Dumfries and Galloway

National Poetry day

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I just heard that it is National Poetry day and the theme this year  is stars!

That got me thinking, and thinking, and thinking….. So, whilst cooking Spaghetti Bolognese for our dinner tonight I came up with a little poem of my own! Silly I know!

Quite appropriate really as the theme this year is stars as Dumfries and Galloway is home to some of the darkest skies in Europe including the first dark sky park at the Galloway Forest.  It is more than 70 times darker than Edinburgh.There are very few places where the Milky way can be viewed in all its glory and this is one.

Where we are, on the west coast of the Rhins of Galloway, there are very low levels of light pollution. Usually the only lights you see are 20 miles across the water in Ireland.


Stood outside on the decking at Kirklauchline cottage on a clear evening there are hundreds of stars that can be viewed with the naked eye. You need to wrap up warm and take out a hot mug of hot chocolate to keep you warm then gaze up into the sky. It takes your eyes a little while to adapt but it won’t take long. We have been lucky enough to see the Milky way, Meteor showers and lots of constellations. Truly amazing.

Images supplied by Derek Beattie Images

Dates for your diary:

21/22nd October2012 – The Orionids meteor shower. Lasts for a whole week late October. The meteors appear from the Orion constellation.

17/18 November 2012 – Leonids meteor shower. The moon is not visible during the showers peak so you will see lots of the meteors zipping around the sky.

13/14th December 2012 – The Geminids. This was the first Meteor shower we had ever seen and it was amazing! These move slowly so you see lots of them.

1-5th January 2013 – The Quadrantids, easily visible meteor shower that occurs each January.


Anyway, here’s what you have been awaiting, my poem!!!!

Be sure to come visit us in Dumfries & Galloway
If you’d love to stargaze and take in the Milky Way.
Wrap up warm, step out at night
And you will experience a wonderful sight
Thousands of stars are here on full view
Polaris, the Plough to name but a few
Twinkling stars as far as the eye can see
With meteor showers to fill you with glee
So make your next trip to enjoy our dark skies
Come along and experience our wonderful surprise.

Told you it was silly!

At Kirklauchline cottage we have autumn and winter availability:

14th November 2012 – 4,5,6,7,8 or 9 nights – come and see the Leonids

1st December 2012 – 4,5,6 or 7 nights

15th December 2012 – 4,5 or 6 nights


Galloway Night sky image – Supplied by Derek Beattie








Portpatrick Dog friendly accommodation

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm


Hello, woofly to meet you. For those of you who don’t already know me I am Abii Doodle, some would say the spoilt Labradoodle from Kirklauchline Cottage, I would say the boss around here!

I decided to take over from Mum and write this blog for all my four legged K9 friends (she has lost her inspiration at the moment and is too busy looking after those feathered things and those darn cats!).

We accepted dogs at Kirklauchline cottage right from the start of self catering holiday letting, at my insistence, of course! Since then we have had lots of dogs staying with us enjoying all the things here, in the Rhins of Galloway that I can enjoy everyday. We have had big dogs, small dogs, fluffy dogs, skinny dogs, old dogs and even Labradoodles!

We moved here from Yorkshire 2 years ago and I lead a very different life now, it is so different to living in a busy city.

Before we moved here we used to visit the area as much as we could and love this part of Scotland. I will be 7 years old at Christmas by the way and have spent most of my doggy life between Yorkshire and Scotland, I travel well and have the whole of the back seat of the car to myself.

So here is my official guide to places to visit, run, splash, bark, enjoy, chew bones and relax around Portpatrick and the Rhins of Galloway.





Beaches – Where do I start! I am so lucky to live here with so many wonderful beaches right on the doorstep. The beach at Ardwell Bay is 5 miles away from Kirklauchline cottage. Down a bit of a bumpy track to the car park. Once you arrive there you can park up and head out of the car, across the dunes and onto the golden sand. The beach there is huge, sandy, soft and quiet. There’s hardly ever anyone else there so it is a fantastic place to run and dip into the surf. For those of you who know me well you will know I don’t do water! Water is for drinking and that’s it! I have seen some K9 friends in the Sea there, having a great time swimming around. I would love to join them but just can’t bring myself to take the plunge!

