Dumfries and Galloway is a beautiful part of Scotland, often missed or bypassed by visitors heading further North.
Dumfries and Galloway is a great destination for a holiday and CASTLE CREAVIE HAY BARN HOSTEL is a lovely place to use as a base. It is also a great place for children to meet working dogs and see a sheep farm in a beautiful location. You can view a map of South Scotland on this website showing the location of Castle Creavie and other hostels and Bunkhouses.
Galloway is one of my favorite places so when Independent Hostels UK asked if I was interested in writing about the Haybarn it was an easy decision. About four miles from the attractive town of Kirkcudbright Castle Creavie Farm nestles in a rolling landscape which provides pasture for a large flock of sheep.
What a welcome. Three dogs danced, tails wagging, around us as we unpacked the boot of the car. They were so pleased to see us and anxious to get some friendly attention in return for their greeting. A Collie, a Collie pup and a wee Jack Russell. We obliged with pats, tickles behind the ears and bliss… a tickle on the tummy for the Jack Russell who insisted on lying tummy up in submission.
The Haybarn is bright and spacious. Both inside and outside walls are painted white. A four bed space is separated from the living space by screens and a log burning stove provides heat and a focal point. It is perfect for family holidays. A quick look at the Visitors Book confirmed that children love the farm and the dogs.
There are a number of good walks on the farm. We took the blue route which provided easy walking uphill and through sheep to a high point overlooking the sea. Sea mist had shrouded the views. The Isle of Man remained hidden. On a clear day the view would have been spectacular.
Our visits to Kirkcudbright which is also known as the Artists Town brought us to Elizabeth MacGregor’s Nursery the home of Anemone ‘Wild Swan’. This prolific blossoming Anemone was awarded the accolade of Chelsea 2011 Plant of the Year. Even this late in the season the walled garden was looking splendid.
In keeping with the Artists Town theme EA Hornel’s house and garden in the town is a must visit for anyone interested in art and or gardening. The colour and plants he used to create his paintings are growing and flowering in the garden. You can tell that the quality of light here is special and part of the attraction for artists many of whom came to live in Kirkcudbright to paint.
Kirkcudbright Harbour is in the heart of the town. Three Scalloping boats can be seen unloading their catch and readying for the off again. They are an important industry in the town and employ over one hundred and fifty people. The prepared fresh and frozen scallops go all over the Western World. To Germany and the USA for example.
Red Kite have been reintroduced to many parts of Britain including Galloway. We visited Bellymack Hill Farm, Lauriston near Castle Douglas, to watch the spectacle of wild birds being fed at the Feeding Station. Over eighty gathered to join in the swooping down and carrying away. Wow!
If you would like more activities for children you need not look further than the Cream of Galloway Ice cream visitors centre near Gatehouse of Fleet. And closer to Castle Creavie the Cocoa Bean Chocolate Factory at Twynholm which also has programmes of activities for families. You need not worry about activities to keep children busy on wet days.
Elaine Wannop, owner, kindly facilitated our stay in the Haybarn. Ours was a short stay and we packed a lot in. I plan to return with friends for rest and recuperation!