South West Scotland including Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and Borders.
The 371 miles (597km) of The National Byway® route in south-west Scotland represents a fascinating visit to one of the most interesting and beautiful regions of Scotland: comprising the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire, visiting more than 120 places of interest along the way.
The heritage in this area is rich indeed. It encompasses Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, the Picts, the invading Scots (from Ireland), early Christianity, the heroic struggles against England through to the romances of Walter Scott and the magic of Robbie Burns.
Traffic levels are much lighter in this part of Scotland than on much of The National Byway®, so more ‘main’ (B-designated) but lightly trafficked roads are used. There are fewer places for refreshment and accommodation along the way, so the rider must be well prepared. Part of The National Byway’s route in this area is shared with the National Cycle Network’s Routes 7 and 74 and is jointly signed. The countryside varies: from the cultivated lowlands by the Solway Firth with views across to the English Lakeland hills, to the wild peace of the Southern Upland Way; from the Atlantic coastline at Ayr to the steep gradients of the Carrick Hills.
Heading north from the English border near Kielder Water in Northumberland, the Byway route briefly visits the Borders region for 17 miles (27km), slips back into Cumbria for 6 miles (10km) to avoid a busy main road, then enters Dumfries and Galloway where it meanders around the byways for 194 miles (312km), before crossing into South Ayrshire. Here a circular 154 miles (248km) route includes visits to Ayr and Girvan before returning southwards. There are Loops available for one-day or short-break usage based on Dumfries (21 miles/34km), Ayr (28 miles/45km) and Girvan (34 miles/54km).