Sandhead beach is a vast beach, of around 7 miles it is a great place to run and splash afterwards mum and dad can enjoy lunch or a drink at The Tigh na Mara, where I am allowed in the public bar or can sit “Al fresco” in the garden at the back. There’s also a shop and post office in the village so if your significant humans forget any of your treats they can stock up on Bonio whilst they are there!

Not far from there is Port Logan, another of my favourites. That beach is massive and I mean massive, lots of golden sand and lots of places to run. Afterwards your humans can visit the fish at the unique Logan Fish Pond. Doggy friends have to wait outside, you don’t want your nose biting off by a huge cod do you!

Larbrax and Killantringan beach are near Portpatrick and as soon as we head down the farm track I start to get so excited as I know where we are heading. When the tide is out this beach is bigger than massive it’s huge and woofly gorgeous! Such a doggy paradise. Each time I go to that beach I come home with a ball! I find tennis balls, footballs, rubber balls, all sorts! They must wash up from Ireland. I love that beach. Sometimes mum and dad take a flask of soup down there and sit on the rocks, we have a lovely time.


There are so many others, far too many to name them all. Mum has a map in Kirklauchline cottage and she has drawn an arrow on each beach. No restrictions here at any time of the year. No dog free beach zones. It is Doggy paradise.


Gardens – In the Rhins of Galloway there are six gardens. K9 friends are allowed, on a lead, to Ardwell Gardens, Castle Kennedy Gardens and Glenwhan Gardens. Ardwell has a great walk around the pond, with lots of wildlife to see and lovely views. A handy tip though, beware the grass! I got swallowed up by the grass the last time I went there and ended up shoulder deep in the small pond, dad had to rescue me and all mum could do was laugh! She had a lot of making up to do! Castle Kennedy has miles and miles of walks and as long as I’m on the lead I can enjoy it with mum and dad too and enjoy drinks and cake after our walk – yummy.


Some local places to eat also allow dogs. In Portpatrick dogs are welcome in The Crown, they serve great food, have hand pulled beer and a lovely log fire (our latest doggy guest enjoyed eating crisps in there so I hear!). They even provide dogs with a bowl of fresh water. For those who prefer the fresh air there’s lots of seating outside too, right opposite the sea. The Waterfront also welcomes Dogs in the bar and their outdoor seating area also with a bowl of fresh water.

The Mount Stewart has a lovely Log burning fire and is happy to accept well behaved dogs. They have a lovely elevated outdoor seating area too where you can look down across the village and the sea. Great food and local beer and a fresh bowl of water. My friend , Fudge, went there at Christmas and was given a huge bowl of Turkey trimmimgs!


Walks, lots of them. I’m shattered some days! Theres lots of coastal walks- the start of the Southern Upland way is in Portpatrick and there are some lovely bays along the way. Dogs need to be kept on the lead but there’s so much to see and to breath in the fresh air. Dunskey Glen walk is another great walk from Dunskey farm and also the walk up the steep cliff side up to Dunskey castle is well worth a visit. There are great walks around the Mull of Galloway and RSPB reserve too.  Drummore to Maryport walk along the coast path via Cailiness Point is worth a visit. You park beyond the coastguard cottages at Drummore, walk on the path or along the beach, the sands at low tide are doggytastic.

From the doorstep at Kirklauchline there is one of my favourite walks – it is around 1.6 miles and is a circular walk door to door. Mum keeps me on the lead until we are passed the fields with the cows in but then after that I can run. Part of the walk is on the road (no traffic I might add) so I am on the lead for that bit too. I sometimes go on that walk with my friends Razzle and Fleck, springer Spaniels that live close by.


