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.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Dumfries & Galloway named 2014 'Destination of the Year'

Earlier this week we were delighted to see that Dumfries and Galloway was recognised as  ‘Destination of the Year’ in the Scottish Hotel Awards. Thank you and well done to all who participated in the event and made the award possible.

Full details feature in the Scottish Hotel Awards press release below.

The Scottish Hotel Awards is pleased to announce that this year’s ‘Destination of the Year’ is Dumfries & Galloway, the mantle passing from last year’s top holiday location – the Isle of Arran.

Each year, in collaboration with Scotland Magazine, the Scottish Hotel Awards team choose a destination which they feel offers something particularly special to tourists, whether they are visiting from within the UK or travelling from abroad. To be named ‘Destination of the Year’ the area must not only boast fabulous places to stay & eat, but also offer tourists a wide variety of things to see & do.

A hidden corner of Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway was chosen this year on account of its strong hotel offering, warm hospitality, stunning landscape & rich culture. In particular, the Scottish Hotel Awards & Scotland Magazine teams felt that the area’s scenic beauty, history, fishing communities, Christian heritage, culture, visual arts, literature, fresh local seafood, dairy farms (famous Galloway cheese), and charming country house hotels come together to make it truly deserving of the ‘Destination of the Year’ title.

As visitors often fly direct to Glasgow or Edinburgh, or drive north through the Borders from Berwick or Carlisle, we encourage holiday-makers to ‘turn west’ and sample the myriad of pleasures Dumfries & Galloway has to offer.

The title was accepted on behalf of Dumfries & Galloway by Angus Fordyce, Chairman of Luxury Galloway and Paula Mcdonald, Regional Director for Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders at VisitScotland. Honorary President of the Scottish Hotel Awards, Gary Mclean Quin commented:

This year the whole of Scotland will be in the global spotlight thanks to major events and the Homecoming 2014 initiative.  Our organisation knows Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire well but they are sadly often overlooked. The region offers availability of a wide range of high quality, good value accommodation, food and drink in an exceptionally busy tourism year.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Could we soon see Pine Martens back along the Colvend Coast?

A new report has shown pine martens are starting to re-colonise the south of Scotland after being absent from most of the area for nearly 200 years

Pine Marten
I love seeing Pine Martens on visits to the Highlands of Scotland so we were very excited to see this recent BBC News report last week:
Link to the BBC report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-27308955
"The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) study, with The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT), found them in three areas. The new sites are south and west of Glasgow, the Upper Tweed Valley and Annandale and Eskdalemuir.
VWT survey coordinator Lizzie Croose described the discovery of the rare animals as "significant".
Pine martens were once found throughout the UK, but suffered a dramatic decline in the 19th century due to woodland clearance, trapping for fur, and predator control by gamekeepers.
In the last half of the 20th century, however, populations recovered in Scotland and are now established in most areas north of the Central Belt, including the northern fringes of Glasgow and some other parts of the Central Belt.
The species is still rare in the UK and absent from most of England and Wales.
In 1988, the species was given full legal protection.
Now it has been discovered at the three new sites in southern Scotland after a lengthy absence.
A small number of pine martens were re-introduced to the Galloway Forest in the early 1980s, but the new arrivals are not thought to have spread from this group - which has remained in isolation. These new groups of pine martens have most likely originated from "a combination of natural spread and deliberate releases".
The great news is that:
Rob Raynor, SNH's mammal advisory officer, said that it was "quite likely" they would re-colonise most suitable habitats in southern Scotland in time.
"At present, re-colonisation of the new areas is still at an early stage, but if breeding populations do establish successfully, pine martens will probably expand throughout southern Scotland and south into northern England," he said.
These sites are not that far away from the Colvend Coast so I hope they will re-colonise this area too. Along at Sandyhills is a hill called Wildcat Hill, so it could be assumed that the Scottish Wildcat one roamed this area too.

It would be fantastic to have them here too.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Charming Little Tower House - Orchardton Tower

I often find myself drawn to this little mid 15th Century circular tower house which is quite unique in Scotland. There is something special about it and its surroundings.


Its location is just off the A711 located 4 miles south of Dalbeattie, and 1 mile south of Palnackie, in Buittle parish Grid reference - NX 817 551
Entrance to Main Body of Tower
Built by John Cairns,1456.The main body of the tower is 17ft in diameter and originally the main floor had two further floors above. It stands around 33ft high.
Standing Approx 33ft High


Historic Scotland Information Board

The Towers Neighbours
For more detailed information visit 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014



According to Royal Mail Facts and Figures D&G is one of the most romantic places in the country, due to the fact we send and receive more valentines cards than anyone else ! 

