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Camping in SW Sccotland

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Owd Lad

Posts : 187
Join date : 2011-06-17
Age : 64
Location : Kirkcudbright

Camping in SW Scotland

Post by Owd Lad on Fri 24 Jun 2011, 11:37 pm

I'm not sure whether this is just a reply to Vickoir and Mike or whether it's a thread that should go in the 'Site Review' section. Up to you moderators to decide and to shift it if you so desire.

It must be fairly apparent that I'm an advocate for Scotland as a whole and SW Scotland in particular. I think of Lancashire as a beautiful county but to me it's marred by large towns and cities and their attendant crime & social problems. Retirement gave the chance to take ourselves away from all that and we wouldn't willingly make the move backwards.
The bit I'm talking about is Gretna, in the east to Stranraer, in the west. Ie anywhere west of the M6/M74 and for some miles north of this southern facing coast. Now if you'll all take out your road atlases and turn to the relevent pages.
The main route to Stranraer runs along here in the shape of the A75 and its about 90miles from one end to the other. (Nobbut a cockstride up here where miles really don't have much significance.) There is a shopping outlet village at Gretna which is nice if you like that sort of thing, but not a lot else there. There is a privately owned caravan site on the outskirts of the village called 'Braids'. A nice enough site with decent amenities. We have stopped there once whilst attending a wedding and it's a good stop off point for anyone travelling farther north or west. There is a web site and I see no reason why they should be anti-dandy.
The next small town, a few miles along the coast is Annan which, like Gretna, is bypassed by the A75. Annan is ... a small town. Don't really know much about it and only ever driven through it once. The area between Gretna & Annan was once the site of a huge munitions plant, during WW1 and is really the reason that Gretna came into being. (Try googling 'The Devils Porridge')
Moving along the A75 and about 30 miles from Gretna is Dumfries. The area in between is largely agricultural and to be honest there is only a limited amount to see and do in that area. Dumfries is the county town and indeed the main town along the south coast. It's a biggish place and is the main shopping centre for the area. Alright for a day trip but I wouldn't want to go on holiday there. (Or live there!) Luckily the A75 also by-passes Dumfries.
From Dumfries things do get more interesting. The landscape starts to change hills appear on the horizon and it's really from here that the 'tourist area' starts. From Dumfries its possible to follow the coast, via the A710. Certainly along this road is a decent privately owned holiday site at 'Sandyhills' situated right on the beach. Decent amenities but no club, bar etc. To shop you need to make your way another few miles to Dalbeattie, the nearest small town, perhaps taking in the scenic little village of Rockcliffe en route.
Dalbeattie gives access to the A711 coastal road which winds its way round to Kirkcudbright (pronounced Kirkoobree), or you can make your way to the next sizeable town of Castle Douglas. Of course you could just stay on the A75 which takes you somewhat more directly to Castle Douglas.
This town does have a council run caravan site set in a public park at the side of Carlingwark Loch and about three minutes walk into the town. Afraid I can't help with what the pricing strucure is like or the standard of amenities.
From Castle Douglas you can head North on the A713, along the side of Loch Ken. Up here there is one privately owned site on the shore of the loch (mixed statics and touring/tenting) and a couple of certified locations. One of which is situated at Galloway Activity Centre, towards the north end and is attached to the CCC. No EHUs here but there is 24hr use of the centre's toilets, washing facilities and cafe. Good location if you want to sail, paddle, climb, power boat or hire a boat to fish. Again situated on the shore of Loch Ken. Price per night this year is £14 (Loch Ken is about 12miles long but not much wider than about a half mile at any point.
From Castle Douglas and along the A75 is the turning for Kirkcudbright (The other end of the A711). It's about 5 miles to the town centre. The town is a small fishing port situated a few miles from the sea up the River Dee. Enough shops to be interesting,get provisions, fuel, have a walk round. The town is Scotlands 'Artists Town' so there are a number of galleries that might take your interest, as well as a castle and some decent eating houses. It also has another council run caravan site set on the hillside overlooking the town and river.
If you cross the bridge in Kirkcudbright and follow the opposite river bank, towards Borgue, you pick up the signs for Brighouse Bay and Ross Bay. Both are reached down the same backroad which then splits and are about five miles from Kirkcudbright.
On the Ross Bay road is Solway View, attached to Balmangan Farm. This is a CCC CL, so a max of five caravans on hard standings & EHUs, together with a camping field which does have a limited number of EHUs. Site is only about four years old and still developing but it does have a nice new little toilet block. It's situated overlooking the Dee estuary. Pleasant little site and expect to pay a little bit more than basic CL prices. Again they do have a web site.
At the bottom of the other road is Brighouse Bay Holiday Park, where we are based. This site is a very different kettle of fish. Open all year, it has a number of large touring areas set amongst trees (The areas are really what used to be different fields) and a number of areas for static vans. There are two toilet blocks set about two hundred yards from each other, one of them being unisex, and both with clothes washing facilities. There is a well stocked shop at the reception block and at the other end of the site is a clubhouse with bar, concert room, swimming pool and games room. Meals are served. The site has its own 9 & 18 hole golf courses. The 18 hole course is hard but set in spectacular surroundings. There is also a stable for riding lessons and pony trecking. The site is set along the edge of Brighouse Bay itself, behind a wood which runs the entire side of the bay, giving easy access to the beach. (Google Brighouse Bay or Gillespie Leisure for more info'). This is not a cheap site but is very easy going. However for many parts of the year (except July/August & Bank Holidays) they do accept Camping Cheques. If you don't know what these are you can again have a google session but basically they are pre bought vouchers, costing about £14 each, and give you a pitch with EHU for two people for one night. I believe that at Brighouse you use 6 vouchers and get another night free or use ten vouchers and get four nights free (You would need to check). The site is a long way from main roads and there is very little traffic noise and because its rather removed from civilisation benefits from very little light polution at night. (I might add at this point that although we're based here we have nothing to do with the site or its running.)

