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Take in the beauty of Scotland’s south-west coast with a car hire to drive through Dumfries and Galloway. Sometimes overlooked in favour of the drama of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland’s Southern Uplands are well worth visiting for a quieter and more peaceful country drive.
Home to some of the highest Scottish peaks outside the Highlands, the Southern Uplands offer a surprisingly wild slice of countryside for those unfamiliar with the region. Peaks like Merrick, White Coomb, and Corserine all rise above 800m, and provide their share of drama from the roadside. The area also has a long coast line replete with numerous rocky coves and tranquil beaches.
As Dumfries and Galloways is a large and relatively sparsely populated part of Scotland it is the perfect place to enjoy by road. You’ll find little traffic on most of the roads, with the exception of the A75. The A75 is the main arterial route and stretches from Gretna Green by the border with England to Portpatrick on the Rhins of Galloway peninsula. Yet even this road is far quieter than the motorways further north in central Scotland.
No visit to the area is complete without a visit to the town of Dumfries, the largest in the region. Most famous as the hometown of Robert Burns, Dumfries boasts a long and colourful history stretching back to the 1150s. The town museum is housed in the bridge over the River Nith and chronicles the town’s past.
From Dumfries the A710 takes you on a scenic trip southwards the Solway Firth estuary. The area is also home to the striking summit of Criffell, which affords excellent views over the Lake District in England and across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man. From here the road loops round the coast and heads back north up to the small town of Dalbeattie and towards Castle Douglas. If you fancy, you can then drive along the edge of Loch Ken, a nine-mile long freshwater loch.
At the head of the loch is New Galloway which takes you west through the southern edges of the Galloway Forest Park. It won't be long until you will reach the picturesque town of Newton Stewart known as the "Gateway to the Galloway Hills". There are plenty of attractive walks to enjoy in this part of the world and a cycle path that takes you past Merrick and the other Galloway Hills.
The A75 runs through Newton Stewart and takes you the rest of the way across Galloway past the towns of Gatehouse of Fleet and Wigtown, the latter famous for its popular book festival. The A75 ends at Stranraer on Loch Ryan which acts as a transport hub due to its train station and proximity to the ferry terminal at Cairnryan.
After you've reached this point, you can take the car down the Rhins of Galloway on the A716 and B7065 towards Scotland’s most southerly spot at the Mull of Galloway - home to a light house and popular coffee shop. This cliff top location offers stunning views across the water. On a clear day you can even see England, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Ireland.
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