Rabbie Burns 25th January 2012

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm in

As today is the birthday of Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns) I thought I would write my first Blog about the man himself and the celebration. I have been doing quite a lot of research and here’s what I have come up with so far!

Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire on 25th January 1759. When you stay at Kirklauchline Cottage on your holiday Alloway is not too far away (about an hour or so) – it’s worth a trip as the coastline and views on the way are fantastic and you pass the wonderful Ailsa Craig (more about that later!). Anyway I will get back to the point, he was the eldest son of seven born to a poor tenant farmer. Even though they were very poor, and he spent his youth working on his fathers farm, he was very well read. It was whilst he was principle worker on the farm that he was inspired to write his first verse “My Handsome Nell” – an ode to scotch and women (of which he enjoyed both).
His father died in 1784 and Robert and his brother became partners in the farm. Robert was far more interested in poetry than farming and had several misadventures with the ladies resulting in several illegitimate children. He was at the point of escaping to the West Indies when his first work “poems chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – Kilmarnock edition” were published. This and the fact he had become a father made him stay in Scotland. He moved around Scotland eventually arriving in Edinburgh and in a matter of weeks became a local celebrity. He married Jean Armour, continued writing and took up a job as an excise man to supplement his income.
Rabbie Burns died at the age of 37, dying the same day as his wife gave birth to their last son Maxwell. 10,000 people paid their respects to him on the day of his burial.
On the anniversary of his birth Scots people celebrate with a supper where they address the haggis,the ladies and the whisky. (think we might head out to a burns night tonight!)

Another great place to visit, relating to Rabbie Burns, whilst staying at our holiday cottage is “The House of Burns” in Kirkoswold, South Ayrshire – Souter Johnnies Inn, the old schoolhouse that Rabbie Burns attended, now a fine inn and restaurant, gift shop and tea room with great reviews.

o, my luve is like a red red rose that’s newly sprung in june………………..

2012 Olympics come to Dumfries and Galloway

Posted on January 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm in

The olympic torch is now underway and reaches Dumfries and Galloway on 8th June 2012, which is day 21. Arriving from Ireland into Cairnrayan, the Uk’s gateway from Ireland.

Visiting Stranraer on it’s way to Glasgow and the Stranraer torch bearers have now been named – their moment to shine.

So set your alarm clocks as the torch will be starting it’s journey through Stranraer at 5 past 6 in the morning! I will be there with my trusty camera!

Early birds will be able to watch this fantastic event  in Castle Square, George Street, Charlotte Street, Port Rodie and Cairnryan Road. The torch will only be in Stranraer for approximately 15 minutes before leaving for Cairnryan – so try not to miss it!

It will arrive in Cairnryan at 6.25am in the village’s Claddyburn Terrace, travelling along the A77 to the Loch Ryan Port entrance and onto the lighthouse at around 6.35am.

The flame will then be transported to Ballantrae, South Ayrshire, where it will make its next public appearance.

Dumfries and Galloway are the first and last Scottish stops for the Olympic torch and its a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful corner of the UK.

Portpatrick Audio Tours

Posted on January 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm in

Poertpatrick is the first place in the Uk to use these Audiopass+wands.

The wands can be hired from Portpatrick Post Office for £2 with a further refundable £20 deposit per wand.

The tour can be stopped and started from any point and there is a suggested route to take. The route takes in the history of The harbour, The lifeboat shop and museum, McCooks Craig, The Princess Victoria tragedy, war time in the village, the castle, dashers den and the lighthouse. There are add ons which include the golf course, plant and bird life and what to do in the area. Provides a good couple of hours entertainment.

Walks and Wildlife in the Rhins of Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm in

Roe DeerI love to go out exploring and here in Dumfries and Galloway you can head out any time of the year – it is the perfect place to see wildlife in their natural habitat and beautiful scenery whatever time of year you visit.

There is over 200 miles of coastline in Dumfries and Galloway with hundreds of walks from to Solway Firth to the Mull of Galloway.

You can spot Red squirrels, Roe Deer, Hares, Red kites, Ospreys even the Natterjack Toad.

In the Rhins of Galloway, where Kirklauchline cottage is there are lots of walks and lots of wildlife to spot – even from the cottage. We often see Buzzards overhead or sat on a fence, Roe Deer grazing, Foxes, lots of Hares and at night huge Barn Owls too.

