Kirkcudbright Tattoo 2023

The Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities events end with the Tattoo and Fireworks Display at the end of August. We had a beautiful evening and enjoyed the events with lots of music, motorcycle stunt displays, a spectacular sunset and the famous Kirkcudbright Tug o War team as seen in Sam Kelly’s video below.

Sam Kelly’s video of the Tug o War

The Black Loch

One of our favourite short walks is a loop into the Galloway Forest from the Queen’s Road between Newton Stewart and New Galloway. The route starts with a steep pull up to Murray’s Monument. The impressive monument was erected in 1835 in memory of Alexander Murray, a local shepherd boy who later became Professor of Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University. The path goes off behind the monument then continues steeply up to join a forestry track leading to the Black Loch. On the edge of the loch is an 8 metre high conical sculpture called ‘The Eye’ made from fragments of terracotta tile fragments. It was created by Colin Rose in 1997 as part of an art project in Galloway Forest Park.

On the return part of the loop there is another sculpture installation built into the stone walls of an old sheepfold. This one, called ‘Quora’ was created by Matt Baker as part of the same art project as ‘The Eye’ and consists of several carved granite heads set into the walls.

A short but steep walk up and over a ridge then leads back down to the car park on the Queen’s Road.

Brecon Baroque Festival

After a two year break due to COVID, the Brecon Baroque Festival was back in business again this year. We made the trek down there, via a wet afternoon at the new RHS garden at Bridgewater, and enjoyed five excellent concerts over the four days of the festival. The first two concerts were in Brecon Cathedral and the others were in the Theatr Brycheiniog. We stayed at Camden Lodge, a very comfortable bed & breakfast and also enjoyed some good local food at the restaurants and pubs around Brecon.

Brecon Baroque Festival

We made our second visit to the Brecon Baroque music festival in October 2019. We arrived in Brecon along with some torrential downpours and there was widespread flooding in the area.

The River Usk in Brecon

Most of the concerts went ahead as planned although one of them had to be relocated from Cantref Church due to flooded roads.

Elizabeth Kenny’s theorbo before her concert in the Plough Chapel
Brecon Baroque in Brecon Cathedral

We managed a few walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park, including a circuit of the waterfalls after the flood waters has receded.

Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall
Sgwd y Pannwr

Spring Fling

The Spring Fling arts and crafts festival took place as usual on the late May bank holiday weekend. This year we had one of the exhibits just along the coast at Carrick. It was called “The Edge” and consisted of an artificial tide line along the top of the beach made up of all sorts of objects.
The Edge installation at Carrick
Some of the objects contained pieces of information or stories connected with the area and its history. At the end of the exhibit there was a working harmonium and people were encouraged to play on it. We enjoyed the warm spring evening and the view across to Ardwall Island while listening to these two playing a few tunes.
Harmonium and Ardwall Island

Anniversary!

It was our 40th wedding anniversary on 3rd January. We spent a couple of days up in Ayr with relatives and friends and attended the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s New Year concert. The picture is from a walk at Culzean Castle with Ailsa Craig in the background.
40th Wedding Anniversary
On the way back from Culzean to Ayr we called in at Rozelle Park for a walk around the grounds. Unfortunately the Maclaurin Gallery was closed on 3rd January but we enjoyed a tour round the park grounds and a new sculpture park themed on the First World War. Most of the sculptures are chainsaw carvings in wood but there are other too, including these doves made from wire mounted on woven willow columns.
Willow and wire dove sculpture

More July Activities

Wine o’ Clock has been taking place most Friday evenings through the year but it’s good to be able to venture outdoors now that we have a taste of summer weather. There are still a few fleece jackets in evidence but some hardy souls are in short sleeves.
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We had a trip to the deep south and one of the highlights was a visit to the amazing gardens at Great Dixter, near Hastings. Here are a couple of pictures of the riotous planting there:
Great Dixter gardens

Great Dixter garden & house

Kirkcudbright was visited by the Kelpies in July and August. These are models of the enormous ones that are installed near Falkirk but they fitted well with the scale of Kirkcudbright harbour.
Kelpies in Kirkcudbright

Following on from the wine-tasting in June, we had a seashore wildlife walk in July, led by local naturalist Jim Logan as another fund-raiser for Kirkandrews Kirk. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious on the day but a small band of hardy souls ventured out into Kirkandrews Bay and discovered a range of interesting shells and marine creatures. Here’s Jim identifying a specimen for Howard.
Seashore Walk

Wine Tasting at Kirkandrews Kirk

In early June we held a wine tasting fund-raiser in the wee kirk at Kirkandrews. The event was very well attended, helped enormously by the provision of a mini-bus to transport people from and back to Kirkcudbright. Twelve wines were sampled in a blind tasting quiz format although after the first six most people just seemed to be happy to enjoy the drinking part! Members of the kirk trust provided tasty snacks to accompany the wines and the event raised a few hundred pounds to assist with the ongoing repairs and maintenance of the kirk.
Wine Tasting in the kirk

Kirkcudbright Choral Concert

The Winter concert for the Kircudbright Choral Society took place in the newly-refurbished Cochran Hall in Kirkcudbright on Sunday evening. Gabrielle and a number of our local friends were performing. The choir were accompanied by some very good professional musicians, including Hedley Benson, the principal trumpet player from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Here they are at the rehearsal in the afternoon before the performance.

Rehearsal
The main work performed at the concert was “Stella Natalis” by Karl Jenkins which took up the whole of the second half. The first half featured a variety of winter and Christmas themed pieces from a number of different composers.
Programme Cover
Concert Pieces
Here’s the choir, soloist and musicians during “Stella Natalis”.
Performance