There’s a pet shop in Stranraer that sells all sorts of doggy treats – food, treats, toys, coats, leads, anything really. If you fancy a new jazzy collar that’s the place to go! another one opens for business this weekend too – , visit them too on Facebook.


The Vets in Stranraer are very good. I always get very nervous when I go there but they always give me Gravy Bones so it’s worth it! I once had to go on Christmas day as I was poorly and they sorted me out and made me feel better, I slept all day, a bit like dad after his dinner and drinks!


At Kirklauchline cottage we cater well for dogs we have a bath in the shed to wash dirty sandy feet! We leave a bowl of fresh drinking water for new arrivals and have a supply of poo bags. Dogs do need to bring their own beds, towels and toys, I draw the line at sharing mine. Our garden is fully secure and enclosed, as long as you close the gates, and the decking is a relaxing place to chill out after a hard day walking and splashing about.  Then the log burner inside is just amazing, get dad to light it as the sun goes down and dogs make sure you get prime position right in front of it, you wont be disappointed!










Finally there is a new Dog walking and boarding service opened at Kirklauchline Croft, just across the field from here (relocated from Blackpool). If anyone fancies bringing their dog on holiday but needs their dog looking after for some of the time during the holiday then please contact Lehla at Happy Paws to arrange this. Perhaps your dog is a little bit older and can’t manage all the miles of coastal walks on offer here. Let them relax with Lehla instead. is also on Facebook so please visit their page and see their great pictures and posts.


Hope you enjoyed my first ever doggy blog and remember you can follow me on twitter   or mum is and on facebook we are also .

So pooches give your owners a nudge, point them towards my blog and tell them you want to run on unrestricted beaches here in the Rhins of Galloway so they must pander to your every need and bring you on holiday. Visit us here in South West scotland and surPAWs yourself!

Our latest guests said “as long as your dog is well behaved and under your control, you’re welcome in most places – very nice too”.

Anyway, snooze time for me now and I will leave you with some pictures of my Doggy friends who have visited Kirklauchline Cottage.












From the raised decking area there are views across farmland to the Irish Sea




Inspired by Gold in South West Scotland

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm

As we are drawing to the close of the London 2012 Olympics and our athletes have done so well gaining all the medals I thought I would go for Gold here in the Rhins of Galloway!

Gold in a different sort of way though!

My Gold here is the Gold of the sunsets and I am using this blog to show you some of my pictures of typical Rhins of Galloway skies and sunsets.

We do have the most amazing landscape here and, together with our clear skies it is an amazing place to be. The sky is so blue and clear during the day and when the sun is going down it just comes alive with colour. The picture above shows the sunset from only a few nights ago (August 2012) and is the view across the water from the North Rhins with Ireland in view and the Mull of Kintyre – stunning, don’t you think?

I really can understand why the BBC chose to film “2000 acres of sky “ here. We really do have 2000 acres of sky.

This is the view from the cliff tops near Kirklauchline Cottage, on a clear day you can see right down to the Mull of Galloway and beyond to the Isle of Man. So blue and so clear.

This weekend we are watching our Dark Skies here in the Rhins, when the sun goes down and the blazing colour fades we have clear starry skies. We are now able to watch the latest meteor shower, the Perseid meteor shower with over 60 meteors an hour! Last night we were outside on the decking, it was so clear we could see the Milky way, numerous Satellites and the ISS. At around 11.30 the Meteors started flying around, it was amazing! They are due tonight too but it is a little cloudier, still it won’t stop us heading outside to see if we can catch them.

The Galloway Forest is one of the best places for star gazing in the world. It was the first Dark Sky Park in the UK, as announced by the International Dark Sky Association.

Useful Dark Sky web sites:






So there you have our little bit of Gold in the Rhins of Galloway in South West Scotland. Well done to all our London 2012 Athletes you have done your country proud. Fingers crossed for meteors tonight too.

