Flashback Friday #31

In 2014 we took an add-on holiday to Dumfries and Galloway after spending a week in the Lake District based at Keswick. It is not a part of Scotland either of us had visited before, but it turned out to be one of the best holidays we have had.


The Gatehouse of Fleet

The town takes its name from its location near the mouth of the river called the Water of Fleet which empties into Wigtown Bay at Fleet Bay, and its former role as the “Gait House” or “the House on the Road on the River Fleet” or toll booth of the late 18th century stagecoach route from Dumfries to Stranraer, now the A75 road. It was a safe haven along this route, and travellers would often stop in the area rather than furthering the journey at night due to the high numbers of bandits and highwaymen at the time. Wikipedia

We drove a few miles from Kirkcudbright to visit the converted mill ‘The Mill on the Fleet‘ (1788) to have  a look at the art gallery and bookshop and also have coffee and cake on the terrace at the  Tart n’ Tea  café. The most delicious cream choux pastry I have ever eaten.  Cardoness Castle is on the outskirts of the town too and Cally Nursery, which I didn’t get the time to visit.

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Having picked up a leaflet from the Information Office in Kirkcudbright of a Walking Tour of the town I dragged the OH off for a stroll.  I think he’d have quite happily remained on the terrace or in the second-hand bookshop if it hadn’t been closing time.

The Mill and Terrace

Leaving the Mill behind you cross over a pedestrian bridge and through the park to the Riverbank – a housing project built in the 1950s to cope with the overcrowding and poor conditions in Gatehouse. Turning left on to Hannay Street you pass an interesting little Episcopal Church with robin’s egg coloured painted windows.

DSCF8584And on the corner stands the rather dilapidated Ship Inn (previously Anworth Hotel) where Dorothy L Sayers wrote Five Red Herrings. One of the Gatehouse artists of the ’20s and ’30s, Alice Sturrock, also lived along here.

Continue reading Flashback Friday #31

Kirkcudbright Harbour

rust

noun
  1. a reddish- or yellowish-brown flaking coating of iron oxide that is formed on iron or steel by oxidation, especially in the presence of moisture.

    The fishing fleet in Kirkcudbright provided me with plenty of photos for this week’s word challenge, those ‘torture instruments’ are used for dredging scallops – I think!

    rust

New Abbey Buildings

Although the main reason for visiting New Abbey was the delightful Sweetheart Abbey, we also took a stroll along the main street to the Corn Mill at the bottom. There are some interesting houses and windows that I thought I’d share with you.

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From the carpark at the Sweetheart Abbey head back to the road and turn right through the village down to the working Corn Mill. Pass several single-storey rubble-stone, whitewashed cottages like this pretty blue-painted framed openings with roses around the door.

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Rosewall

Mid/late 18th century. Single storey 3-bay cottage with central door and 2 carved stones incorporated. Carved stones represent a) 3 men in a boat, b) rose motif in incomplete pediment.

The Port House

Probably late 16th/17th century, but heightened late in 18th or in first quarter of 19th century, and openings altered.

The Hermitage

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Windows filled with interesting old glass bottles.

And two village pubs facing each other across the square.

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and another house with an interesting plaque

And finally the Corn Mill

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Now under the care of Historic Scotland, this three-storey whitewashed mill building was built towards the end of the 18th century by the Stewarts of nearby Shambellie House. However, it is thought that it reaches back much later than that, perhaps to as early as the late 13th century, when the Cistercian monks established their monastery of Dulce Cor (‘Sweet Heart’ ) at the far end of the village;  today the mill is still known locally as ‘Monks’ Mill’.

Behind the mill is an 1806 Masonic Lodge converted to church hall 1887; now a dwelling house.

New Abbey must rank amongst the prettiest settlements in the area with its whitewashed cottages overlooked by the Abbey ruins.

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If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.

Or if your interest is windows then Dawn from ‘The Day After’  invites participants to post pictures of any windows that  they find curious, inviting, photogenic, or in some way tell a story.

The Gatehouse of Fleet

The town takes its name from its location near the mouth of the river called the Water of Fleet which empties into Wigtown Bay at Fleet Bay, and its former role as the “Gait House” or “the House on the Road on the River Fleet” or toll booth of the late 18th century stagecoach route from Dumfries to Stranraer, now the A75 road. It was a safe haven along this route, and travellers would often stop in the area rather than furthering the journey at night due to the high numbers of bandits and highwaymen at the time. Wikipedia

We drove a few miles from Kirkcudbright to visit the converted mill ‘The Mill on the Fleet‘ (1788) to have  a look at the art gallery and bookshop and also have coffee and cake on the terrace at the  Tart n’ Tea  café. The most delicious cream choux pastry I have ever eaten.  Cardoness Castle is on the outskirts of the town too and Cally Nursery, which I didn’t get the time to visit.

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Having picked up a leaflet from the Information Office in Kirkcudbright of a Walking Tour of the town I dragged the OH off for a stroll.  I think he’d have quite happily remained on the terrace or in the second-hand bookshop if it hadn’t been closing time.

Leaving the Mill behind you cross over a pedestrian bridge and through the park to the Riverbank – a housing project built in the 1950s to cope with the overcrowding and poor conditions in Gatehouse. Turning left on to Hannay Street you pass an interesting little Episcopal Church with robin’s egg coloured painted windows.

