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SWC300 Day Trip – Inner Solway Coastal Loop
Home » SWC300 Day Trip – Inner Solway Coastal Loop

SWC300 Day Trip – Inner Solway Coastal Loop

The South West Coastal 300 Route was designed to be savoured, not rushed. A starting point to explore Southern Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.

We hope that you will take your time exploring the main SWC route of around 312 miles then venture off route to explore the many more delights waiting for you using our series of loop routes.

The first of our SWC300 Loop Routes explores the Inner Solway Coast to the east of Dumfries using Dumfries as a base. More loops will follow as time permits.

Dumfries – Glencaple – Ruthwell – Powfoot – Annan –  Eastriggs – Gretna Green – Kirkpatrick Fleming – Ecclefechan – Lockerbie- Lochmaben – Dumfries

Distance approx. 70 miles ( excluding side trips)

SWC300 Inner Solway

South West Coastal 300
Inner Solway Loop


SWC300 Inner Solway Loop Blog

Glencaple and 14 Million Cups of Tea! (A-B)

It was a delightfully clear and sunny day in early February when we set off from the Visit Scotland Tourist Information Centre at Dumfries to explore the coast of the Solway and the many attractions along the way. After driving along the banks of the River Nith at Whitesands, we followed the B725 passing near Kingholm Quay to arrive at Glencaple which was to be our first stop of the day. The walk back to Dumfries along the banks of the Nith is delightful ( about 4 miles) and we made a note to try this another day! Glencaple itself has ample parking and delightful views. Glencaple has a hotel and The Boathouse – a recently built café, restaurant and shop. If you’re there at the right time you might just see an otter or two or a Tidal Bore.

Several benches, in the shape of the hulls of boats line the river bank near the café to commemorate Glencaple’s former importance as a port. Words and images have been made from flattened nail heads, one of which reads:- Enough tea leaves were landed here to make 14 million cups of tea!

Kirkconnel Merse or Saltmarsh on the opposite shore of the River Nith is one of the largest expanses of merse in South Scotland. It is managed by the RSPB and is home to many species of birds.

glencaple on SWC300

An interesting Information Point at Glencaple



D=SWC300 Glencaple

From the Boathouse Glencaple









Caerlaverock (C)

From Glencaple, it’s a short distance to Caerlaverock. As we approached we were delighted to hear and see large numbers of geese in flight and hundreds, or perhaps thousands more geese grazing in the fields beside the road. Caerlaverock Castle is somewhat unique in that it is triangular and dates back to the 13th Century. The castle is open every day and is managed by Historic Scotland. There is also a café on site. Nearby is Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, managed by WWT where abundant wildlife can be seen including the thousands of geese and rare natterjack toads on the salt marsh margins.

caerlaverock castle dumfries

Caerlaverock Castle on the SWC300

Sadly we didn’t have enough time to justify a visit inside the castle – something else for our next trip so we pressed onwards.

Ruthwell (D)

On the narrow road to Ruthwell, we were delighted to see snowdrops along the verges and to see the snow covered fells of the Lake District across the Solway. In common with so many surrounding places Ruthhwell is steeped in history.

The Ruthwell Cross is one of Scotland’s rarest treasures. It  is an 18 foot high preaching cross thought to date from the 8th Century. It is carved with scenes form the New Testament and was restored by Rev Henry Duncan and is now installed within Ruthwell Church and can be viewed by collecting the key from a nearby house! Rev Duncan also established the world’s first Savings Bank – the Ruthwell Parish Bank which building is now the Savings Bank Museum.

Not often you see one of these -V.R. at Ruthwell

Powfoot (E)

As we drove towards Powfoot, we were delighted to see a large herd of the iconic Belted Galloway cattle in a field near the road. Powfoot itself is on the coast of the Solway and has excellent views over to the Lakeland Fells. Blencathra was looking magnificent as it was covered in snow. Powfoot has an excellent Golf Course next to which is the Powfoot Hotel. By this time we were getting hungry and went in for a late lunch. While we had anticipated soup or a toastie, we couldn’t resist the ploughmans platter and the assiette of fish, both of which were delicious. The staff were charming, the surroundings were delightful and the views were magnificent.

swc300 powfoot

View from the Powfoot Hotel

An unusual feature of the view from Powfoot is the remains of a Victorian tidal swimming pool some distance from the shoreline. This is one only a few tidal pools remaining in the Great Britain

SWC300 Powfoot

Tidal Swimming Pool at Powfoot.

Eastriggs – The Devil’s Porridge (F)

Dragging ourselves away from Powfoot, after swearing to return, we drove through Annan, stopping to refuel our car. A visit to the recently restored Annandale Distillery is highly recommended – only a mile from the town centre. Then onward to Eastriggs, famed for its Devil’s Porridge Museum which tells the story of the enormous munitions factory HM Gretna which occupied a nine mile long site and which employed up to 12,000 women – known as The Gretna Girls. Sadly, we didn’t have time to do the museum justice – yet another place to visit when we return ( will one return trip be enough?)

SWC300 devils porridge

Window at the Devil’s Porridge


Kirkpatrick Fleming – Bruce’s Cave (H)

We didn’t have time to visit Gretna and Green (G) this time so we drove directly from Eastriggs to Kirkpatrick Fleming where we hoped to check out Bruce’s Cave. This is the famous cave where King Robert the Bruce lived for three months in 1306 to avoid capture by Edward “Longshanks”. During this time he was inspired by a spider to try again resulting in his winning the Battle of Bannockburn. However, the cave is closed until 19 April – so something else for the large list for next time!

From Kirkpatrick Fleming, our route took us through Ecclefechan to Lockerbie where we rejoined the main SWC300 Route via Lochmaben (another’s town with strong connections to King Robert the Bruce ) and back to Dumfries.

swc300 bruces cave

Bruce Statue at Bruce’s Cave Caravan Park

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