The South of Scotland not only flaunts incredible natural landscapes, but also a rich cultural heritage and history. Turn your Raiders Gravel experience into a weekend getaway by exploring this beautiful region. This Solway Coast itinerary highlights some of the gems to visit and places to stay as you come or leave Gatehouse of Fleet, our event village.
To reach our event location, you can cut across Dumfries & Galloway from the M6 to Gatehouse on the A75. But whilst this is the most direct and quickest way, there is a beautiful coastal route that you can take that passes through another world. There are castles, historic abbeys, sandy beaches and quaint harbours, and a fine whisky distillery to visit. Take the whole coastal route or dip into it from the A75 as you travel to or from Gatehouse. Dumfries & Galloway is a place to decompress, so why not begin by taking the Solway Coast scenic drive? Here are some of the places that await you:
A fairy-tale moated castle built in the 13th Century, it is one of the finest castles in Scotland. It sits in the centre of miles of flat coastal landscape of international importance for migrating birds.
Dumfries is the traditional county town of the historic county of Dumfriesshire. It is nicknamed ‘Queen of the South’. J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, and, of course, Robert Burns are linked with the town. History from Roman times is near the surface here.
The village has a wealth of history including the ruined Cistercian abbey, Sweetheart Abbey, founded by Lady Devorgilla in 1273 in memory of her husband John Balliol. She kept his embalmed heart close to her for the rest of her life. The monks named the abbey dulce cor (“sweet heart”). Running south from here the road hugs the coastline with panoramic views across the Solway. The stretch to the golden beaches of Sandyhills is some of the finest in southern Scotland.
After the Battle of Langside in 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, spent her final night in Scotland at Dundrennan Abbey. From neighbouring Port Mary, she crossed the Solway Firth to Workington, and shortly after was imprisoned by the English. There is a peaceful quiet here now and a wonderful cafe and B&B.
Known as the ‘Artist Town’, Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir–coo–bree) is one of Scotland’s most vibrant communities with events, exhibitions and activities taking place throughout the year. A lively fishing port, great places to eat and some of the best hotels and B&B’s in the area. The pastel-coloured townhouses and craft and galleries make this a must-visit place in Galloway. You could spend a wonderful couple of days here exploring the beaches dotted along the coast between here and Gatehouse. Most of the time you will have this beautiful landscape all to yourself.