Day 176: Caerlaverock to Dumfries – Moat & Nith

Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Solway sunrise from Ward Law, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Early morning from Ward Law, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Road to Caerlaverock Nature Reserve, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

I come to dread seeing the word “merse” marked on the map,  although it’s the Scottish name for salt marsh, it begins to represent a kind of expletive to me. The merse appear to be flat and navigable until one reaches an unjumpable ditch that requires a mile or more of backtracking to passable ground.

Frozen floods, Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

It was during one such zigzag that I meet a farmer while crossing his merse, away from any path. Rather than tell me to get off his land, as would happen in England, he lets me know the easiest fences to cross and asks me if I’m alright for provisions. This is such a heartwarming encounter and one that confirms the Right to Roam is fully embraced on the ground. I leave him with a grateful wave as he returns to fixing his fences which, like many I’d seen recently, had been flattened by last weeks heavy flooding.

Caerlaverock Castle, the first of many Scottish castles I’ll be encountering over the next two years. Built in the 13th century to protect the borders region, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Carved coats of arms of the Nithsdale lodging, built 1630, within Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Sunset over Criffel and the Nith estuary, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

It looks like I’ll be giving a wash a miss today!

Making a brief stop at the mouth of the Nith before following the river to Dumfries where a proper bed awaits.

The night shift begins. With darkness falling at 4 pm I walk for at least a couple of hours in the night most days in the winter, so I don’t fall too far behind my 25km daily average.

Bliss! Haggis, neeps, tatties & whisky sauce at the Cavens Arms, Dumfries.

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British Architectural & Landscape Photographer.

16 thoughts on “Day 176: Caerlaverock to Dumfries – Moat & Nith”

  1. petejohnstone says:

    Keep going! I walked from John o’ Groats to Lands End many years ago and it is the ‘by chance’ encounters, like the friendly Scottish farmer, that really lift the spirits and stay with you a lifetime.

    • I walked from Lands End to John o’ Groats too, twenty years ago, and my life was changed by the experience. As you say it is the friendliness of strangers that make these journeys unforgettable.

  2. Beautiful work Quintin – I love Caerlaverock Castle. Such a small perfect castle that alway impresses. No matter how much you found it tough, this week would have broken your will.

    • Hi E&W, I timed it well with the weather didn’t I! All by luck rather than judgement. The castle is gorgeous and unknown to me before visiting which added to the charm.

  3. Wonderful experience. Caerlaverock is a fabulous castle – I look on it as the original Maxwell House, after the Lord who built that gorgeous Renaissance home inside its walls. When I was last there it was surrounded by randy natterjack toads, making a helluva racket.

  4. The Caerlaverock Castle is my favorite. So interesting and mysterious! I love to hear your stories and see your great photos!

Whether you have comments on the photos, some knowledge or a personal story on this area you’d like to share, or you’ve spotted a typo or error, I’d love to hear your thoughts.