"Easter in Nithsdale" Moniaive by nickandchris
Moniaive Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 66 photos
At long last our Easter break had arrived. After months of being couped up indoors during a winter that seemed to drag on forever, it was time to pack the motorhome and head off north. Destination, the beautiful, little known Nithsdale valley in Dumfries and Galloway. And yes, it had snowed quite heavily the day before our departure, but what the heck, we were just desperate to get away and escape. (Moniaive is the closest village Virtual Tourist recognises to our destination hence the listing there but is actually in the next valley over, the Cairn Valley.))
With the weather being bright, we opted to take the long route round and incorporate the spectacular Dalveen Pass into our journey. What a lovely journey, made even more spectacular by snow blanketing the hills all around.
We were booked into a small Certificated camp site that only allows 5 units on, in Penpont, near Thornhill. What a lovely site this was, with beautiful views to the hills with the ever changing light and our own river running through. There were even friendly horses in the field next to us.
During our stay of three days,our plan was to visit Drumlanrig Castle, owned by the Duke of Buccleuch, head over the Mennock Pass to the lead mining museum at Wanlockhead and also explore the countryside closer to the site,including the ruins of Morton Castle, by motorbike.
Fortunately the weather was kind to us and remained dry so we were able to see everything we had intended and even fit a pub lunch in as well.
Nithsdale is the valley that follows the River Nith through the southern uplands in south west Scotland. It is part of Dumfries and Galloway and the river seperates the Lowther Hills from the Scaur hills. (We were actually camped on Scaur Water, which is a very impressive river after a night of rain!)
Towns in Nithsdale include Dumfries (the largest town in the region) in the south and Thornhill and Sanqhuar, further north.
The A76 heads through the area, as does the Dumfries to Kilmarnock railway line. The whole area is most definitely "off the beaten track" with very few tourists evident during the Easter period. Despite this, everywhere is tourist friendly in a laid back manner, there is not much evidence of "private" signs or "do not do this, that or the other" which we found greatly enhanced and certainly endeared us to the area.
I don't think we saw a scrap of litter in any of the villages, nor did we notice any dog dirt which is somewhat different from where we live.
There are many small roads and footpaths, ideal for walking or biking and we travelled a few on the motorbike, which was pure pleasure. For drivers, don't expect to find petrol in Thornhill, you'll find it in Sanqhuar and Moniaive.
We enjoyed our time here and feel there is so much more of this area to still discover that we are sure we will return.
- Pros:Empty, beautiful countryside. No litter. Friendly locals.
- Cons:None whatsoever.
- In a nutshell:Amazingly lacking in tourists for such a beautiful part of the world. Let's keep it that way.
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