About my little holiday in Newton-Stewart

I had planned and prepared to camp for two nights. I had all my camping gear, more accurately termed “living out of the back of a car” type of camping gear. When I arrived in Newton-Stewart it was raining hard, showing no signs of oncoming dryness. So I explained to the secretary of the campsite that I won’t need the space I had booked, although it didn’t look very busy anyway.
After a little bit of time with my phone and google, I found a local Bed & Breakfast which was not full and was also very cost effective. I arrived at Benera Bed And Breakfast somewhere near tea-time to be welcomed by Mrs Prise. It seems that Mrs Prise and her husband run this for a bit of pocket money, and everything about the B&B is immaculate. I noticed a certificate from a Tourist Information Organisation saying that they welcome walkers and cyclists. I’m not sure if that actually has any specific meaning – perhaps if I needed a packed lunch one would be provided.
As it was still raining I took the short walk in to town and found a decent Cantonese restaurant to eat. The restaurant was very quiet, so I took my time over dessert and had a good chat to the proprietor about my plans for the next two days. He says he gets a lot of bikers in who have already been to Kirroughtree, and they always spoke highly of it.
The following morning I was up early, had a great breakfast with as much toast as I could ea, before setting off for Kirroughtree. I asked about getting my Camelback filled and despite an initial “what’s that?” reaction from Mr and Mrs Prise, they were happy to oblige with two and a half litres of fresh water.
At Kirroughtree I was almost first on the trail, with it not being a weekend it was free of weekend warriors out with something to prove. The Black route is utterly superb, probably not as hard as I’d been led to believe. If there’s anything wrong with it, is the long forest road link between two major parts of the trail. The road up to McMoab if you’ve been there. I did take a set of photos which became this panorama image.
Other things about Kirroughtree: Free bike wash is very useful even if it is just a cold water tap, with a bit of hose on it for finger-tip control. The cafe serves a decent cuppa (in a huge mug) and super cakes. Just what you need.
The weather had improved a lot since yesterday, so I decided to have a “cook out” later in the day.
After going back to Benera for a shower, I just knew I had to visit the nearest distillery; Bladnoch.
If you’re thinking of going, sign up for their discussion forum beforehand. It’s worth it if you’re thinking of buying anything from their shop. For someone who knows relatively little about it, their tour was fascinating and the smell in the cask store was wonderfully indescribable.
After all this, it was time for tea. I drove in to Galloway Forest along the A712 and found a quiet little car park. I parked up, prepared and ate my evening meal, sat and watched the sun setting for a while until the flying insects decided to bite. I had a quick tour of the forest along the A712 to New Galloway and then back to Newton Stewart via the A713.
Wednesday started with the same super breakfast, after a particularly restful night’s sleep. I gathered my things, thanked my hosts for their hospitality and left. I visited the Gem And Rock Museum in Creetown. Even if you don’t have a great interest in gems and minerals, it’s a good way to while away an hour or more looking at the shiny things. It’s a family collection which has out-grown the Stephenson Family, which is why they have a museum.
After spending more time (and money) there than I had anticipated, it was back to Barrow and the end of my holiday.

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