Kirklauchline Cottage

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




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!




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.