Karen Appleyard Photography Visits Kirklauchline Cottage…

Posted on July 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

This weekend we sadly had to say goodbye to Karen, Andy and Basil Appleyard as their two week holiday with us here in the Rhins of Galloway had drawn to a close.

I first got to know Karen and Basil via Twitter ( and ) and and the interactions were mainly focused around Scotland, Poodles and Photography! I was delighted when Karen asked about availability for a holiday at Kirklauchline cottage and was so excited that I was actually going to meet them in person.

As you probably already know, Karen, Andy and Basil have decided that Dumfries and Galloway will become their new home so I have met Karen briefly before when she came up for a flying visit to look around, alas though Basil stayed at home.  Anyway, now having spent two weeks here I think they have decided and settled on a decision to make the Rhins of Galloway their relocation from Yorkshire. I have never known guests at Kirklauchline cottage explore the area so much – they must be shattered now they are back in Yorkshire and ready for another holiday!

When they first arrived with us on 30th June Abiidoodle and I waited to greet them, we showed them around Kirklauchline cottage, the sun was shining and the views of the sparkling blue sky were beautiful (just the sort of day I like when new guests are arriving). Abii and McBasil (as he was called at this stage, after setting foot on Scottish soil) exchanged sniffs and there were two very waggy tails!

The next few days the weather was not too good, fine drizzle and mist! not the weather for enjoying the wonderful outdoors here and the views! Nevertheless,that did not stop them from getting out and about and exploring local areas such as Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, Port William, South Ayrshire and more!

Then just as I ordered the sun came out, the blue sky returned and the cliff top views were back!

During the two weeks we met Karen, Andy and McBasil a couple of times – firstly in Portpatrick, where we sat and chatted outside The Waterfront Hotel and Restaurant and as it was a Thursday the RNLI Portpatrick Lifeboat was heading out for their practice session.(A great sight to see Thursday evenings at 7pm and Sundays at 1pm) That evening at The Waterfont passed so quickly, we never stopped talking! McBasil was after a Burger but did not get one as he had already been out for lunch with Karen and Andy to Coreswall Lighthouse in the North of The Rhins.

Karen and I kept in touch via Facebook whilst they were staying with us and the day before they were due to go home we met at Knockinaam Lodge for lunch. Karen and I had a wander down to the private beach there, which was stunning and so peaceful.  The men (including McBasil) joined us for a drink in the beautiful gardens, where you could sit for hours and enjoy the silence. When our meals were ready we went inside the Hotel and into the small, cosy bar area. The food was beautifully prepared and delicious – can you believe I had Pizza! it was posh Pizza though made with goats cheese – delicious. All four of us finished off with an equally delicious Strawberry parfait! I would highly recommend Knockinaam Lodge for lunch or dinner especially if you want to treat yourselves and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There’s a lot of history about the place too, Winston Churchill spent a lot of time at Knockinaam Lodge during the second world war and departed from Stranraer in a Boeing Flying Boat on the night of the 25 June 1942, when making his second visit of the war to the USA. The largest room in the Hotel is “The Churchill Room” and is where he actually stayed.

After lots more chatting about poodles, Scotland, photography, houses and more it was sadly time to say our goodbyes! Karen, Andy and McBasil returned back to Kirklauchline to prepare for their Saturday morning departure back to Yorkshire in order to continue with their plans to move north to the beautiful Rhins of Galloway.

After our sad goodbyes the postman arrived with…. a postcard from Karen, Andy and McBasil. Belted Galloways on the front (a subject of many of our chats!) and the first line reading “Having a couple of weeks stay at the most lovely cottage of Kirklauchline! You really must try it sometime!”

Karen left a great testimonial in our guest book, two new bird feeders full of bird seed and more feathered visitors in the garden than I have ever seen before!

