Today was almost entirely walking on road, so it was a case of donning my hi-vis vest and putting trainers on. Having spent a comfortable night in a B&B in Dumfries I opted for an early start, which meant having to forgo breakfast. I drove the short distance to the south of Dock Park to the first upstream bridging point of the River Nith – The Kirkpatrick Macmillan footbridge. Kirkpatrick Macmillan was in fact the inventor of the pedal bicycle and was a blacksmith from just north of Dumfries.
Having parked my car close to the bridge I then walked the half mile to the bus station close to the weir and caught the 07:00 #79 back to Cummertrees and walked down to Powfoot.
It was 7:40 as I continued to head west. I was pleased to see that although, the sun was up, there was a thin veil of cloud which masked the intensity I experienced yesterday. After passing through a holiday park and golf course I continued along on Cycleway route #7. I joined a small single track road, which was very quiet and dead straight. The land around was dead flat and reminded me of the Fens. Save for the song of birds and the occasional deer there was little to see. After 4 miles I arrived at the small hamlet of Ruthwell, famous for the location of the first Trustee Savings Bank, started by the Rev. Henry Duncun in 1810. The humble cottage which housed the Bank is now a museum, which was closed unfortunately.
Half a mile further up the road I joined the more busier B725, which although not the M6, still had traffic passing me at speed. Shortly after joining the road I came to Brow, a small hamlet, which is famous for its well – Brow Well. Robert Burns visited the well in July 1796 while in declining health, he died soon after. The well is currently being ‘done-up’ with a bit of landscaping here and there. The well was also drained, or rather let to run, as I could see just a trickle of water passing along an open gulley pipe.
I carried on along similar roads and decided to try out an idea that I had recently had. It involved the necessity to constantly check if a vehicle is coming behind you, particularly on single track roads. Ok I thought, what about those kiddie specs you get with mirrors inbuilt into the glasses themselves? Well £1.99 (incl P&P) later and a delivery from Fleabay, I packed them into my rucksack. Did they work, well yes and no. I usually wear a Tilley hat which slopes at the back, so all I was seeing was the hat. When I removed the hat I could see cars in the rear, although it took abit of practice while walking to focus on the mirror. I’ll pop them in my bag again and give em another whirl.
The road eventually arrived at Bankend, which contained a few buildings and nothing much else. I continued down the B725, although the traffic had drastically reduced. I passed through the small hamlet of Shearington and was rewarded with an excellent view of the isolated granite peak of Criffel (569m), a hill I had seen many times while climbing in The Lakes and The Southern Uplands. I continued ahead and could see the ruins of the moated triangular castle of Caerlaverock. I was too tired to pay to walk around ruins, so I continued onto Glencaple meeting the River Nith flowing south from Dumfries.
I rested at Glencaple and decided to follow the riverside path all the way back to Dumfries. The path was abit sticky in places, but was well marked and had a number of small wooden bridges for the larger streams. I came to Kingholm Quay which had a pub and other old quayside buildings. It also marked the start of the tarmac path into Dumfries, the know, the sort that joggers use? I finished the walk in 5.5hrs for the 19.5 miles.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 19.5 miles
Total distance = 1690.5 miles