When I was 16 years old I lived in Threave House, the National Trust school of practical gardening, for two years. I had a motorbike and explored Galloway from time to time. Galloway is a beautiful part of Scotland and many people have not found it, even now while I am writing this blog at 76. They drive up the M74 and head for the Highlands. So Galloway is a very peaceful place.
We travelled down the west coast from Glasgow to the seaside village of Port Patrick which was many years ago the port of departure and arrival for Ireland. It is still a haven of entertainment and holidays with many hostelries ready to greet the summer crowds. We were entertained by wild swimmers. Ladies kitted out for freezing water swimming in the harbour. Friendly and chatting to us as we watched them float about. They permitted us to take a picture. Heroes.
Logan Botanic Garden was full of good surprises. Early Rhododendrons and magnificent Magnolia in full bloom. Male and female pheasants dashing about brought sudden flashes of colour speeding through the garden. The Camellias were abundant and stunning.
We were blessed with great weather for our three days in Galloway. We were able to explore a large part of Old Wigtonshire and had a lovely relaxing time. Our accommodation was Barholm Accommodation in Creetown just off the A75. It was clean comfortable with en-suite and had very comfortable beds. The community organisation which run the hostel encourage visitors to eat out as the communal area does not have a kitchen. It has a microwave which is fine for light snacks or heating up precooked meals.
They provide lots of information on where you can eat out and on where you can have food delivered to the hostel. The staff were friendly and helpful. They showed a lot of commitment to the project and their visitors.
On our first full day we visited Wigtown, Whithorn and the Isle of Whithorn. Wigtown is famous for it’s Book Festival. We wandered the spacious green centre of the town and looked into the many book shop windows.
We could not leave without a flying look at Wigtown Harbour. It is different. Onwards to the Isle of Whithorn a beautiful seaside village with a foodie pub, the Steam Packet Inn, on the harbour side. The sun shone and we basked in the warm air.
To round off our stay in Creetown we visited the Gem Rock Museum. Wow! A must visit place full of sparkle, colour and beautiful things. Scottish Gold, rocks opened to show amazing crystals formed in them and abundant shop and tea room. Even if you are travelling on the A75 bypassing Creetown this is worth a small diversion.
On our way east we stopped at Gatehouse of Fleet for a drink to cool us down. We sat on an old Kirk pew out of doors drinking in the warmth of a lovely sun. A brief visit to Elizabeth MacGregor’s Nursery in Kirkcudbright to pick up special plants allowed us the chance to see this beautiful artists town. Many of the Glasgow Boys and Glasgow Girls took up residence here because they said the light had a particular quality which helped them in creating their paintings. Take time to visit E A Hornel’s House, Broughton House, in the town and see his garden and studio. It is looked after by the National Trust for Scotland.
We drove through the prosperous town of Castle Douglas which is a food town. In the main street there are bakers, butchers and grocers and a brewery in which you can purchase a half pint or two of the excellent beer. Threave Gardens are nearby and definitely worth visiting. It is also a National Trust for Scotland House and Garden.
Now time is running out. We are going home to Glasgow tonight. We finished our holiday with a couple of hours sunbathing and watching the world go by. We sat overlooking the Solway Firth in Rockcliffe in an area sometimes called the Solway Rivera. The sea was flat calm, the air balmy. A kayak landed on our beach and a paddle boarder quietly crossed the bay. We hope to return to Galloway again … soon