Castle Douglas in Dumfries, Scotland, is known for its historical importance, it is built next to Carlingwark Loch in which traces of prehistoric crannogs can be found. This is an evidence of early inhabitation of the area. Small Roman forts were situated nearby that were built around AD 81 but were abandoned soon after. Threave Castle is situated near Castle Dougles was a seat of the powerful "Black" Earls of Douglas. There is a small collection of cottages developed by the shores of Carlingwark, these cottages can still be seen on the Western approach to Castle Douglas and are known as the Buchan.
Local Sights & Activities for Castle Douglas
A mile southwest of town, off the A75 or reached by the lochside road, is Threave Garden, the NTS horticultural school's magnificent floral extravaganza. The best time to visit is early spring when over 200 types of daffodils burst into bloom, but it's a very colourful experience at any time of the year. In Spring 2002 Threave House will open to the public for the first time. It will contain a horticultural implement museum. Info: Gardens open daily all year from 0930 till sunset. Visitor Centre open Mar-Good Friday Wed-Sun 1000-1600; Easter-31 Oct daily 0930-1730; Nov-Christmas Wed-Sun 1000-1600 (hours subject to change). Check times and prices for House. £5, £.4 concession. Tel 502575.
Two miles further west at Bridge of Dee, a country lane branches north (right) and leads for about a mile to the start of a footpath which takes you to the gaunt tower of Threave Castle, standing alone on an island in the middle of the River Dee. Threave was built in the 14th century by Archibald 'the grim', third Earl of Douglas, and head of the 'Black' Douglas line. The Douglases were one of Scotland's most powerful baronial families and the main line, the 'Black' Douglases, were descended from 'the Good' Sir James, trusted friend of Robert the Bruce. The outer wall of the castle was added in 1450 in an unsuccessful attempt to defend it against King James II, who was determined to break the power of the maverick Border family. The Covenanters reduced Threave to its present ruinous state in 1640, and little remains of the interior. It's a romantic ruin nevertheless, especially as you have to be ferried across to the island. It's a 10-minute walk from the car park, then ring the bell for the custodian to take you across in a small rowing boat. Info: 1 Apr-30 Sep daily 0930-1830. £2.20, concession £1.60. Tel 0131-6688800 (HS).
The A713 runs north from Castle Douglas along the shores of long and skinny Loch Ken to New Galloway. The loch is a popular watersports centre, with sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, rowing and fishing. There's also an RSPB nature reserve on the west bank, and walking trails. Loch Ken Marina, Tel 01644-470220, at the village of Parton, on the east bank eight miles north of Castle Douglas, hires motor boats for water-skiing.
It's open Easter-31 October daily 0900-1700. Galloway Sailing Centre, Tel 01644-420626, Lochken also at Parton, offers watersports tuition and hire, as well as other activities such as quad biking and gorge scrambling, and basic dormitory accommodation (F). It's open 1 April-31 October daily 0900-1900; November-March daily till 1700. Fishing permits and boats are available at the marinas and the caravan parks. The village of Parton hosts the Scottish Alternative Games on the first Sunday in August. The various traditional Scottish games include the world finals of the Gird'n'Cleek competition, whatever that may be.
Castle Douglas Events
Castle Douglas Hotels & Accommodation
There is a camping and Caravan Park near Carlingwark Loch. There are adequate Accommodation in Castle Douglasthat ranges from luxurious hotels, comfortable guest houses and Bed and Breakfast.
There's lots of Accommodation in Castle Douglas, including the Crown Hotel, Tel 502031, The Crown Hotel the pleasant Douglas Arms Hotel, Tel 502331; and Imperial Hotel, Tel 502086. All are on King St and serve decent food.
On the outskirts of Castle Douglas, set in its own grounds is the wonderful Urr Valley Hotel, a charming country house hotel. Well recommended. Late Rooms Availability for Urr Valley Hotel in Castle Douglas
There are also many good value B&Bs and guesthouses. Try Craigvar House, 60 St Andrew St, Tel 503515, open Mar-Oct; or Albion House, 49 Ernespie Rd, Tel 502360, open Feb-Oct. There are several other places to stay along Ernespie Rd. A few miles northeast of town, at Haugh of Urr, is the peaceful and attractive Corbieton Cottage, Tel 660413.
Thirteen mile south of Castle Douglas, on the A711, is the village of Auchencairn, overlooking a lovely bay. There's a range of accommodation here, including the luxurious, award-winning Balcary Bay Hotel, Tel 640217, which has an excellent restaurant.
There's also a campsite at Lochside Caravan & Camping Site, beside the loch, Tel 503806, open Easter-late Oct; and at Loch Ken Holiday Park, by the village of Parton, Tel 01644-470282, open late Mar-early Nov.
Douglas House Bed & Breakfast Luxury Bed & Breakfast in center of Castle Douglas. 4 Star accommodation with all rooms en-suite Ground floor accommodation with wheelchair access. more details about Douglas House Bed & Breakfast
Self Catering Cottages in Castle Douglas