Caerlaverock Castle is one of my favourite Scottish castles. I like it because it is an unusual triangular shape and is also one of the few castles with a mote round it with water. Many castles only have dry motes.
Travelling to Caerlaverock
The Castle is south of Dumfries, near the Solway Firth and is an enjoyable journey there. Cyclists will enjoy the ride to the castle as the road is almost traffic-free, except for the occasional car and is reasonably flat as well. There are also great views of the Solway to enjoy on the journey there and back.
However, living near Glasgow, the castle is about an 160 mile round trip and is too far to cycle in one day. The solution is to take the folding bikes on the Stagecoach X74 bus from Glasgow and cycle to the castle from Dumfries.
Stagecoach buses are great to travel on with because they allow fold-up bikes to be carried without any problem. I wish other bus companies were as forward-thinking as Stagecoach.
Cycling to Caerlaverock
The bus terminates at Whitesands in Dumfries and the journey commences south by bicycle. The road is very quiet and reasonably flat, although there are some steep parts and it does become a single-track road before Glencaple. However, some of the cars which passed us were travelling at high speeds so some concentration is required.
The route taken to the castle was through Glencaple and along the Shore Road. The tide was out when we passed, but the scenery was still superb and added to the enjoyment of the day.
In the distance the castle can be seen and a sign clearly marks the small access road leading to it. This 13th century castle is well worth a visit because it is situated in unspoilt countryside reminiscent of medieval times and has a double moat, one of which is still filled with water.
The Castle in Detail
Two curtain walls are almost intact, as are the three towers and the remains of very sophisticated courtyard residences built by the first Earl of Nithsdale around the 1600’s.
The castle has had many modifications made to it since it was originally built and ownership has passed between Scottish and English hands a number of times. At present it is owned and maintained by Historic Scotland.
In the visitor centre a video details how the castle was captured by King Edward l of England in 1300. It took 3000 of King Edwards men to defeat 60 Scots who were defending the castle, such was its defensive capabilities.
Internally, the remains of many of the rooms such as fireplaces, stairs and floors can be seen. Externally, it is still an impressive building and it is worth walking round it to get different views from the outside. Spending time walking round it to get a look at it from all angles.
A pathway leads to the the old castle, but sadly there is not much left of it now.
Facilities at Caerlaverock
Regarding facilities, the castle has a well stocked shop with nice gifts and a tearoom which serves a a variety of meals and snacks.
Caerlaverock Castle is worthwhile place to visit, especially by bike.
Address: Caerlaverock Castle, Glencaple, Dumfries DG1 4RU.