km; duration: 2 hours
This walk heads from Wigtown on a gentle slope to where two Covenanters - Margaret Lachlane and Margaret Wilson - were tied to stakes in the mudflats and allowed to drown as the tide came in. This easy walk offers views of the river Bladnoch and the nature reserve of Wigtown Bay.
Robert Burn’s Town Trail
Distance: 1.6km; duration: Allow 1 hour but leave extra time to visit the Burns attractions.
This easy circular route takes you through the town centre of Dumfries. The trail begins at the Visitor Information Centre on Whitesands and passes a number of landmarks associated with Burns’ time in Dumfries. Spend time visiting these historic locations and learn more about Scotland’s National Bard.
Cairnsmore of Fleet
Distance: 12.5km; duration: 3.5 - 5 hours
The Cairnsmore of Fleet is the highest of the Solway Hills, and the most southerly two thousand foot hill in Scotland. Take a peaceful stroll through Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve (NNR) to reach the summit where you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Cree Estuary and the Solway Firth. This is a popular and straightforward hillwalk.
Distance: 0.7 km; duration: 0.5 hours
The route to Merrick is well signposted, the start being in the car park at Loch Trool and goes off north opposite Bruce's stone. The walk offers some of the most fantastic views to be enjoyed in the Southern Uplands. There is a good path right up to the first summit of Benyellary and then carries on to the summit of the Merrick. Underfoot the ground is predominantly grassy, however the area can be prone to poor visibility and there is some steep ground between the summits so care must be taken.
Mull of Galloway
Distance: 0.7 km; duration: 0.5 hours
This short waymarked route takes you through the RSPB Mull of Galloway Reserve towards the dramatic sea cliffs. The reserve contains an amazing variety of wildlife and the walk provides the opportunity to see the incredible and varied species.
Mull of Galloway Trail, Loch Ryan & Ayrshire Coastal Path
Opened in 2012, the Mull of Galloway Trail runs from the Mull to Stranraer (24 miles) and continues north as the Loch Ryan Coastal Path for a total distance of 35 miles to Glenapp in South Ayrshire (11 miles) where it links with the Ayrshire Coastal Path. The Rotary Club of Stranraer created and maintains the Trail on an entirely voluntary basis.
Southern Upland Way - Portpatrick to Castle Kennedy
This section of the Way is deliberately a short one. It provides walkers with a gentler start to the walk allowing them to “break themselves in”. From Portpatrick the route moves along the coast where you can enjoy stunning views out onto the North Channel, views of Knock Bay and stunning coastal cliffs to the north. At Black Head the route turns inland towards the outskirts of Stranraer and towards Castle Kennedy.
Castle Kennedy to Bargrennan
A long section which is normally broken into two with a night at New Luce.
The Way now starts to climb into less populated areas and passes through forestry as well as open moorland. The Beehive Bothy offers an alternative stop for the night or just a place to stop for a cup of tea and to sign the visitors book. As this section of the route crosses open moorland and is often some way from the nearest town a map and compass should always be taken. Certain parts of this section are impassable to horses and cyclists.