A great place to visit in The Rhins, where I often take the Dog for a walk,  is The Wig – located 6 miles north of Stranraer. There is a parking area at the start of the walk and parts of it are ok for disabled visitors too. It takes about an hour to walk, depending on how many times you stop to look at the view, take photographs or to watch some interesting wildlife you may have spotted! Wig Bay is part of Loch Ryan and the initial part of the walk takes you along a rough track called the scar (it is possible to drive this bit too if walking is not an option).

This eventually runs out into the loch and, on a clear day you get fantastic views through the mouth of the Loch of the Ailsa Craig and the coastline of the Mull of Kintyre. it is said to be home to the largest colony of nesting terns in the region too. For those people who like to see the Ferries you can see both Stena Line and P & O at their ports in Cairnryan, just across the Loch. Look out for all sorts of shells on the beach here – you can see Scallop, Oyster, Mussel and Razor shells. If you keep following the route it turns towards Kirkcolm village and past the school then back on the A718 and back to the car park – it’s all quite flat but can get muddy at some points so you need you boots on. Along the way you are sure to see large flocks of Twite in the fields during the winter months ( I was not too sure what these were until I checked out the RSPB web site), Eider Ducks (a friend of ours who visited was so excited when he saw these!), Scaup ducks, Widgeon, Great crested Ducks and Slovonian Grebe are regular visitors along with Dunlin, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Curlew. My favourite sighting are the Seals – we mainly get the larger grey seals here and,if you are very lucky, you can see them on the rocks or sandbanks – that usually means camera time for me! For any of our visitors I have another secret location for Seal spotting too!

Another must do is the Mull of Galloway nature reserve – there’s lots of wildlife here together with the RSPB visitor centre. Oh, and a Lighthouse and Coffee shop – can’t forget those! There’s a large free car park and the walking here is fairly easy, although you can venture a little further along the cliff tops where it gets a bit more tricky. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead. When you have parked your car, firstly look at the view – you feel like you are on the edge of the world (as you are in Scotlands most southerly point you almost are!). Go through the gateway and turn right following the markers towards the cliffs and towards the Lighthouse, pass by the cottages and walled garden and down to the foghorn, where there is an amazing viewpoint. Visitors have seen Porpoise here but I have never been as lucky but hope to some day.  You can then head towards the RSPB information centre, where you can go in and check out the live web cams on the cliffs, look at the books and posters and all the other information they have there, the friendly staff will tell you which wildlife has been spotted in the last few days and where you might see it – there is sometimes a friendly RSPB dog there too to fuss over. You return to the car park via Lagvag point, where you can see the nesting sea birds on the cliffs – Guillemott and Kittiwake.

After your walk a visit to Gallie Craig Coffee house is a well deserved rest! They serve hot and cold drinks,snacks and meals – the food there is very nice and the cakes are to die for! They cater for young children, having high chairs and a small play area too. Dogs are not allowed inside but there are seats outside where you can sit and take in the fresh air and the views. There are toilets here and baby changing. Inside the coffee shop is a great gift shop too selling local books, gifts, jams and preserves, Jewellery and lots more . They have the hugest set of Binoculars I have ever seen too, which visitors can use to check out the scenery.

During the summer you can visit the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse and climb to the top – 115 steps. The first lot of steps up are steep and narrow, as you can imagine! If you want to venture right to the top you need to go up the ladder and into the  light – there is a lady up there who tells you all about the workings of the lighthouse, how many times the light rotates, how far it can be seen, what happens in a power cut and anything else you want to know. Did you know “Aga” , as in the cookers made the workings for the light up there! I have been up there a couple of times and it is amazing and it is still a working Lighthouse.

The views from the walk way that runs around the outside at the top are fantastic – you just see blue everywhere. You can see the Isle of Man and the Calf of Man on a clear day, Cumbria and along the Galloway coast too. I would not recommend this for people who are unsteady on their feet or the very young or very old – even people who don’t like heights! 

So there’s a snapshot of the Rhins but there’s lots more to come!

Inside Kirklauchline cottage we have a rather well used OS map of the region and we have marked on it where all these places are, our visitors take it out with them and most have commented on how useful they have found it. If you would like to come along and see the wildlife here and do a spot of walking then do get in touch. I really enjoy telling people about the region and whats on and when. Infact, the Dumfries and Galloway Wildlife festivalstarts early April for 2 weeks with over 80 wildlife events.