Well, we've got about half of the way along the A75 now and my fingers are getting blisters. So I think its time to leave it and have another go at a later date. On a closing note and just for Vickoir - google 7Stanes and you will find info re' specially set up mountain bike trails, all of which are easily reachable in this area. I hope that everyone else has found this at least a bit useful.
Steve
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vickoir
Dandy Expert

Posts : 1092
Join date : 2011-06-12
Age : 41
Location : Penshaw Tyne & Wear

Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by vickoir on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 8:11 am

thanks steve,
thats great you have now just become my one stop shop for all things scottish pirat
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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by Helen on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 8:31 am

I am going to go on holiday in Scotland next year, as there seems to be a few of us wanting to go maybe at some stage we could sort out a meet next season. bounce I know we are only in July so next year seems a long way off but we don't have many holiday days left for this year as we have already used quite a lot. Sad

I would like to have plenty of time to look around and enjoy. Smile
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by Tow Itch on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 1:13 pm

Helen

I'm definitely a fan of Scotland. As you appear to like things when there quieter I think you will be amazed at the drop in population as you travel north.
It is just the nature of the topic title, your not going all that way and only sticking to the SW of Scotland are you?
If you are going further north in July I'd seek local knowledge about the midge issue. These are not the things you know and love in this country. They are nasty bloodthirsty and there are millions of them. I first went to Applecross in August and got eaten alive. (Hint if you watch someone erecting a tent still wearing a M/C helmet there is a midge problem) The second time I went was the last week of June no problem.
Applecross is a favoured place, it isn't quite the back of beyond but you can see it from there.
You can tow the Dandy over Belach Na Barr (Spelling ?) I have towed a large trailer tent over, though caravans are prohibited.
Balach Na Barr is the highest pass in the UK. Unlike Shap or Rishworth Moor (M62) you can see how high up you are as it comes up from a sea loch.
I also like Fort Augustus where locks on the Caledonian Canal allow it to enter Loch Ness. Though it is a good deal busier.

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Owd Lad

Being from Lancashire would it not be "T'Owd Lad" or were you bothered how the foreigners would pronounce it.
I only have 2 memories of the SW of Scotland. 1 going north from Gretna on a die straight road wondering if it was Roman. Then thinking it couldn't be as it was north of Hadrian's Wall. Later learnt of the Antonine Wall and of the Roman's presence further north.
The other being of Troon, where I believe there is a campsite. I was coming into Troon from Northern Ireland and the ferry passes through a number of really high but small islands. Wonder if it's were Roger Dean got the idea for his islands out of the sky artwork.

Kevin.
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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by Helen on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 1:18 pm

I would be going for at least 10 days Kevin so that I would be able to look around other area's of Scotland too

A friend of ours comes from Oban and the stories she tells of where she spent her childhood make it another place I want to see. Smile
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by Tow Itch on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 1:28 pm

Helen

Having seen pictures of your awning and windbreaks. Is that one five night and one four night camp or will it be just unfold the rump of the camper leaving everything else at home?

Kevin.
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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Camping in SW Sccotland

Post by Helen on Sat 25 Jun 2011, 1:31 pm

That would depend on how long we stay at a place for, if only two nights just the camper will go up lol!

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