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.

Red Squirrels along the Scottish Riviera

Red Squirrels along the Colvend Coast need YOUR help!

The Colvend Coast is a stronghold for Red Squirrels and both visitors to the area delight in seeing this iconic wee cutie (thanks @BirchleaLodge for coining that phrase, we love it!) almost as much as do the locals and residents. 

Red Squirrels can be spotted regularly when you are out and about: raiding bird feeders in gardens (a noteworthy spot is just outside the conservatory where breakfast is served for guests at Millbrae House, Rockcliffe) but also whilst walking in the forests and wooded areas. A great walk for Red Squirrel spotting along the Colvend Coast is along the side of White Loch or indeed anywhere in Dalbeattie Forest. 

Indeed we consider ourselves very lucky as there are now only around 120,000 Red Squirrels left in the UK, with about 75% of the population being found in Scotland.

Iconic wee cutie on the feeders at Riverview Lodge, Kippford

However, the problem is that as their cross-country routes straddle  the A710 several points between Southwick, Colvend, Kippford, Rockcliffe, Barnbarroch and along the road down into Rockcliffe, they are sadly, and all too frequently, casualties of RTAs (Road Traffic Accidents).

As attempts to teach the squirrels the Green Cross Code would likely prove fruitless, and none appear to be members of the Tufty Club (for benefit of pre 1970's readers), it would seem that the best way to help these wee beasties crossing the road in safety is to alert drivers to the hazard (for the Squirrels not the motorists). 

Whilst driving in the area please be on extra alert & look out for Red Squirrels crossing the roads. Especially along the A710, where you may be moving too fast to avoid them.

Information for the supplementary feeding Red squirrels
Here is a link to lots of useful information on feeding Red squirrels, 
It is the most comprehensive information we have found on supplementary feeding of the species.
Red Squirrels: Supplementary feeding guidelines - courtesy of The Northern Ireland Squirrel Forum

however, conservationists stress the importance of NOT feeding them unless you are prepared to follow a few simple guidelines designed to protect the squirrels. Also 

... as a diet rich in peanuts may cause calcium deficiency, as will sweet, dried food such as raisins and sultanas.

We feed Carrots, Apples and Sunflower seeds along with a Cuttle Fish added during the breeding season for the lactating Mums.

Where to see Red Squirrels in Dumfries & Galloway
This is a link to the Red Squirrels in South Scotland (RSSS) website.

Scottish Wildlife Trust is collecting information on the distribution of red and grey squirrels right across Scotland. To allow them not only to identify areas of importance where habitat management or grey squirrel control will benefit red squirrel populations, but also to understand natural changes in their populations. The data will be shared with local biological records centres and the national database of squirrel records. You can help  by reporting your sightings of red or grey squirrels in each new place where you see them.

Reporting your squirrel sightings here:

Many thanks on behalf of the iconic wee cuties of Kippford & Rockcliffe

You can find more information on Red Squirrels on the following websites: