New for 2014 – we have ‘renovated’ the coal house and can now offer guests a secure drying room in the old coal hole – now whitewashed, shoe rack and rail installed and oil radiator at the ready. So, what ever our delightful Dumfriesshire weather does on your round of golf, mountain bike ride, hike or fishing trip, you’ll be ready to do it all again the next day!
Walking – There are lots of interesting and fairly level walks locally, Hoddam Castle has several way marked routes from the car park along the River Annan, or for a bit more of a climb there are steeper walks up to Repentance Tower or Woodcock Air. Just out of the village to the north, Dalton Old Kirk is a short walk from the public road and for a longer climb you can carry on up the hill to Joe Graham’s monument. The 55 mile Annandale Way running from the headwaters of the Annan near Moffat to the Solway coast is a new route and has a circular option passing very close to Dalton, a lovely longer option!
Cycling – We are centrally placed for the ‘7Stanes’ mountain bike trails with the nearest being Mabie and Ae Forest. There’s an outdoor tap/spray just outside the back door to wash your bikes down with afterwards and plenty of space in the garage for you to store them. If cycle touring is more your scene there are plenty of quiet country lanes to explore and 3 national cycle routes, the 7, 74 and part the ‘National Byways’ network are close by. If you have a day off the bikes you could always visit the bicycle museum at Drumlanrig Castle.
Fishing – Day tickets (in season) for the Annan and its tributaries can be bought through fishpal.com
Golf – Locally, there are courses at Hoddam Castle, Lockerbie, Lochmaben and Powfoot where guest players are welcome. Visit Scotland offer a ‘Gateway to Golf’ pass for 3 or 6 rounds of golf at any of the 26 courses participating in the scheme in Dumfries and Galloway.
Nature – We are lucky enough to have red squirrels in this part of Dumfries and Galloway, please be careful when driving through wooded areas as they are not as good as ‘Tufty’ was at crossing roads. If you see a grey squirrel locally, please let us know. You may also see hares, badgers, foxes and roe deer around the village in addition to the rabbits which are hard to miss. Nature ‘destinations’ locally are; Salmon Trail at Hoddom Castle, Eskrigg Nature Reserve at Lockerbie (run by a very active local wildlife trust with woodland and pond habitats), the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust near Caerlaverock, ospreys at Threave Castle.
Kids – There are lots of great places to enjoy as a family. If activity play is what you want, you’ll find amazing indoor and outdoor play space with the added attractions of animals to visit and on-site cafes at Dalscone and Mabie Farm Parks near Dumfries and Walby near Carlisle. Drumlanrig and Cream O’ Galloway both have big slides and zip wires in the woods. Cream O’Galloway also has a ‘fairtrade/organic’ cafe and runs informative farm tours, nature activities like pond dipping and best of all, lots of ice cream which you can learn how to make too. The Cocoa Bean Factory nearby at Tynholm offers chocoholics the chance to make their own confections and offers another good outdoor play space with the added attraction of panning for (fools) gold and cafe.
Riding of the Marches – Through the Summer, most of local towns maintain the tradition of ‘Common Riding’ or the ‘Riding of the Marches’ which culminates in a Gala Day in each town when townsfolk who are able, ride their horses along high street, with pipe bands and often a carnival of floats. The riders will have ‘beaten the bounds’ earlier in the day, riding around the burgh boundary, to ensure the town is safe from marauders.