I was really taken by surprise when I read the Karen Appleyard Blog about their two weeks at Kirklauchline and really honoured that Karen had taken time to write it. Read it for yourself and see some of the great pictures she has taken with her iphone. The Nikon pictures, I am told, will be available on the Karen Appleyard photography web site very soon for purchase. I will certainly be purchasing a few of her prints, some to put on the walls at Kirklauchline cottage and others to put on my wall at home too. She truly is a talented photographer.

To conclude this blog I would like to say that we started letting Kirklauchline Cottage as a holiday let late 2010 and have welcomed lots of guests from all over the country and europe since then. Some we never get the opportunity to meet, others we do. Something I can say is that some of our guests have become friends and, along our way, we have met some wonderful people who have come to stay with us. Karen, Andy and McBasil have become great friends and is really looking forward to seeing McBasil again soon and I am sure will be keeping in touch with him on Twitter until the next time! So watch out for their interactions!




Celebrating Dumfries and Galloways Food and drink – Flavour fortnight

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Flavour Fortnight runs from 25th August to 9th September 2012

It is said to be one of Scotland’s most exciting food festivals

This is a 16 day food and drink festival and is the best possible way of discovering the food, drink and flavours of Dumfries and Galloway.

There’s a wide range of opportunities for you to find out more about the food and drink in this area and to sample it too…. more importantly! From Beltie Beef to Real ale to relishes and Chutneys, tartan chocolate, Sausages, Fudge, Cheese and lots more.

There are Markets, dining occasions and many many people passionate about Dumfries and Galloway produce. This event is organised by Savour the Flavours, which is Dumfries and Galloways organisation for local food and drink.

It just so happens that here at Kirklauchline cottage we have had a cancellation  and now have availability from 1st September to 15th September – an ideal time to catch Flavour fortnight here in Dumfries and Galloway.

We are ideally situated to go along and enjoy the Lochinch Castle Food and Drink Festival, Castle Kennedy, near Stranraer on 2nd September from 10am until 4pm where there will be a wide range of stalls  including home baking, cakes, pork, bacon, beef, cheeses, real ales, jams and chutneys, fruit and vegetables. I can personally say that the stalls there will be fantastic There will be taster sessions, samples and demonstrations. I think I may go there too myself, it sounds too good to miss!

Here are a full list of events all across the Dumfries and Galloway region celebrating Flavour Fortnight available to visit and enjoy.


It is also important that I tell you the remaining dates for the popular Portpatrick Farmers Market. They are:

Sunday 15th July, 19th August, 16th September and 16th December.

Each event is in Portpatrick Village Hall, near the harbour between 1pm and 4pm. There’s free ample parking in the village and its free entry in to the market too. Everything you find here is locally produced and delicious and you can even sit and relax with a cream tea.

So if I have tempted you along  to Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway for Flavour Fortnight then please get in touch for full details of Kirklauchline Cottage and how to book.






Portpatrick Lifeboat week 2012

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm


Well, that’s it for another year. Portpatrick RNLI Lifeboat week has now ended after a mixed week of weather, great too that the Harbour works and the new pontoon were completed in time to improve the launch times of the Lifeboat.

The week long event started last Sunday with the Rib raid from Ireland. It was a beautiful sunny day here in the Rhins of Galloway and the crowds were out to see the Ribs arriving into the harbour.








The Village was buzzing with people and the atmosphere was fantastic. The crowds were sat outside The Crown, The Waterfront and the Harbour House enjoying lunch, the sunshine and a few drinks. Smugglers cove, Port Pantry and Lighthouse Pottery gift shops were busy with people browsing their lovely ranges of gifts, things for the home and Jewellery.



During the week there was live music from Elvis (yes, I said Elvis!) and Life O’ Reilly, family events such as “Catch the crab competition”, Race night, Treasure Hunt, Pet show, fun run and even “Portpatricks got talent”! ( I might add that I did not enter!), Golf competitions at the Portpatrick Dunskey golf course and lots more.

