Headline photo

Headline photo
Rockcliffe and Kippford from South Glen Brae: Ed Iglehart [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Introductory text

Kippford and Rockcliffe are on the East Stewartry Coast, an unspoilt National Scenic Area with two other NSAs in close proximity. It is in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland, a region known for it's wonderful scenery, biodiversity, turbulent history, smugglers and black and white 'belted' cattle known as Galloway Belties. This stretch of coastline has many names. Known locally as the Colvend Coast or the 'Secret Coast' (due to the peace and tranquility) it is often referred to as the 'Scottish Riviera' due to it being the holiday resort of choice for Victorian millionaires and having a Gulf Stream influenced microclimate: evidenced by palm trees in some gardens. Castle Douglas, the food town is a short drive away and Kirkcudbright, the Artists Town is over the next headland.

This a scenic and unique part of the world and we started the blog to share the experience of living in this wonderful place. We hope that it will be of interest to others who live here and give those planning to visit the area a taste of all it has to offer.

The blog has a correspondent in both Kippford and Rockcliffe village, you can also follow their Twitter feeds on the right of the page. If you would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Spring Fling Fever

Very excited that next weekend is the Spring Fling and from the Tweeting going on I'd say I'm not the only one! Hannah McAndrew, Phil Macnemenny, Leeming and Patterson, Cordelia Galley and Katie Russell (to name but a few) have all been Tweeting about the big build up.

The marketing team have done a sterling job and the build up has generated a lot of interest. There certainly seems to be loads on offer.

The bumph on the Spring Fling website says:
2012 is an exciting year for Spring Fling - it's our 10th Birthday!
From 2-5 June 2012, 76 professional artists, makers and designers will throw open the doors of their studios, inviting visitors to discover where and how they create their work; many artists will host demonstrations and every artist will be selling their work. You can discover the region on theSpring Fling bus, as part of the official Spring Fling cycle ride, or with the Spring Fling Sunday morning walking tour. For evening entertainment Spring Fling presents the ever popular ceilidh and hog roast, and for the first time in 2012 we will host an exclusive wine tasting event - free for Friends. In 2012 Spring Fling will launch a web shop and a map based smartphone applicationto help tech savvy visitors navigate the studios, which after the event will become a year round art guide. 
The cheeky 2012 Spring Fling logo: Source courtesy of http://www.spring-fling.co.uk/event
We are planning a 'grand tour' catching up with some old favorites and hopefully discovering some one new. For me the real buzz is getting to talk to the artists themselves and, in a lot of cases, actually seeing where the creative spark is generated. (That and a coffee and cake!)
For all things Spring Fling go to: http://www.spring-fling.co.uk/

Good Luck to all the artists and crafts people taking part, I know a tremendous amount of work goes into the preparation. See you all soon!
We will post about our experiences next week.

Friday, 25 May 2012

TODAY Tim Kliphuis Trio: High energy at Colvend Village Hall

Those of you who think that Kippford and Rockcliffe are sleepy sea-side villages, think again! It's all happening here on the Colvend Coast.
The exciting and accomplished Tim Kliphuis Trio, which includes our own local boy,  Kippford-bred, Roy Percy, is opening this year’s Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival  with two very different concerts. The first at the Theatre Royal, Friday 25th May, and then at Colvend Village Hall, Sat 26th May, both 7.30pm.  

Tim Kliphuis: fighting off hoards of adoring fans?
Tim's improvised sound is totally new, yet steeped in tradition and their eclectic style breathes new life into existing musical styles. The band's high-energy brand of Classical, Gypsy Jazz, Celtic and World music and appeals to young and old alike. 
Classically trained, and widely regarded as the inheritor of the Stephane Grappelli crown, Kliphuis first made his name playing with the fiery European gypsy guitarists but soon developed a crossover style taking him to classical, jazz and folk venues across the world. 
On Friday night at the Theatre Royal, with his Trio  providing the driving rhythms of  Thirties Swing on double bass, and with James Birkitt – one of the UK’s top jazz guitarists - they will perform a tribute to Stephane Grapelli’s style . On Saturday, at our local hall in Colvend, with premiere Scots guitarist, Nigel Clark, expect Vivaldi, Grappelli, Ellington, Grieg and the Chieftains!
The Trio have played to packed & hugely appreciative audiences in Kippford, Kirkcudbright & Gatehouse in recent years so it's an event not to be missed! 
Ticket Booking Hotline Now Open: +44 (0)1387 253383 

Or book tickets online here: Tickets for Tim Kliphuis Trio - Colvend Village Hall 25th May

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Corsets, cakes & kaleidoscope colours... the evocative prints of Horrockses at Shambellie House

We are incredibly lucky to have the Shambellie National Museum of Costume on our doorstep. Although we live in a wonderful rural location I am always amazed by the diversity of historic, cultural and artistic events on offer and Shambellie never fails to deliver. 

