When do B&B owners go on holiday? We went mid October. It’s an unusual occurrence to be away for my birthday. With Fay previously being a teacher in England, my birthday, on the 12th of October was never coincidental with school holidays. Fay’s birthday in August, however, we were always away.
This year we took the opportunity go go away for my birthday. So, we decided to go over the sea to Arran. But, we decided to just take the bikes, so we parked at the ferry terminal and went across with bikes and ruck sacs.
We were very fortunate with the weather, and completed a few walks, including up Goat Fell, and a few cycle rides including a ride all round the island .
I could post all sorts of pictures of our holiday, but a particularly special evening was spent badger watching, so here is a picture of our successful evening.
The Rhinns of Kells are a range of hills in the Galloway Hills, part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland. The most easterly of three parallel ridges, they are neighboured to the west by the Range of the Awful Hand (including Merrick) and the Dungeon Hills.
We have been living in Newton Stewart for almost 3 years and this is the first time we’ve stretched over to the east to the Rhinns. Here’s our summit photo and route 🙂 It’s a long old walk, with a bit of navigation to get through the forest roads before hitting the flanks of the hills. The summit photo was on Corserine, a Corbbet at 814m and then we walked the ridge to Meikle Millyea, a Donald at 746m.
As we’ve not had a long mountain walk for a few months, we were surprised at being able to walk the following day !!
One of our recent lovely guests sent us a couple of pictures of some local places that many of our visitors choose to visit. The first is the magnificent lighthouse at the most southerly point in Scotland, the Mull of Galloway. The second is the picturesque harbour town of Port Patrick. Many thanks for the pictures Jacquie Newlands.
We had some lovely guests over the last few days who visited the Red Kite feeding farm near Laurieston, just the other side of Gatehouse of Fleet. Here is a magnificent photograph by Ann Renfrew. We often see the Red Kites whilst out on the bikes, but they’re never this close and we never have decent cameras with us, so this is a great picture to be able to add to our posts. What a magnificent creature!!
During the lockdown of 2021 we have had the conservatory replaced. Removing the leaky roof, replacing it with a properly insulated roof, insulating the walls and floor to modern standard and replacing all the windows with modern units. We also took the opportunity to add an exit door to the side.
Having sorted the majority of the inside, and had our building work done by the terrific, local R.E.B. Joinery, it was time to start the outside – painting stone-chip on 25ft walls was never going to be a party !!
But, became much more interesting when we hired a cherry-picker ! 🙂 The view from above was very nice !
It is with great regret that we heard this week that the Newton Stewart waking festival is cancelled for 2021.
We were hoping that vaccinations would have allowed things to go ahead as it is in May, but I think the timing is just too soon to risk the upfront investment that needs to happen a long time before the event.
The “Raiders Gravel Galloway” event will be based in Gatehouse of Fleet and could attract hundreds of cyclists from across the globe, as well as many more spectators.
For further information see the Daily Record’s article – here
The event is the brain-child of Esther Tacke, from Galloway Cycling Holidays (who are terrific!!) and has Wheels of Fleet as the event’s designated charity.
Wheels of Fleet is the charity that Dane works as a part time bike mechanic. They salvage discarded bikes and components and do work on bikes for the local community free of charge, or just charging for parts.
This event will mean there will be lots of volunteering opportunities, there would be employment opportunities and it would bring people to the area.
It would encourage cycling in general, and local children can make use of the trails and routes which will be used for the event.
Hopefully The Stables will be full that week 🙂 Although, Dane is hopeful that Covid restrictions may enable hands-on bike maintenance workshops to be run by then.
More information will be posted as it becomes available
For Christmas, Fay bought me a wildlife camera. I’ve had a lot of fun with it since, and captured many many birds on our feeders. However, the night images are the most exciting. Look what we’ve got visiting the garden at night.
Yesterday we took advantage of beautiful blue skies to head up ‘The Merrick’. It’s been nearly a year since I was up there and 18 months since Fay was. Fay has never been up when there has been snow, and I’ve only been up with snow when there has been zero visibility, so it was with great anticipation that we set out.
During the lockdown easing and since the opening up of travel and other restrictions, we have visited all of the local gardens. Today, the last one, Glenwhan. Just a short distance along the A75 from The Stables, it’s very different. Small, but a bit of a chaotic layout meaning you can easily explore a smaller area but it seems much bigger. You can end up approaching the same point several times, all from difference angles, meaning you get surprised by where you are, and where you end up 🙂
Fay decided to get out into deep water when we had a guest who liked a bit of open water swimming. I, however, declined the offer 😂. I’ve not taken my titanium shoulder into the swimming baths yet, so given I have no idea whether I can or cannot swim, thought it best to watch, and take photos .
The other day Fay and I did a cycle/walk/cycle activity, up to RSPB Wood of Cree. We often don’t see much up there, but you hear the birds having a real chatter. They are so invisible when there’s leaves on the trees.
Sometimes, people are more inspiring than they themselves realise. This last week, we were visited by David and his friend and helper James. David is in his early 60s. He was a headmaster in Yorkshire but is now retired. He used to be involved in all sorts of sports and even used to participate in competitive fell-running.
In recent years he has been diagnosed with a neuropathy that slowly wastes the muscles below the knee. He has a specially adapted car and rides, as he can only do now, an E-Bike.
Whilst here he successfully completed the Big Country Route, a 35 mile cross-country route which is almost all on forest tracks. This is an amazing achievement. Even for an able-bodied person it is hard work.
Although challenging, the Big Country Route is spectacular, with jaw-dropping scenery and a quiet isolation that is only possible in areas like this. There are plenty of ups and downs.
There is an off-road route, ostensibly based from Glentrool visitor’s centre, which passes not far from The Stables, so is easily picked up in Newton Stewart. You can then either choose to take the detour to the Glentrool visitor’s centre (making 36.1 miles) or leave that out (making 35 miles). This is the route map. (click for bigger version). This version does not include a trip to the visitor’s centre.
A 3.8 meter drop, matching pattern and slopping ceiling. Plus difficult ladder placement ? but generally successful operation. Fay in charge of technical methodology, Dane in charge of ‘working at height’ operations ?? I think the light fitting needs an upgrade now.
It’s been a busy few days with decorating work, but Fay has also completed some ‘phone rounds’ of elderly and vulnerable people for the Food Train. Unfortunately, the list she was working from was for people in a different part of D&G so we’re not likely to bump into them when this is all over, but Fay enjoyed the chats. Made a change from talking to me