Royal mail calculated last year on the 13th of February they handled 32% more First class mail on the day before valentines in D&G and Cumbria than they would on a normal day !

So not only is D&G the marriage capital with the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop with bookings 20% up on last year for weddings in 2014. But we also have Rabbie Burns Romantic poems and Wonderful Romantic Countryside and Coastlines . So if your wanting to treat your Beloved this year on Valentines day , or any day of the year D&G is the place to be for Romance and Valentines weekend!

Many thanks to @DGWGO for Tweeting this.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Colvend - A model community

I recently found this wonderful archive on the Internet. There is lots of historic information on the area, this is a link to it:
Internet Archive - Texts

Below is an excerpt from 

Transactions and journal of the proceedings of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

from the 1892 - 93 session, it makes for fascinating reading. Here is a link to it if you want to read more: Transactions and Journals of the Proceedings of the Dumfrieshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

Below I have included a section on the Parish of Colvend which included Kippford and Rockcliffe. 

Nowadays the name Colvend is generally held to refer to a village and not the Parish. (Although it is still the Parish of Colvend). The village we know as Colvend was originally the village of Loch End as it clustered around the Southern end of White Loch. You can still see the building that used to be the Smithty, a single story, simple barn like building that stands gable on to the road (A710). It is now used as a garage for the appropriately named Forge Cottage.

It gives a wonderful insight into the history of the area and suggests that the Parish of Colvend should be a model for other Parishes and Districts. Happy reading!

Colvend differs from the majority of parishes, which, as a 
rule, are divided, and belong to a few individuals. In many 
cases a single individual owns the whole. In Colvend it is 
different. At the beginning of the time with which my paper is
concerned, the parish was divided into eighteen or nineteen 
properties, owned by as many proprietors or heritors. One of 
these properties, the Barony of Barcloy, was held in trust by the 
Kirk Session of Caerlaverock, for the poor of Caerlaverock, and 
for the higher education of the children of Caerlaverock. This 
gave rise to the witticism, "The poor of Caerlaverock are the 
lairds of Couen." Of the eighteen or nineteen properties into 
which the parish is divided, two of the larger — Fairgirth and 
Auchenskeooli have changed hands, and to the former Meikle- 
cloak has been added, to the latter Glensone and Ryes. Glen- 
stocken, the property of Mr Carrick Moore, near relative of Sir 
John Moore, the hero of Corunna, was purchased by the late 
Mark Sprot Stewart of Southwick, and is now owned by his son. 
Sir Mark J. Stewart, Bart. Kipp was acquired by purchase 
from the Crosbie family, by Mr Chalmers, the present proprietor. 
Auchenhill and Orchardknowes are owned by Lord Young, and 
Clonyard by Mr M'Call. In other respects properties in the 
parish, considered I'elatively to the number of owners, and to 
the size of the properties, continue unchanged. The number of 
landed proprietors is still nearly the .same. 

The estates and properties vary much in size and value. In 
one or two instances the rental touches or did touch, a few years 
ago, £2000. In others it ranges between £200 and £800, and 
in some instances it comes down to £50, £30, and even less. 
To me this gradation in ownership has always seemed pleasing, 
and in many respects desirable, and in this respect I have often 
considei'ed Colvend unique. I know no other parish similarly 
circumstanced as to ownership. Inseparably, indeed, connected 
with the ownership of the land are the tenantry or tenant farmers 
of a parish The tenant farmers of Colvend, like the proj)rietors, 
rent and occupy farms of varying size, and of rents varying 
according to the size and value of their holdings. Some of the 
farms in the parish are wholly agricultural, but many have 
attached to them portions of moorland or hill pasture, and in 
one or two instances the hill and moorland pasture constitutes 
the more valuable portion of the farm. The rents vary from 
£100 to £200 and £300, and in one instance runs up to £600, 
but this inchides two farms, one of which is known as what is 
called a led farm. The others graduate down to £50 or £40. 
These latter are tenanted in many cases by those who in their 
early life were farm servants, or day labourers, who have been  
industrious and saving, and were able to begin farming in a 
small way, and on their own account. From these latter not 
unfrequently spring the men who rent the largest and best 
cultivated farms in the district. This also is a feature character- 
istic of Colvel^d, and which I should gladly see extended to other 
parishes and districts.