We have held bunkhouse weekends in England and Scotland before, always quiet weekends with gentle rides out, good chat and group evening meal. This was like that last year and we hope the same again. I will ask Ced if he is free to lead any rides. There is a really good loop of about 60 miles with places to stop for coffee and a couple of Forest Rides on unsurfaced roads.
This is our fifth visit to Scotland and the fourth to this site, this time again for a bunkhouse weekend. The event is the first weekend in September leaving the site on Sunday. It’s September so we should have good weather, the Forest Drives will be open as well ,so we can have “soft” road fun. We are sharing the Bunkhouse and its Showers/ cooking facilities.
The site is ten miles north of Castle Douglas on the A713 road to Ayr, on the East side of the Loch Ken in south west Scotland, close to the border with England The main route through the region is the A75 Gretna, then Dumfries to Stranraer road but Dumfries has both single track tarmacked hill roads as well as good open riding roads with little traffic. But look out for the speed cameras, deer, sheep and gravel patches. The centre offers a range of on-site sporting activities (Sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoing, climbing, archery, fishing etc) if you want a break from riding.
Aberdeen 220 miles
Dundee 150 miles
Edinburgh 90 miles
Glasgow 75 miles
Manchester 180 miles
Sheffield 220 miles
The cost is £40 per person for the weekend for a bunkhouse bed space including bedding MEMBERS ONLY.
Camping is an option at £20 per person for the weekend. LARGE Washroom facilities are available in the Main Block which also contains the café. MEMBERS ONLY.
The Galloway Forest Park is the first area in the U.K. to be awarded Dark Sky status. The extremely low levels of light pollution make ideal conditions for night gazers and star spotters, even though it is a few days after the full moon (6th September you should be able to see stars if there is no cloud.
The Raiders Road Forest Drive is just opposite the site on Loch Ken. The Carrick Forest Drive is between Stinchar Bridge and Loch Doon. Both these Forest Drives are unsurfaced but ate suitable for road bikes given reasonable weather conditions and care, In 2014 3 full dress RTs did the ride, in 2016 we decided not to ride it but it is not hard, give it a try.
The bunkhouse is a big lodge with 5 separate bunk rooms each with 4 beds. We are planning to use 2 of them and they are available as twins to suit couples. There are 3 shower and toilet rooms solely for bunkhouse use. The bunkhouse has a communal area for eating and socialising. The lounge has DVD, video player, T.V. area, dining table where we eat a group meal last year. The bunkhouse is warm with Central Heating. There is a fully equipped kitchen with ample pots, pans and crockery. Self catering users need to know the closest supermarket is in Castle Douglas which is a 10 mile ride so it is best to shop on the way there. There are smaller shops locally if we have forgotten vital items.
There is a an on-site café (2016 had the best food we ever found here) that offers views of Loch Ken and across to Bennan Hill. Visitors can sit, enjoy breakfasts, coffee, home baking, basic meals and watch some of the action on the water or even see some Red Kites swooping overhead. If you wish to purchase more substantial meals such as a full Scottish breakfast, lunch or dinner then ‘The Smithy’ tea room in New Galloway, the Ken Bridge Hotel or Clachan Hotel. all within 7 miles can provide this. “Bunkhousers” can cook in the bunkhouse kitchen, which is what we have done in previous years. Or use the cafe. The campers were allowed in because they were well behaved.
Arrive Friday (8th) , arrange your own food Ride out on Saturday (9th) and then a group evening meal, camp stew in 2016.
Gentle Ride away Sunday (10th).
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