I love an afternoon there spent either in the house or the atmospheric grounds and have visited many times. You are always assured a warm welcome by the attentive helpful team there. The house and grounds alone are well worth a visit with rhodedendrons and a variety of trees and shrubs  

Shambellie House and grounds - from the driveway
This particular trip was prompted by their current exhibition 'Off the Peg: Fashion form the 40s and 50s'  focusing on the fashion label Horrockses.

Horrockses Fashions was known for their off-the-peg labels of the 1940s and 1950s. They gained a reputation for practicality and glamour combined with easy-care fabrics. I loved the bold prints and crisp cottons with founcy skirts the exhibition made me think of summer. Horrockses maintained an air of exclusivity producing about a 1000 of each style, using good quality fabrics, mostly cotton, custom-designed patterns, and great styling.

There is an extensive range of  Horrockses designs on display
The exhibition is very evocative: pass me my gloves, headscarf and Audrey Hepburn sunglasses! It features an extensive range of  Horrockses designs on display: the rooms were a veritable kaleidoscope of colour, a visual feast for fashionistas, designers or artists and beautifully lit. Not simply an excuse for fond nostalgia, the exhibition captivates even the youngsters among us: the myriad of styles, colours and patterns fascinated a 10 year old in our party who was wide-eyed to learn that 'Grannie' wore these frocks as a girl. (No, not us.... Grannie!)

Shambellie House form the West including the fabulous wicker sculpture

We had a great day out including lunch in the charming painted wood panelled Tea Room. Homemade soup, cakes and a proper coffee were our choice, they were very tasty and the prices were very reasonable. The museum has a permanent exhibition of Victorian and 20th Century fashion, there is even an opportunity to play at dressing up. We had a laugh trying on the corsets, I managed to reduce my waistline by 1", a major feat, but I nearly passed out in the process. Should not of had that extra slice of cake in the cafe!

Whirling Dervish living sculpture by Trevor Leat - in the grounds of Shambellie House 
The exhibition and Museum is open  1 April - 31 October 2012
Cost: Free with price of admission
Shambellie House New Abbey, Dumfries DG2 8HQ Tel: 0300 123 6789

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A well kept secret on the Colvend Coast

Having heard rave reviews from guests who had stumbled across the Walled Garden at Shambellie, today I decided  to take the scenic, coastal road to New Abbey and see for myself. I had been told of the many hours of work that Sheila Cameron, and her brother Euan, had put in to bring this abandoned overgrown garden back to life and was amazed at the sanctuary they have created hidden away in the woodsFormarly the walled garden for Shambellie House (The home of the National Museum of Costume: Click here for more information) the Victorian garden was abandoned back in the 1960s and it has taken six years of hard work and dedication to re-landscape and plant.

There is a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and, talking to Sheila about her private garden which she opens to the public for free, (please make a donation if you visit to keep this wonderful place going) you can see she takes pleasure in sharing this beautiful space and describes it as somewhere for people to learn, sit and enjoy the plants and most of all find inspiration.

The planting style is informal and full; mixed with a selection of hardy trees shrubs and perennials chosen to suit the cool, wet conditions of South West Scotland.

Sheila is a plant expert and now sells a wide variety of flowers and plants from the once derelict greenhouse and garden offering advice and assistance to her visitors. She was brilliant and gave us some very useful advice on planting for a coastal garden. As a result we went away with armfuls of plants and lots of enthusiasm. 

Its the sort of garden that I want to visit regularly  to see how it develops and changes throughout the season.

Sheila and her Spaniel in the greenhouse

Thank you Sheila for sharing your little piece of paradise. I look forward to visiting again  soon.

Shambellie Walled Garden and Plant Sales is open

Sat Sun Mon
10am to 4pm
April to October
Entry free with donations welcomed.
Beeswing Road New Abbey DG2 8DT

(Please do not take your dogs into the garden)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Afternoon tea anyone?

I shouldn't really be telling you this as I want to make sure there is some left for me, but here goes:

As part of the Flavour Taster Abbey Tearooms are putting on delicious Afternoon Teas this week end from 2.00 to 16.30. A real, old fashioned spread like Granny used to do so not to be missed.

They have just won another prestigious award for their yummy treats and use local produce wherever possible. 

Get more details here

On trips down to Dumfries I try allow extra time so I can call in. It's a very picturesque cottage in a spectacular location, next to the beautiful Cistercian Abbey. A real treat!