250-mile “Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast” will take experienced riders on an unforgettable journey across the South of Scotland, Home of the Bike
Experienced cyclists in search of an exhilarating new challenge are in for a real treat this summer when the UK’s newest coast to coast cycle route is officially launched in the South of Scotland, Home of the Bike.
Today, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) and fellow project partners behind the eagerly anticipated Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast – one of the longest coast to coast routes in the UK – unveiled details of the route itself, from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth on Scotland’s southeast coast, with tourism businesses along the route busy making preparations to welcome new visitors to the region.
Named after Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the 19th century Dumfriesshire blacksmith who invented the first pedal-driven velocipede, the Kirkpatrick C2C will take riders on an unforgettable journey through breath-taking landscapes with dramatic coastlines and beaches, rolling hills, shimmering lochs, historic tweed mills, Victorian stone viaducts and romantic ruined abbeys all peppering the route, culminating in the picturesque harbour at Eyemouth.
Comprehensive information about and including itineraries, route maps, key landmarks and places to stay, eat, drink and visit along the Kirkpatrick C2C route will be published on a dedicated page on www.scotlandstartshere.com.
VisitScotland and Sustrans will also feature the full Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route, itineraries and daytrips on the Sustrans interactive cycling routes map hosted on visitscotland.com, easily accessible at www.visitscotland.com/cyclingroutes.
The Kirkpatrick C2C is designed to inspire experienced riders in search of a new challenge and encourages them to tackle either the 8-Day Explorer approach or the 4-day Challenger approach.
The Explorer approach takes cyclists across the country in eight stages, with daily cycling distances varying from 21 miles (Newcastleton to Hawick) to 51 miles (Dumfries to Newcastleton).
Meanwhile, the Challenger version can be done over four days, starting with a 74-mile stretch from Stranraer to the charming artists’ town of Kirkcudbright and finishing with a 59-mile ride from Selkirk to Eyemouth.
- Stranraer – Newton Stewart – 39 miles
- Newton Stewart – Kirkcudbright – 35 miles
- Kirkcudbright – Dumfries – 28 miles
- Dumfries – Newcastleton – 51 miles
- Newcastleton – Hawick – 21 miles
- Hawick – Melrose – 25 miles
- Melrose – Coldstream – 28 miles
- Coldstream – Eyemouth – 23 miles
- Stranraer – Kirkcudbright – 74 miles
- Kirkcudbright – Langholm – 69 miles
- Langholm – Selkirk – 48 miles
- Selkirk – Eyemouth – 59 miles
The official GPX map also features a number of route spurs which riders can follow to explore even more of the South of Scotland, including starting the journey from the small coastal town of Portpatrick, stopping in Galashiels to visit the Great Tapestry of Scotland and taking in the attractive Berwickshire town of Duns.
The Kirkpatrick C2C is expected to prove a huge draw for the South of Scotland when formally launched in early summer – initial projections suggest the new route could attract up to 175,000 new visitors to the region, with a direct spend of £13.7M per year.
David Hope-Jones OBE, SSDA Chief Executive, said: “In a terrific year for cycling in the South of Scotland, Home of the Bike – excitement is really building now right along the route of the Kirkpatrick C2C, one of the longest and most exciting on-road routes in the UK. Whether it’s dramatic coastlines and beaches, the creative communities of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright, the romantic ruined abbeys of the towns Melrose and Kelso, Hawick’s historic mills or Eyemouth’s harbour town with its fascinating history of smuggling and skulduggery, this route has an endless wealth of things to discover and enjoy, as well as excellent places to stay, eat and drink.
“We are working closely with businesses right along the route to help them harness the benefits of cycle tourism, which is growing all the time and set to be a major part of Scotland’s visitor economy. We’re currently hosting a series of dedicated webinars on cycle tourism for SSDA members and non-members alike to help everyone get geared up for exciting times ahead.”
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “The Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route is a fantastic opportunity for our region to maximise our growing reputation as the home of cycling.
“As we move closer to its launch, the excitement is certainly building as businesses and communities along the route recognise what economic, social and environmental benefits the new route will provide.
