Exploring Kirroughtree Forest

IMG_9008Back in November 2019, we decided to take Polly, our camper van and do some touring of Scotland, initially around the Dumfries area, then we’d see where Polly would take us.  We were also on the hunt for, not only some great walking, but some good mountain biking trails.

Our first Brit Stop seemed to be just a car park off the beaten track in Caerlaverock, near Dumfries.  It was late and very dark so we didn’t really know what our surroundings were.  Little did we know that we’d stumbled upon a beautiful nature reserve.  I wrote about this here, where I also explain what Brit Stops are.

From there we were heading towards Newton Stewart, then north toward Galloway Forest, in search of a mountain biking trail we’d heard of at Kirroughtree.

After only a few hours driving and of course the enjoyment of Scotlands beautiful

The start of our forest walk, whilst above me was the end of the mountain biking trail.

scenery we found ourselves pulling up at Kirroughtree Forest Visitor Centre.  A quick tour around the centre familiarised us with what was on offer and we were excited.  There were various walks around the forest and what looked like a great mountain biking course, in fact it was one of the 7 Stanes courses, which in the mountain biking world are well sought after as they are award winning trails, eight to be precise, dotted around south Scotland and you don’t have to be an expert to ride them as they have varying skill levels within each trail.  Jon was happy, I was happy and the dogs were so excited as they were first on the list to enjoy a big long walk and explore in the forest.

We set off walking one of the harder trails of the forest and it didn’t take us long before we were walking in what seemed to be an enchanted magical mysterious forest, as everything was covered in moss.  It was so very still, quite eerie, and stunning in a strange kind of way.  It was a fantasy story waiting to be written, my mind was running wild with fairies and goblin’s.

In the midst of the forest we came across these mystery surfboard objects which we puzzled over for quite some time, but came up with no explanation at all.  Any ideas?

Please help solve the mystery of the weird Surfboards of Kirroughtree

As we climbed further up the mountain, the scenery started to open up as we found ourselves high up amongst the tree tops, looking over at the fabulous views of Galloway.

IMG_5862 2

The sun was out, the autumn colours were incredible and the birds were singing, we were in heaven and about to start descending, winding down a thin path until we came across an interesting flat area.

The sign reads…

Let us lead you along the Lade.

Hello – we are Andrew Clugston and John Doyle, both lead miners who worked here.  We discovered lead here in 1763, when the military road between Carlisle and Portpatrick was being built.  We continued to mine here until the First World War.

A regular supply of water was needed to power the machinery and for washing the lead, so we dug channels and directed the water from Bruntus Loch to this small reservoir .  The channel is known as a lade – you can follow it all the way up to the Bruntis Loch and discover more about our work on the way.

We’d spent a good few hours meandering around this beautiful forest so didn’t have time to follow the Lade trail, the centre would be closing soon so we had to start heading back.  We’d be coming back to this amazing place in the morning to do a couple of the bike tracks, but as we still had light we needed to start thinking about finding a spot to camp nearby.

There were no Brit Stops in this area so we would need to look for a good quiet spot and we did, we found a great little lay-by tucked away from the road with a fabulous view over the River Cree.  Rosie had a little paddle, we made a yummy chilli and settled down with a cheeky glass of red for the night whilst enjoying the ever-changing view over the river as the sun set.  Perfect.

The following morning we were back at Kirroughtree forest looking forward to the day ahead.  We’d give the dogs another good walk first then a big bike ride for us up and down this gorgeous forest.  Thank goodness for my Diamondback e-bike to get me up the mountain paths – changing from my beloved Whyte mountain bike to a Diamondback e-bike was a hard decision, but a good one overall – a future blog post in the making.


The mountain biking was fantastic, a highly recommended biking park!

It was time to get on the road again, heading to the coastal road on the look out for another good spot to park the van for the evening, we’d then be heading for Lock Lomand, the Trussocks and Argyll forest park the next day.Exploring Kirroughtree Forest© 2017 – 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-lovingthefiftysomething.com


Me with Crazy Rose (left) and our beautiful, (late, but always remembered) Jenna 💕

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Millie our ‘Funny’ Puggly


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37 thoughts on “Exploring Kirroughtree Forest

  1. Such a magical forest Sam. It is a long time since I visited this area, but I grew up not far from Loch Lomomd and The Trossachs. The first year of my life was spent in Callander. I love to go back when I revisit Scotland.

    1. It is one of many beautiful parts of Scotland Jacquie. I would love to visit Canada in Summer to travel and see all the beauty there. We have been a few times, going next week actually, but we only ever go in winter for the snowboarding 🙂 We went a few years ago as a special one off trip and have been every year since, we love Canada 🙂

    1. Scotland is a definite recommendation for your list Sue, it’s a wonderful part of the world, timing and research is key though to avoid midges 😊

  2. Absolutely breathtaking! Enchanting! And perhaps the fairy shields were laid, in the midst of battle, over brave elfin folk who gave their all for a cause long forgotten.

    Surely this is a place of inspiration for imaginative writers. After all, April sees shields!

    Thank you for sharing this. Coming out of a long illness, Scotland’s beauty is a tonic for my tired soul! Please give your pups a nuzzle for me. ♥

    1. Thank you for your fabulous comment. I thought the same about it being a writers paradise, my mind was wandering & I love where your mind was going 👏 I wish you a speedy recovery, pups send you their waggy tail blessings x

  3. Never been to Scotland, looks wonderful. Could I ask how you transport your dogs? We have a motorhome and want to take our rescue dog who we got in December with us on trips. There are no seatbelts except in the cab so are wondering how he can travel securely.

    1. Hi, not sure what your dog is like when travelling, but ours are very used to it and just curl up under the table in the back and chill out. 😊 happy motor homing and congratulations on getting a rescue dog, that’s wonderful x

      1. Aw thanks, so excited to take him camping but he’s not too keen in the car, so I’m thinking we’ll maybe need a crate for travelling.

        1. Ahh sounds like everything is still new to him 😊 he may appreciate a bit of company in the back until he gets used to it all 😊 would love to know how you get on, I’ll be following your blog 👏

          1. We took him out in in the MH yesterday just to the shops. He does have his own blog but it’s not been updated recently due to the atrocious weather this February.

  4. Lovely views from your motorhome window, gives a real sense of freedom and that is why we loved motorhoming. Wonderful that you both and the “kids” had a great time together exploring a new place 🙂

  5. I don’t know if this is your answer, but I googled “Kirroughtree surfboards” and found this excerpt from the book: Slow Travel / Dumfries & Galloway / Local, characterful guide to Britain’s special places / by Donald Greig and Darren Flint:

    “Look out on the path to Bruce’s Stone for the surfboard-like plinths set to one side of the trees. Try them out: lie down on them and gaze upwards. Even a bit of daytime sky-watching has its rewards.”

    Could it be?

  6. Hi Sam, I am glad I stopped to read Brit Stops first. Scotland has been very much in my radar this past year. I had not thought about a camping holiday here, until now. Your photos are amazing! I love all of your words describing this area: enchanted, magical, eerie, fantasy story. Definitely, mind running wild. The colour of the fungus is unbelievable. I did read through the comments and it looks like Janis has the answer. A great post!

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