Gatehouse of Fleet to Crosshill

Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway viaduct
The Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway once connected the Belfast ferry port of Stranraer with Dumfries for journeys to the south.

Nice breakfast, shame the coffee was instant but it was a comfortable, friendly B&B at only £15 each in the centre of town. We shopped for lunch at the Spar before heading off along a minor road, turning off to pass the end of this viaduct near the start of an 18 mile off-road section through forestry plantations with a wonderful wild section in the middle where streams and mountains could be viewed free of conifers. The farmer’s wife at our B&B later told us how lovely it used to be before the commercial forestry. Path surface was variable, with just a few short sections where large boulders compelled us to push. We lunched by Clatteringshaw reservoir as the sunshine turned to rain. After a short tarmac section, the track again deteriorated with the odd logging lorry stirring up the dust. Path construction work had pushed the small route 7 sign round, so we missed our turning and found ourselves up a dead end, just as it started to drizzle and the midges dined on us while we studied the map. So back we went down the hill and onto a short path leading to a track before striking tarmac for the run past Loch Trool, followed by a great fast ride down to Glen Trool Visitor Centre just in time for coffee and cake before it closed for the day.

It was 16:45 with Rowan flagging and Maybole was 24 miles away over the hills, but Glen Trool had nothing to offer so we phoned to book accommodation at Crosshill, just a couple of miles closer than Maybole. We pressed on up through the conifers to the Nick of Balloch, the midges attacking us ever time we stopped for the lad to catch up. A great run down was followed by another climb before descending into the village, arriving at 20:00. The friendly farmer’s wife phoned the pub to book us a meal.

Day 4 – Crosshill to Ardrossan (46 miles)