Climbing Again!

It’s been a long time since we managed to get out onto the cliffs but a visit from friends Simon and Caroline gave us an opportunity to visit Meikle Ross, just a few miles away from Craig Cottage.

Simon leading up “Shark’s Tooth”
John on “Twin Cracks” with T-shirt coordinated with the lichen

Borgue Flower Show

This year was the 150th anniversary of the Borgue Flower Show. There were over 200 classes for prizes this year for flowers, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, preserves and various arts and crafts. As usual, we left our preparations until the last minute but Gabrielle managed to assemble enough items to enter 8 different classes and we got our entries to the show with just a few minutes to spare before the 09:30 deadline.
Borgue Flower Show

Gabrielle won two first prizes, for rhubarb stalks and for oat and raisin cookies, two second prizes, for Crocosmia flowers and bread and two third prizes, for marmalade and blackcurrant jam. Here is Gabrielle in Borgue Church discovering her first prize for the rhubarb.
Gabrielle's prize-winning rhubarb

Our friends Susan and Mark from Houston were visiting and helped us celebrate by drinking our prize money in the Borgue Hotel after the show.
Susan and Mark at the Flower Show

April Photos

We had visits from both of Gabrielle’s brothers and their families in April, along with some good weather, so we were able to get outside and enjoy it.

A couple of the local wild goats at Clints of Dromore, near Gatehouse of Fleet.
Wild goats

Ellen, Gabrielle, Jerry and Cath on top of Mountain End at the end of the Clints of Dromore ridge. The outward route was along the top of the ridge then the path drops down to the right to return to the valley alongside the forestry plantations
Mountain End, Clints of Dromore

Looking back along the ridge of the Clints from down near the visitor centre. We saw peregrine falcons setting up their nest on the cliffs.
Clints of Dromore

We had some calm paddling weather so we took Betty out for a trip in a kayak. We need to rig up a better sitting platform for her.
Betty in the Kayak

Phillip and Harvey after a paddle round the bay.
Phillip and Harvey

Harvey and Betty surveying the view from the nearby Iron Age fort known as “the Borg” at Castle Haven Bay.
Harvey  and Betty

Jerry provided lots of assistance in the garden and one of the projects was to install a retaining wall alongside the path to the lower garden.
Retaining Wall

Beach Gate

January Storm
Here’s a flashback to the storms in January 2014 when our steps to the beach and part of our lower garden wall were washed away. We have also had a few issues recently with cows trying to get into our garden from the beach area so it was finally time to do something about our lower garden boundary. Luckily our friends Anna and Nigel were visiting in September and Nigel asked if I had any garden projects that he could help with. The first job was to dig out some holes for the gate posts. The ground where we wanted to place the fence posts consisted of large rocks in a matrix of soft sand and shells so we had to excavate some pretty big holes. Eventually we got them down to the right depth, inserted the gate posts and filled in with some of the rocks that we had removed. A liberal application of “shellcrete” was then applied around the rocks to bind everything together and provide a big, heavy stable platform for the posts. Shellcrete is similar to a concrete mix but uses lots of small shells from the beach instead of gravel for aggregate. Here’s Nigel with the freshly planted gate posts.
Nigel and Gate Posts
We then installed some new steps up into the garden from the gate and wedged them in place with more stones. The final task was to rebuild the wall up tho the gate posts. It should now be OK for keeping out the cows but I have a feeling that it may need about another 12 inches of height to keep sheep from jumping up it.
New Beach Gate

Gail and David

We have just enjoyed a visit from Gail and David, our friends from Houston (and Montana). We had some good weather and we were able to sample a range of activities around the local area. The blackberries were fruiting well this year so we spent part of their first day getting them to collect their own food. Here are the blackberry team in the iron-age fort known as “the Borg” just along the coast.
Blackberry Picking
We had some light winds and calm seas so we got out the kayaks for a trip along the coast. Here are David and Gail with Kirkandrews in the background.
David & Gail Kayaking
No visit to Kirkcudbright would be complete without sampling the fish and chips from “Polar Bites” down by the harbour.
Fish and Chips
David had brought his climbing shoes and harness with him so we made a visit to the sea cliffs at Meikle Ross. Here’s David following up “Twin Cracks”.
Twin Cracks
We also rigged up a top rope to try out a couple of harder routes on the wrinkled face at Fox Craig. This one is “Rez’s Route”.
Rez's Route
We went for a walk up in the Cairnsmore Nature Reserve where there a number of sculptures by Matt Baker hidden away in the landscape. You can get a card with some cryptic clues for their locations from the visitor centre but you still have to do a lot of hunting around to find them. This one is called “Heart” and consists of two carved faces on opposite sides of a wall in the ruined village of Little Cullendoch.
"Heart" Sculpture

Family Visitors

August has been a busy month for family visitors. First we had Pauline and Katie for a few days and here they are helping us lift the first batch of potatoes.
Pauline and Katie
Next it was Trina, Richard, Caitlyn and Georgia who came for a long weekend. It was a bit wild and windy but we managed to get out for a few local walks and the girls enjoyed a session at the Cream o’ Galloway ice cream factory and activity centre.
Slippery rocks
Trina and Caitlyn appreciating a wild and windy day at Kirkandrews Bay with Richard and Georgia off in the distance.
Georgia and Caitlyn
Here are Georgia and Caitlyn posing on top of the big granite erratic boulder by the beach at the bottom of the field.

Caitlyn balancing
Caitlyn performing a gravity-defying act of balance on one of the rock outcrops.
On the Sunday we were also joined by Kellie, Paul, Morgan, Zoe and Scott and a large quantity of Chinese food was consumed.
Chinese Food Time
The following weekend we had Miriam, Phillip, Stephen and Harvey to stay and enjoyed some much better weather so we were able to get out in the kayaks between more sessions at Cream o’ Galloway for Harvey.
Skimming stones at sunsetSkimming stones in Kirkandrews Bay at sunset.
Harvey kayaking
Harvey kayaking with the Isle of Man in the background.
Stephen & Phil kayaking
Stephen and Phillip at Rumblekirn on Sunday afternoon enjoying some quite bumpy seas.
Stephen kayaking
Stephen found an interesting little channel through the rocks as the tide was falling.

Steve & Beth

We managed to intercept Steve and Beth on their return journey from the Isle of Skye. We were lucky to have some barbecue weather on Saturday evening and a fine morning on Sunday for a walk along the coast to visit the Coo Palace and the local beaches.
Steve & Beth

Anna & Nigel

Anna and Nigel kept up their record of visiting us when the weather was not at its best but we still managed to get out to sample the bracing conditions. Here are Gabrielle and Anna doing a bit of welly-washing with some frisky sea behind.
Welly washing
Nigel provided some valuable assistance with running the cable for our BT telephone line under a dry stone wall up by the road.
Phone cable

Jane, Steve, Elaine and David

We had a full house for the weekend in early November with a visit from Jane & Steve and Elaine & David who all made the long trek down from Aberdeen. Here are the team on a walk along the coast from Craig Cottage. This is the seaward side of “The Borg”, an iron-age fort which overlooks Castle Haven Bay, just a few hundred yards north.
Checking out the Borg

A little further along the coast is an interesting cave in the rocks near the beach. It is rumoured that the area was known for smuggling back in the late 1700s and this could be one of the caves that was used to hide contraband brought over from Ireland and the Isle of Man. Here’s Elaine disappearing into the depths.
Smugglers' Cave