Sunday 24th February 11 am – celebrate Valentine’s Day (belatedly) with a ride to Sweetheart Abbey. Meet on the Whitesands by Devorgilla Bridge (appropriately enough!)
New Abbey must be one of the most romantic places in Scotland. The abbey was founded by Lady Devorgilla in memory of her husband John Balliol. After his death she had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket, which she is said to have carried with her forever after, finally being buried with it on her death.
Despite a chequered history and an early demise in the 16th century, this 700 year old ruin has survived various wars to stand almost complete.The blood red sandstone and graceful architecture are nestled below the bulk of Criffel amongst green rolling hills and patches of woodland.
More to the point, there’s also a very nice tea room in the village, in the form of the Abbey Tea Rooms, and if we’re honest that’s the main attraction for the ride! There’s also plenty of quiet back roads, rolling hills, and as February eases into March – the first of the lambs to admire.
Our route is approximately 25 miles, avoiding all but a very short stretch of the A710 but instead using the Mabie Forest path and the Old Military Road, looping round past Beeswing and down into the village by the back road. It’s about 15 miles in to New Abbey and then 10 miles back so by the time we settle down for a well earned cafe stop, the bulk of the ride will be behind us.
As with all our rides, it’s as much about the journey – and the chat – as the destination. We keep the pace gentle and if need be, there are plenty of stops to admire the view … nobody gets left behind and we don’t mind a slower speed, in fact we welcome it!