“The South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy, launched last year, has an overall aim to make our region the leading cycling destination in Scotland – the Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast route will play a major role in reaching this target.”
Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director, said: “The Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast cycle route, is a fantastic addition to the region’s already strong cycling offer.
“The opening of this route comes at an exciting time for cycling in Scotland as we count down to hosting the biggest cycling event in the world, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, including events in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway.
“We would encourage tourism businesses in the South of Scotland to make the most of this unique opportunity. There has never been a better time to experience cycling in Scotland. With new cycling initiatives and experiences being created right across the country, such as the Kirkpatrick C2C, promoting cycling and helping businesses cater for this growing market will benefit communities right across the region and beyond.”
Businesses along the Kirkpatrick C2C route are gearing up for an influx of new visitors in the months ahead:
Romano Petrucci, Chairman of the Stranraer Development Trust, said: “We are delighted and excited to have been chosen as the starting point for the KC2C experience. Our hope is that visitors and cyclists alike will take time to explore our hidden gem here in the south-west corner of Scotland, and we are very confident they will love what they see and look to return again and again.”
Ross Anderson of The Frothy Bike Co. bike shop and cafe in Dumfries said: “We’re all set to welcome riders and non-riders alike for the Kirkpatrick C2C. With the best coffee and cake in town – what more do you want when you’re taking a break on an epic coast-to-coast adventure? There are only a few weeks to go until the route is formally launched and we can’t wait!”
Barbara Elborn of Newcastleton Community Trust and Newcastleton Bunkhouse said: “Our community was made for this – Newcastleton has everything a saddle-weary rider needs for the perfect stop-off or overnight stay, from secure bike storage and charger facilities to cooking and laundry facilities. There is a feast of fabulous local eateries along the route through the village and handily the community bunkhouse is also only a hop, skip and a jump from them too! It’s going to be a game-changer for us having this new route right on our doorstep.”
Fiona Drane, Project Manager at Famously Hawick, said: “Hawick is home to three iconic Scottish luxury brands – Cashmere, Tweed, and Whisky. It is home to the oldest cycling club in the world which was established in 1881. Hawick has also been the start of the Scottish section of the Tour of Britain in the last two years and cycling is more popular than ever. We are therefore delighted that the new Kirkpatrick Coast to Coast route will come through Hawick, and we look forward to welcoming cyclists to the Cashmere, Tweed and Whisky Town.”
MORE ABOUT THE KIRKPATRICK C2C ROUTE
The South of Scotland surprises at every turn and the Kirkpatrick C2C truly capitalises on the stunning local landscapes.
Starting in Stranraer on the hammerhead peninsula known as the Rhins of Galloway, the cycle route takes riders not only through local landscapes along beaches, forests, and into our hills but on a journey through history. Dumfries & Galloway is the Home of the Bike – the first pedal-driven bicycle, the Velocipede, was invented here – and the local roads have been a destination for keen cyclists for years. Furthermore, cyclists travel along local coastlines and through picturesque villages with unique stories. From Scotland’s official Book Town, Wigtown, to the colourful Artists’ Town of Kirkcudbright and the Food Town of Castle Douglas.
Moving eastwards, riders can stop to follow in the footsteps of Robert Burns in Dumfries. Travelling even further back in time, cyclists will find themselves riding through ancient Reiver country, places haunted by bloody history of warring families. Fortified towers such as Gilnockie Tower near Langholm and the imposing ruin of Hermitage Castle looming over the landscape.
But even here cycling enjoys a long history, from the cycle-friendly town of Newcastleton to the world’s oldest cycling club in Hawick.
Heading west, the romantic ruins of the Borders Abbeys evoke past splendour, and the gentle flow of the River Tweed and the town of Hawick tell of the textile weaving heritage still alive today.
Traversing the rolling hills of the Borders, the route passes vibrant towns like Kelso, home to Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, Floors. Towards the Berwickshire coast, Scotland’s first voluntary marine reserve, beaches and coastal paths invite successful finishers to stay for a few more days.