I took a trip into the village to watch the Raft Race. It was looking pretty doubtful during Friday afternoon as the weather was not too good but the sun came out and with it came the crowds. As ever, it was a great fun event to watch, not sure how I would feel about participating though, looked pretty arduous and cold to me! The teams have to row their raft from Portpatrick beach into the harbour and back again, the first team to run and put their flag into the container on the beach wins. Rafts are sponsored by local businesses and teams are made up of 6 people. Anyone fancy it next year?















Saturday , for me was change over day at Kirklauchline cottage so I was busy getting the cottage prepared for our new guests arriving. I got finished in time to head into Portpatrick again for the HM Coastguard and RNLI Lifeboat demonstrations. Always a great event to watch. Whilst some areas had rain we had sunshine with a few spots of rain but nothing to worry about. It certainly didn’t affect the turn out.  Just as the Portpatrick Lifeboat was about to start the demonstration and minutes before the Royal Navy Helicopter arrived they were called out to a real life emergency so off they went.

The Royal Navy arrived and Stranraer inshore Lifeboat demonstrated the air sea rescues along side them and what a fantastic display it was.

A new event for this year was the Newfoundland Dog Sea rescue demonstration on the beach. Beautiful dogs that gave us a wonderful demonstration of safety at sea.


The Royal Navy Helicopter landed near The Portpatrick Hotel after the demonstration and luckily enough I had parked near there so I was fortunate enough to get up close to it and stand there whilst it took off again. Abiidoodle was not too sure about the big red noisy bird though!

Enough excitement was had for one afternoon, just enough time to go home, empty the car, put the washing machine on, feed the cats and Abii doodle, put the hens to bed then off again to the finale of the whole event – the Portpatrick Lifeboat week crew BBQ, bonfire and Firework display (and I do believe Elvis made yet another appearance!).

Again , Portpatrick was so busy for this popular annual event. We parked near The Portpatrick hotel and walked down the cliff path to the village. The sun was just starting to fade and Portpatrick looked beautiful.

We had a Hot Dog cooked by the RNLI crew, very tasty! and mingled with the crowds. There were lots of families there and the children were running around with glow sticks waiting for it to get dark. At this point we decided a trip to Portpatrick would not be complete without a drink so headed to The Crown! Life O’ Reilly were just setting up for live music and it was standing room only. The sun was going down and the atmosphere fantastic.

Then the grand finale of a very successful and busy Lifeboat week for 2012. The Bonfire and amazing fireworks display.

All in all, a brilliant annual event in South West Scotland and for a very worthwhile cause – Lifeboats – The RNLI the charity that saves lives at sea.

So, see you here next year, same time same place?

Don’t forget RNLI Park Fest in Stranraer  August 17th and 18th – I do believe one of the band members from the Bay City Rollers will be performing!
















Other news…….

And, of course we now have the new Lifeboat too “The John Buchanan Barr” and the naming ceremony was watched by crowds on 26th May 2012. Click here to watch a video of the naming ceremony.

The Duke of Kent visited the Portpatrick Lifeboat station  on 25th May.













Gardens in the Rhins of Galloway

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Today has been another lovely day here in the Rhins of Galloway. It was looking a bit doubtful first thing but we got our blue sky and sunshine eventually. The blue sky and potting a palm for the garden inspired me to tell you about our gardens in the Rhins of Galloway.

You probably won’t realise but the Rhins of Galloway at the far South West of Scotland is a hammerhead penninsula stretching 25 miles from north to south with over 50 miles of coastline. Due to the seas surrounding the land the Rhins sees a significant effect of the  North Atlantic drift which ensures that the land maintains a stable temperature. Severe frosts are few and this allows the Rhins Gardens to grow numerous tropical palms and flora which otherwise could not exist this far north.

Guess what? We have six beautiful Gardens within the Rhins and a seventh Wetland Garden too. What other area can boast that fact in such a small area.

