Boat Shed Preparations

Now that we have an expanding fleet of kayaks, we need somewhere to keep them so we have ordered a long, thin shed which will be delivered in a week or so. Last weekend’s big job was to clear a space in the lower garden to install it. Lots of spiky blackthorn bushes were removed along with a few old gooseberry bushes and a variety of other sharp, scratchy plants and eventually we had an area cleared behind the compost bins.
Boat shed location
Here’s the space after the bushes were removed but before the ground was dug over and levelled. The pile of blackthorn is in the background.
Gabrielle started up a bonfire to dispose of all of the trimmings. Because the blackthorn is very angular and spiky it is difficult to get it down onto the flames and the hottest part of the fire. Gabrielle solved this problem with the aid of a very big stick and some muscle power.
Gabrielle and her big stick

The Clints of Dromore

There are some wonderful place names in the Galloway area. Last weekend we went climbing at some cliffs known as the ‘Clints of Dromore’. A few other examples of the names of local geographical features are:

  • Rig of the Jarkness
  • Neive of the Spit
  • Curlywee
  • Rig of the Gloon
  • Buckdas of Cairnbaber
  • Loch Twachtan

You can spend an enjoyable evening poring over the local Ordnance Survey maps. The Clints of Dromore are a few miles north of Gatehouse of Fleet and consist of a number of granite outcrops sticking out of a heathery hillside. Not a lot of people climb in this area so the access path to the cliffs consists of linking together a few sheep and goat tracks. The rock is however good solid granite and a pleasure to climb on until you get to the next ledge covered with dense heather. Here’s Gabrielle at the start of the climb.
Central Slabs
We did the climb in two pitches. This is the view up the second pitch – lots of nice clean granite.
Pitch 2
Here’s Gabrielle arriving at the top of the climb.
Last pitch
At the top it was a thrash through the heather to get to a steep gully where we could slither back down to the start of the climb.
John and Heather


Pauline and Rob

Pauline and Rob called in for a couple of cloudy days in late September but at least it stayed dry and we could get out for a few outdoor activities. Gabrielle took them on one of our favourite walks around Balcary Bay and we had the full kayak fleet out on the water later that day as the high tide was around 5 p.m. This is in Castle Haven Bay with the old walls of the Iron Age fort, known as ‘the Borg’ in the background.
Castle Haven Bay
Down on the shore at Kirkandrews Bay.
Beachcombing at Kirkandrews

New Kayaks

The new kayaks arrived at Kari-Tek up in Ayrshire and survived a trip back to Craig Cottage strapped to the top of Rolf the Golf.
Kayaks arrive!
We arrived back just before high tide so we got straight out on the water for a test paddle. Here’s Gabrielle paddling past Craig Cottage.
Gabrielle's kayak
The kayaks are both P&H Delphins. Gabrielle has the 15 foot low-volume version and John’s is the regular 15 ft 6in normal size.
John's kayak
The sea was almost flat calm so we didn’t get to see how they perform in bumpy conditions but it won’t be long before the Autumn weather blows in.


Modern cameras are wonderful things and can now automatically stitch together a number of photographs to make a panorama shot right in the camera. Here are a few recent examples. The rainbow picture was taken by Billy on his Samsung phone camera while we were out working on the greenhouse.
Here’s another one from Billy’s Samsung – an extremely wide view of Dead Man’s Bay and Cauldforth Bay, just round the corner from Kirkandrews
This one is from an Olympus point-and-shoot camera and shows the view across Wigtown Bay from the Isle of Man on the left to the Whithorn peninsula on the right.
Isle of Man and Whithorn

Cath, Jerry, Ellen, Scarlett and Billy

We had a house full of people in early September which worked out well for getting our greenhouse set up (see entry in main blog pages). Apart from helping with the greenhouse, Jerry and Billy also had a couple of sessions out in the kayaks in very nice weather conditions. Here’s a ‘selfie’ of Billy out in the kayak with Jerry and Craig Cottage in the background.
This is Jerry (and the end of Billy’s wellies) paddling at Rumblekirn.
Jerry at Rumblekirn
Here’s Jerry contemplating a pot of flowers while waiting for the barbecue to heat up.
Jerry and Flowers
Ellen caught a shrew in the garden and brought it up to the house to show the rest of us.Ellen's shrew


Laying out the frame
Our latest addition to the garden is a greenhouse. It arrived in kit form with a very long list of instructions. The first job was to lay out the side walls and ends and start bolting together the various pieces. Luckily we had family visitors staying for a few days and Jerry and Billy were able to provide a lot of help with the construction. This is the point where we had the frame erected and were starting to put in the glazing. This is definitely a two person job to ensure that the panes of glass stay central in the openings as the glazing bars are pushed in at either side.
Helping hands
We eventually got everything installed with minimal disasters (one broken pane of glass) and stabilised the structure by attaching it to some large blocks of concrete set into the ground. The final touch was to use up some old sandstone slabs from the original Craig Cottage roof to make a walkway down the middle of the greenhouse then tidy up the approach with a big concrete slab and some grass seed mixed in with the soil around the entrance.