Day 167 Following the River Nith to Dumfries

Saturday 19 September 2015

Southerness to Dumfries

18 miles

The White Hart pub

Today’s walk was split into 2 sections, linked by a bus that left Kirkbean at 12.16 pm. I therefore had enough time to go to the cafe for breakfast before tackling the first 6 miles. I set off along the sandy beach of Gillfoot Bay – the tide was out so the sea was a long way out.  

Looking back across Gillfoot Bay to Southerness Point
 As I rounded the edge of the beach at Powillimount things got a little more interesting. The signpost indicated a path but in fact it appeared that one had to walk across the beach/rocks. Beach is a slight misnomer as the tide comes right in here (although not covering the rocks) and so the sand is actually mud in places. I found this out when my right foot sank to the very top of my boot. Luckily I moved quickly to pull it out as visions of cockleshell pickers in Morecambe passed through my mind! It wasn’t that bad but I did have a very muddy, and heavy, boot that would require cleaning later. I was a bit more careful where I clambered after that.  

My boot later after removing most of the mud
 I passed by the Thirl Stane (a sandstone arch) and the Devil’s Stone (a big stone said to have been chewed off the visible a Criffel mountain and spat onto the beach by the devil). It was warm and sunny walking along the shoreline. 

Thirl Stane
  
Is this the devil’s stone? (Wonderful house in the background)
 
There was an organised beach clean going on at Carsethorn, where I left the shoreline and walked inland to Kirkbean to catch the bus along the main road to New Abbey.  

Beach clean-up at Carsethorn
  
An old soldier at Carsethorn
 
 Presumably this town was named soon after 1273, when Lady Devorgilla of Galloway commissioned the Abbey. It became known as Sweetheart Abbey as the Lady was so devoted to her late husband (John Balliol who founded Balliol College at Oxford University) that she had his heart embalmed and kept it in a special casket that she was later buried clasping to her bosom. What a great story.  

Sweetheart Abbey
 Above the town is a large monument commemorating Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo. 

Waterloo monument on the hill overlooking New Abbey
  New Abbey is a pretty little town. From here I followed a path across the fields of sheep and cows, following the course of the New Abbey Pow (essentially a creek) to the bank of the River Nith. Airds Point provides a neck in the river where it suddenly widens into the estuary. I know tides move fast over sands but I had never walked beside an incoming tide with the water keeping pace with me, until now. Unbelievable.  

Airds Point – the tide on the right kept pace with me walking!
 It was a nice walk through some woods by the river before I came out onto the main road. I had to walk about 3 miles along it before I could get onto a cycle path next to the river again for the last stretch into Dumfries. The tide must reach up a long way because the river was flowing the wrong way! 

Dumfries has a lot of bridges. I crossed over the Kirkpatrick Macmillan bridge, named after the Dumfresian inventor of the velocipede in 1840; the first pedal cycle. How apt that it is a cycle path. (This area is big on cycle trails and there’s a lot of mountain biking trails in the forests and hills.)

Kirkpatrick Macmillan Bridge over the River Nith
 I found my destination and immediately went out shopping for a brush to clean my boots. I bought a feast from Tescos and decided to have a night in as I was pooped. I wasn’t too disturbed by the very loud band playing in the pub until 2 am. I was staying right by the site of Grey Friars Monastery, where Robert the Bruce slayed the Red Comyn in 1306 to pave the way to Scottish independence. History everywhere. 

 

One thought on “Day 167 Following the River Nith to Dumfries

  1. chris frazer September 20, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Gaiters and Walking Poles may be required for future danders along an estuary shore..Take care Juice…..On on Marshal of the Air (Retd).

    Like

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