So here goes! We have Logan Botanic Gardens at Port Logan, which is said to be the country’s most exotic garden. Warmed by the gulf stream palms and tropical plants and flourish here. Open daily from 15th March until 31st October you really need to set aside a good half day to explore this garden thoroughly. The last time I went I ran out of time so a trip back there is necessary! There are lots of events for all the family throughout the season and the Potting Shed Bistro supplies a lovely lunch or snack. Visit The discovery centre to learn more about the gardens and the history.

Logan House Gardens opened to the public in 2002. This is a tranquil Victorian garden with lawns and woodland areas. Rhododendrons take centre stage in March, April and May followed by Azalea. Logan House Garden features seven United Kingdom and fourteen Scottish champions trees and don’t miss the Monkey Puzzle Avenue.

Ardwell Gardens surrounds an 18th century country estate house and here you can see the most stunning views across Luce bay. The walled garden grows a wide range of summer bedding plants and produce including potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and other seasonal treats, all available for visitors to buy. Woodland walks and a walk around the Lake here are not to be missed (allow at least half an hour for the Lakeside walk – you need to keep stopping to take in the wonderful views and surroundings).

Dunskey Gardens, near Portpatrick is a spectacular garden with walled and woodland gardens, lochs and stunning Victorian glasshouses. There is a tour of the gardens each Wednesday at 11.30 with the gardener, a hedge maze great fun for the kids (my niece loved it!), a lovely tea room with some fantastic murals painted on the walls as well as delicious food. There are a small selection of plants to purchase and seeds as well as local books, cards and produce.

Glenwhan Gardens is on my “to do” list this summer. I have never visited this garden, although I am hoping to within the next two weeks. Here you can take a walk on the moorland wildflower walk and go wildlife spotting – you can see red squirrels and lots of different birds ( I am so looking forward to visiting). Open daily until 31st October with a tea room and plant sales. There are guided walks with Tessa (the owner and lady who restored the garden from bracken and gorse to the 12 acre garden it is today) every second Thursday at 11am.

Castle Kennedy Gardens, near Stranraer, surrounded by water and comprise 75 acres of terraces and avenues. Described as ‘one of the showpieces of Galloway’ this is one of Scotland’s most well-known historical gardens. Here you can explore the two acre circular lily pond, rare and exotic plants, 21 Champion trees, family trails, peaceful woodland and loch-side walks and wonderful displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. You can view wildlife on the shores of the Lochs and spot Red Squirrels and Otters and a new bird hide gives the opportunity to see lots of wonderful bird life. A new attraction here are Landrover safaris – half day safari trip exploring the local countryside and moorland. There is a lovely tea room with indoor and outdoor seating with a delicious varied menu. This year there are two open air theatre productions at the gardens – “The Railway Children” in July and “Emma” in August.

And if you can’t resist and you just must visit all of then during your stay in the Rhins of Galloway then you can. You can visit all six within two to three days – they are so close to each other. Join Scotlands Garden Route and Visit them all. Palm trees and lush plants at the Logan Botanic Gardens

The seventh garden that must be mentioned and is well worth a visit is the Aldouran Wetland Garden in Leswalt with a bird hide, community garden and woodland walk.











BBC Countryfile in Dumfries and Galloway

Posted on May 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Put a note in your diary, set your recorder, make sure you don’t miss Countryfile on BBC1 on 20th May.

We have recently had the Countryfile team from the BBC filming in Dumfries and Galloway.

Matt Baker was in Wigtown filming the day before the booktowns spring weekend started. He enjoyed a few performances before the spring weekend festival and researched why Dumfries and Galloway is such a great location for films – “TheWickerman” , “The 39 Steps” and lots more were filmed here. The BBC also filmed the fantastic series “2000 acres of sky” here too with Michelle Collins and Paul Kaye – well worth buying on DVD.

