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Things to do in Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway

Gatehouse of Fleet is situated in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland.

The Ship Inn and Fleet Street ©James Craig
The Ship Inn and Fleet Street © James Craig

This is a nice quiet little town located at the mouth of the River Fleet. The town itself is well placed for exploring the surrounding coast and countryside and for such a small town all the hotels and guest houses are of a very high standard.

The hotels all have restaurants which provide local fare and a wide variety of international cuisine.

The local public house the Masonic arms also as a reputation for excellent food of the highest standard.

At the far west of the town is situated Cardoness Castle which is open to the public and provides some good views from the top.

The Ship Inn ©James Craig
The Ship Inn © James Craig

When walking back towards the town from the castle, if you cross the road there is a footpath which takes you down to the side of the river and the site of Port Macadam, the harbour which once served the town.

Information boards give interesting accounts of the bygone years and goings-on in the area.

Following this path will bring you back on to the road.  If you keep heading towards the town at the bend in the road, on the right is a road called Vinnie Hill.

Walking up this road a short way you will come to a small picnic site on the right which was once the local brickwork.

The Ship Inn ©James Craig
The Ship Inn © James Craig

The place has now completely returned to nature, but a boardwalk has been installed so you can walk around the site which again contains some informative information boards.

Returning to the main road and continuing towards town you pass the fleet valley nursing home which was once the site of the old gas works a sign of the industrial past, a little further on is the Ship Hotel were Dorothy L. Sayers wrote her book, "Five Red Herrings".

Crossing the river bridge you come to the Mill on the Fleet visitor centre here you can visit various exhibitions, a book shop and tea rooms it also has a working water wheel, this building houses the information centre.

Cardoness Castle ©James Craig
Cardoness Castle © James Craig

Returning to the road on the opposite side is the local post office which is also a gift shop and tea rooms; it also gives demonstrations of kilt-making.

Continuing up the main street you will pass various shops and hotels heading toward the clock tower which stands outside the Murray Arms, the site where Robert Burns is said to have written the "Scots Wha Hae" and situated just behind the Murray Arms is the original "Gatehouse".

On the whole, this is a lovely place to stay, the locals are very nice people, the town is clean and tidy and you can do anything from fishing, bird watching, sightseeing, playing golf or just relaxing in the peace and quiet.

Description by Steve Ellison

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