Galloway Beagle Bash

A number of our skiing friends from “Team Beagle” came to visit in September to sample the delights of sunny Galloway. Outdoor activities included kayaking, swimming, walking and cycling. Local history and culture was encountered in Kirkandrews and Kirkcudbright. The Craig Cottage blackcurrant gin was sampled along with a few other tasty beverages and a stroll along to the local Wine o’ Clock session.

Kirroughtree

Kirroughtree is an area in the Galloway Forest Park near Newton Stewart. It is part of the 7 Stanes mountain biking areas and also has walking trails and a new, well-equipped visitor centre. We took Betty there for a look around some of the hiking trails. After an initial thrash around in the woods we eventually found our bearings and worked out how to read the trail map. The recent damp weather seems to have brought out some good fungus specimens including this one on the side of a tree.
Fungus
One of the trails follows the course of a lade that was used to deliver water to power lead mining activities back in the 1800s.
Lade Trail
Just off the trail in the woods there is a set of four Rosnes Benches. We are working our way through discovering all of the locations for these benches which are positioned in out-of-the-way locations throughout the Galloway Forest Park area.
Rosnes Benches
Each of the 7 Stanes mountain bike areas has a stone (stane) carving. This is the one from Kirroughtree, called the Gem Stane. It sits by the Bruntis Loch and is carved from a 1.75 ton chunk of Scottish pink quartz.
Gem Stane
The trails have some interesting bridges under and over them. This one is next to the Gem Stane.
Gem Stane bridge
And this bridge, in the form of giant bicycle wheels, takes the bike trails over the hiking trails just by the visitor centre.
Bike Bridge

Cally Woods

The long summer evenings in Scotland are good for enjoying the local countryside. Cally Woods are part of the grounds of Cally House (now the Cally Palace Hotel) and are managed as part of the Galloway Forest Park with some walking, biking and horse-riding trails and a healthy population of red squirrels. I went out there on my mountain bike last week enjoyed a ride around the the trails although some of them are a bit overgrown. There are some Rosnes Benches in these woods (see previous post) but they are hidden amongst the bracken and vegetation at this time of year and I could not find them.
Cally Woods trail
The evening sun filtering through the trees.
Evening sunlight in Cally Woods

First Bike Ride

We had our first bike ride from Craig Cottage on a trip to Gatehouse of Fleet and back. The wind was blowing fairly briskly from the north-west so it was hard going on the way out there. We cycled along National Cycle Route 7 on quiet country roads past the Cream o’ Galloway dairy and ice cream factory then on good forest tracks through Cally Park past the Cally Palace hotel into Gatehouse.

The snowdrops were out in abundance in Cally Park. We stopped off at the Ship Inn for refreshments then made our way back along a different route following a track along the coast with through Sandgreen caravan park and Carrick Shore with some great views over Wigtown Bay.