The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

John Craven visited the Mull of Galloway filming the Black Guillemots. The Mull of Galloway is Scotlands most southerly reserve and has excellent views of these fine birds (along with Fulmars, Kittiwake and Razorbills). Apparently, 95% of the uk population of black guillemots are found here in Scotland. You find a lot around the harbour area in Portpatrick too.

John Craven also filmed in Portpatrick, where he caught up with a local man and filmed a piece about lobster fishing. (I hear he had lunch at my favourite restaurant too, Campbells!).

Ellie Harrison visited RSPB Mersehead  filming the natterjack toads, which have a strong presence in the area. I have never visited Mersehead – must add it to my to do list!

I can’t tell you any more or it would spoil it! just make sure you are tuned in, I know I will be – the BBC showcase the beauty of Dumfries and Galloway to the rest of the UK.



My top Beaches in the Rhins of Galloway, South West Scotland

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Well, here goes! So many beaches to choose from!

The last couple of weeks here have been glorious weather and it’s no better time than to get to the beach with Abiidoodle.

A few days ago we visited Larbrax Beach, which is a short drive from Portpatrick. It is highlighted on the map we leave in the cottage but is only really suitable for 4 x 4 or on foot. On the approach the initial part of the track down to the beach is quite smooth passing through open countryside. It then becomes quite bumpy. Anyway, after a bumpy trip down there with Abii wimpering and getting very excited on the back seat we are there. As always, the beach is deserted, only us, the sky, the sea and the birds – pure bliss!

Dumfries and Galloway

The tide was out too so they were miles of golden and and rocky outcrops to walk on. of course, Abii has a ball – she runs round and round in circles collecting up sea weed,sticks and the odd washed up tennis ball as she runs. It truly is such a peaceful place to visit and is so beautiful. Killantrigan lighthouse over looks the bay and you can see right across to the Irish coast with the ferries back and forth from Belfast and Larne.

After a refreshing walk on the beach what better way to finish off a perfect afternoon than to have a lovely ice cold drink in Portpatrick – sitting on the sea front watching the world go by. Cheers folks!

Dumfries and Galloway Wildlife Festival

Posted on March 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Coming up on 31st March is a two week Wildlife Festival in Dumfries and Galloway.  There are over 80 Wildlife events and I am just spoilt for choice! 

Thinking about it though here in South West Scotland we see wildlife every day. It was only yesterday we were sat out on the decking when two swans flew silently overhead, so silent and majestic. This morning there were so many geese in the sky I lost count – we have Barnacle Geese, Pink Footed Geese, and white fronted geese here in Dumfries and Galloway. The other day I took the Dog for a walk to Wig Bay near Stranraer on the shores of Loch Ryan. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of Geese and Oyster catchers and lots of other waders. Then this morning, with a cuppa, I was watching three Roe Deer grazing in the field behind our house and we only have to go down the lane to see grey Seals basking on the rocks. It is truly amazing! Enough bragging for now!

Anyway back to the Wildlife festival. Looking at the events I think I might try get to the Red Deer tour in the Galloway Forest, the Mull of Galloway guided walk, Stars and stripes Badger watching, the Spring has arrived walk at Logan Botanic Gardens and the Moorland Dawn walk to spot the Hen Harriers, short eared owls, Merlin and Raven. Better get the camera at the ready!

Talking of Camera! My husband is treating me to a one to one photography course with leeming and paterson photographers, a birthday present. I am really looking forward to it as I really need to understand how to use my Nikon to it’s best effect. Anyway Morag at Leeming and Paterson has very kindly offered any holiday makers at Kirklauchline Cottage a 10% discount on 1 or 2 day workshops and a 15% discount on one to one sessions. Anyone coming for a holiday at our cottage who is interested should mention this to me and I will check availability with Morag for you. I will let you know how my day goes (It’s at the end of April).

We still have some availability at our cottage for 2012 so please get in touch if you fancy a holiday in South West Scotland and want to get up close to our fabulous wildlife.