A Weekend Away at Gorsebank

Last weekend we took a weekend off work and everything else and headed south to Gorsebank, a camping village which is located in Dalbeattie, not too far from Dumfries. A weekend away with very little phone signal, no email access, and so on, was much needed, and where better to spend it than in the lowlands of Scotland.

At midday on Friday, we packed the car and got on the road. I volunteered Emma for driving, her car is A LOT more fuel efficient than mine, and it ended up being around a 4/5 hour drive down to Dalbeattie by the time we got through traffic and then an accident on the motorway.

Arriving late, we checked in to our little ‘WigWam’ which is where we would be staying for two nights. Sadly, it was already pretty dark when we arrived so we just headed into nearby Dalbeattie to grab a Chinese carry out and then chilled out, munched, and watched some movies.

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Turning the above into a big bed like structure was pretty interesting, who knew something so simple could be so challenging, I was a little tired.

It was pretty cloudy out, but we spent some time trying to get some shots of where we were staying. Luckily, we managed one good one when the sky cleared up slightly.

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An early start on Saturday, with not much planned, but there were a couple of places we had checked out on Google before so we wanted to make sure we visited those, and then anything else along the way was a bonus.

Our first stop was Threave Castle which is a 14th century castle situated on an island in the middle of the River Dee, just west of the small town of Castle Douglas. Unfortunately, pretty much all the historic locations in Scotland are open between April and September, so we couldn’t actually get onto the castle’s island. We’ll be back though.

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The second location we wanted to check out was the Big Water of Fleet Viaduct, so we hopped back in the car and headed further west. The Big Water of Fleet Viaduct is a disused 19th century railroad and is tucked away within the lowlands down a dodgy single track road which is well worth persevering for.

You can even hop over the fence and walk across from one side to the other.

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By now, our bellies were rumbling, so it was time to stop off for some lunch, and Gatehouse of Fleet was the nearest town so that’s exactly where we headed. As we took the turn off for the road into the town, we spotted a castle nestled away in the trees so we went back to check it out.

It was in fact Cardoness Castle, and again, it was closed. It was also the middle of the day, and the sun was super bright, and the clouds weren’t helping the situation so yeah, the below shot was the best of a bad bunch.

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Back on the road now, and literally just driving until we seen something interesting, and this brought us to the town of Kirkcudbright where there was apparently a castle called MacLellan’s Castle, and a 16th century one at that.

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Leaving Kirkcudbright, Emma was now hunting the coast, so we drove east, and driving along this coastal road provides spectacular views across the sea of the Lake District in England, and the wind farm that is situated in that stretch of water.

I’ve been to Flimby (where the New Balance Factory is) twice now, and when you look out from Flimby, you look on to this wind farm and Scotland in the distance, so it was kind of cool to see it from the other side.

Driving along the A711, we ended up passing through Dundrennan, and spotted Dundrennan Abbey just off the main road, which was apparently a Cistercian monastery established in 1142. Pretty cool, but again, closed. Damn you Historic Scotland and your April to September opening times.

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Continuing down the A711, heading nowhere in particular, out of the corner of my eye, I was sure I spotted a giant scarecrow or something, so I made Emma reverse back down the main road to see what it was.

Turns out it basically was a giant scarecrow and marks where the Wickerman Festival is held in July.

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One of our last stops along the A711 was the Orchardton Tower which we stumbled across at the end of some single track road. Orchardton Tower is a ruined tower house from the 15th century and is the only cylindrical tower house in Scotland.

Be sure to climb to the top and check out some of the views of the surrounding hills.

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After it being mostly blue skies during the afternoon, it started to get a little overcast but we figured we’d try find a good spot for sunset before we headed back to Gorsebank.

We actually drove past Gorsebank, and ended up in a place called Sandyhills as Emma found a beach, got excited, and wanted to check it out. Think she just wanted to try get a good view of those wind turbines in the sea and the mountain in the distance.

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We turned back and headed to nearby Rockcliffe, mainly because the name sounded pretty cool, and we figured there’d be some cliffs… turns out there was no cliffs, but we parked our bums here anyway and waited for the sun to set.

The sunset wasn’t great, mostly just a bunch of dark clouds, but we got some nice orange in the sky, and I mostly just annoyed Emma while she was trying to take a selfie.

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We made it back to our wigwam at Gorsebank, chilled for a little bit, then headed back into nearby Dalbeattie, and grabbed some food at the Taj Mahal Restaurant. Shout out to the waiter there, legend.

The rest of the night just consisted of us hanging out, and me falling asleep early, standard. We made big plans for Sunday morning on the way home, but that was never going to happen, so we made the most of the 11am check out time and headed onwards to Drumlanrig Castle, a 17th century ‘Pink Palace’ which would inevitably be closed but we went anyway.

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Obviously there’s always a sneaker shot in there somewhere!

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From Drumlanrig Castle, we took the A702, the most perfect winding road through the hills, and on to the M74 and headed back up the road to Aberdeen.

If anyone isn’t quite up for the whole camping thing, then definitely be sure to check out Gorsebank, we know we’ll be back in the summer when there’s lighter nights and more time for exploring!

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