Woodland & Wonderful Walks – Cairnhead Striding Arches & Crawick Multiverse

One of the many questions we get asked a lot at Trigony is “what is there to do”?, and we reply “lots!”.

If you are looking for something “a bit different” then a trip to Trigony is not complete without visiting two local attractions, Striding Arches by famed international architectural artist Andy Goldsworthy and Crawick Multiverse by landscape architect and garden designer Charles Jencks.

Andy Goldsworthy has made his home in Dumfries for over twenty years and celebrates this area of Scotland in his work. So it may be no surprise that his project Striding Arches seeks to explore the connection between Dumfries and Galloway’s history and its connection with its people, land and global exploration of the local population beyond their native lands in the Scottish diaspora. Phew! that’s quite an ambitious project.

With arches installed in Canada, the US and New Zealand Goldsworthy establishes a link between the homelands of the Scots and their new homes by using Dumfries sandstone as his medium and the setting as his frame.

‘The stone is a potent symbol of the Scots who went abroad,’ says Goldsworthy, ‘of the tremendous upheaval they made, or were forced to make, when they left Scotland…”

Andy made every effort to ensure that the arches were all visible no matter which arch you were standing under. Forging an intangible link between each site, just as those who went in search of a new life in the colonies remained bound to the land of their forefathers.

Cairnhead Community Forest Trust’s choice of location has given the natural amphitheatre at Cairnhead a sense of otherworldly space, using the natural, locally quarried sandstone to frame the visitors experience. Giving the visitor a timeless quality, a place where time stops, allowing you to ponder the scenery, the geography and your place in it.

A heady mix and any walk that encompasses all three arches will definitely raise a good appetite, and once you are up on the wide open landscape you’ll want to contemplate your existence accompanied by a packed lunch of locally sourced produce. Home made bread, locally smoked salmon and perhaps some local venison ham as well as our delicious home made short bread.

There’s something very comforting about these arches and it is worth taking a whole day to experience the tranquillity of the setting and the natural peace of the place. Even Roxy our inimitable Golden Retriever becomes pensive and thoughtful, remaining a close companion whenever we venture to the area located near Moniaive. Exploring but never straying too far, it’s a really dog friendly day out & makes a very nice walk with one’s four legged companion.

The walk starts from “The Byre” an old stone bothy from which one of the arches springs forth like a powerful beam of energy leading you from “home” into the great unknown. As you walk from this location you climb up through the forest and emerge on a hilltop ridge where you discover the second arch known as the Colt Hill Arch. The final arch, the Benbrack Arch is located on Bail Hill which will test your legs, but the view is unbelievable and on a clear day you are rewarded by breathtaking views in all directions.

Of course you don’t have to visit all the arches in one day, and as you can see all the arches from each arch’s location you may well be content with a walk from The Byre to either of the other Arches (leave something for when you return!).

For more information and a map of the Striding arches feel free to download our Dumfries & Galloway Visitors Guide here

The Crawick Multiverse (Crawick, pronounced ‘Croik’) is another land art project near Sanquar, Dumfires and Galloway and was only opened at the end of June 2015. The location is on the site of an old open cast coal mine and is Charles Jencks’ largest work in the UK. Jencks is no stranger to the area with his “Garden of Cosmic Speculation” situated at his home in Portrack House a garden inspired by science and maths, this is not usually open to the public except for one day a year so having the Multiverse to visit all year round gives you a great reason to come visit Trigony at any time of year.

The site is again a natural amphitheatre of rolling hills giving rise to spectacular views from the installations at Crawick and the “Northpoint” offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view (for all the photographers out there!) that stretches for over 20 miles in all directions. It’s worth a trip for that alone as the local scenery is stunning whatever time of year you chose to visit us.

Charles Jencks has created various landforms to represent cosmological forms using materials found on site and offers various walks for all sorts of legs, the “High road” offering the more energetic a chance to experience that panoramic view and the “low road” for those who prefer a slightly more gentle amble.

Whatever you choose you will not be disappointed as the Crawick Multiverse is a great day out, and combines a walk with an experience, good views and memories that will stay with you long after the ache in your legs has been forgotten.

For more information and a map of the “things to do” feel free to download our Dumfries & Galloway Visitors Guide here

We truly believe Trigony is the perfect place to launch yourself into the local area and discover these gems, and others, and then return for a repast and reflection on the days events. We look forward to making you welcome!

If you need some location information please use these for your Sat Nav.

Striding Arches – The Byre
Southern Upland Way, Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway DG3 4NN

Crawick Multiverse
Dumfries and Galloway, Upper Nithsdale
25 miles north of Dumfries, the postcode is DG4 6ET

Parking is available on both sites.

Striding Arches 01 Cairnhead Forest, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Crawick Multiverse South Line - Upper Nithsdale
Crawick Multiverse & Galaxies Upper Nithsdale