DSCF8584And on the corner stands the rather dilapidated Ship Inn (previously Anworth Hotel) where Dorothy L Sawyers wrote Five Red Herrings. One of the Gatehouse artists of the ’20s and ’30s, Alice Sturrock, also lived along here.

The town harbour used to be here, but no longer. The river is still tidal at this point. Turn left onto the High Street and cross the road bridge.

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In front of you to the left is the Spar and Post Office which were once a tannery. Opposite was a former brewery complex, now flats.

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Continuing up the High Street the red sandstone building was the Town Hall. Now only the front remains, the rest of the building demolished in 1978 and replaced by a lovely little public garden that leads into Garries Park.

Naturally we took the garden route and after passing the bowling green (below) we came out on Ann Street.

Bowling Green
Bowling Green
View from the Bowling Green
View from the Bowling Green

The Cotton Mill (Scott’s Mill) at the top of Ann Street

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Ann Street

Ann Street

At the bottom of Ann Street is the clock tower (1871) and on the left in the courtyard of the Murray Arms is the original gatehouse. This building predates the town and may have been an inn on the old road to the ford.

The Murray Arms
The Murray Arms

Also in Ann Street is the Masonic Arms and opposite the Cally Estate office which looks to be under renovation. This, along with other local locations, featured in the cult movie The Wickerman.

Crossing the High Street we headed along Castramont Street, past the Parish Church with masses of Philadelphus (mock orange) scenting the evening air.

a rather quirky decorated house (now this would have been a good photo for the Kitsch challenge)

and down Birtwistle Road with its rather lovely row of workers’ cottages and back into the Mill grounds by way of a gate at the end of the lane.

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And the final thing I saw and photographed was a lovely oyster-catcher in the park. Now a reminder of a dear blogging friend.

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Source: Fleet Valley Trails Town Trail leaflet (Dumfries and Galloway Council)

If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.

Historic Dumfries and Galloway

Historic sites are scattered through the glorious region of  Dumfries and Galloway. Being the border county with England there is a history of battles. Till the 12th century, when it came under the Normans, the eastern Solway had alternated between English and Scottish rule.

We passed several interesting looking properties on the way to somewhere else, though nearly always during the evening when the grounds were closed. Fortunately some were quite small and close to the road so we were able to take photographs.

Threave Castle

Located in one of the more interesting locations, this castle is built on an island in the middle of the River Dee and you have to take a small boat across. A lovely circular walk from the entrance takes you through Kelton Mains farm to a small wood leading to the river. A number of bird hides can be found along the route, including one to view an osprey nest.

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This massive tower house was built in the late 14th century by Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway. It became the stronghold of the Black Douglases and still today, round its base you can see the artillery fortification, an innovative defence years ahead of its time, built before 1455 when James II besieged the castle. (Threave Castle)

Cardoness Castle

A fine example of a six storey Scottish tower-house castle, Cardoness Castle was built in the later 15th century as the fortified residence of the McCullochs.  Its battlements command excellent views over Fleet Bay.

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MacLellan’s Castle

MacLellan’s Castle was named after Sir Thomas MacLellan of Bombie (d. 1597). Sir Thomas was provost of Kirkcudbright and a powerful man in local politics. Following the Protestant Reformation in 1560, he acquired the site and buildings of the convent of Greyfriars, established in the town by James II in 1449, and set about building himself a new residence in its place. By 1582, MacLellan’s Castle was sufficiently complete for him to move in. Five years later, he and his second wife, Grissel, entertained their sovereign, James VI, in this spacious house.

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The remains of this late 16th century house shows how architecture changed from the heavily defended tower house to a new, more domestic scale.

Dundrennan Abbey

Dundrennan Abbey was founded in 1142 by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, with the help of King David I of Scotland. The white-robed Cistercian monks came from Rievaulx Abbey, in North Yorkshire. After establishing the abbey at Dundrennan, monks went forth to found two more Cistercian abbeys in Galloway – Glenluce, near Stranraer, around 1190, and Sweetheart, in the village of New Abbey, south of Dumfries, in 1273.

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The abbey‘s most famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots. On 15 May 1568, she was welcomed at the gates following her escape from Lochleven Castle, near Kinross, and her defeat at Langside, beside Glasgow. Mary was making for England and the comparative safety, so she thought, of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England. On the following morning she boarded a boat bound for the Cumberland coast. She never returned to her native land.

Sweetheart Abbey

Sweetheart Abbey was founded in 1273 by Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John Balliol. In 1268, Lord John Balliol died. His grieving widow, Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway, had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket. She carried it with her everywhere. When she too died in 1289, she was laid to rest in front of the abbey church’s high altar, clutching her husband’s heart to her bosom.

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The graceful ruin nestles between the grey bulk of Criffel and the shimmering waters of the Solway Firth, whilst its blood-red sandstone walls contrast with the lush green grass at their feet.

Carsluith Castle

Carsluith Castle is a lightly-defended tower house. It is typical of the many L-planned tower houses built by the landed gentry throughout Scotland after the Protestant Reformation of 1560.  This eye-catching tower is on the road between Newton Stuart and Dumfries. And next to it is the Markbury Smokehouse.

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