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Grobdale of Girthon

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

We have an amazing array of sights, activities, food and wildlife to enjoy.

There is so much to do here , whatever the time of year or weather for all ages and abilities I hope you manage some of our best during your visit.

Sights

We are right inside what is called a Dark Sky Park, an area where light pollution is so low it is possible to view some of the clearest star filled skies in the country. Galloway Forest Park was classified as the first UK  dark skies park In 2009 by the international dark-sky association and has been attracting visitors ever since.

The Beaches along our coastline are varied and beautiful, the best ones are the secret coves and shell shores that you can only find with local knowledge. The sea is a short drive from the farm, about 20 – 30 minutes depending on which beach you settle on, we have lots to choose from and a map is available in each welcome pack.

A trip to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a wander around a battlement or under a portcullis. Here in D&G we have a variety of Castles to visit. There is Cardoness Castle here in our closest town Gatehouse of fleet (15 mins drive), MacLellan’s Castle in Kircudbright (30 mins drive), Threave Castle is reached via boat just outside Castle Douglas (30 mins drive) and lots more mentioned in our welcome pack.

If Gardens are your passion, we can signpost you to lots of treasures, my all time favourite has got to be Cally house Gardens which is actually in our closest town Gatehouse of fleet and an amazing walled garden home to lots of plants hunted down by the famous  Michael Wickenden (sadly died in 2016)  and now being nurtured by the ever interesting Kevin Hughes. Castle douglas has Threave House and Gardens, a National Trust for Scotland garden created over the years by the students of the trusts school of heritage gardening. In Kircudbright, Broughton House and Garden , again a NTS property hosts a Japanese inspired garden along with an impressive art collection.

Scotland conjures thoughts of lots of things, but whiskey distilleries has got to be on most of our lists of things to do. A 40 minute drive would take you to Newton Stewart and the Crafty Distillery where you can see where they make our famous Hills and Harbour gin. A further 30 minutes along the coast will get you to The Bladnoch Distillery Scotlands oldest privately owned Scotch Distillery well worth the lovely drive for the tour and a lunch. We also now have a new distillery in Kirkcudbright – The dark art distillery boasts Gin’s and spirits that use night flowering botanicals.

Galloway is very much a fun part of Scotland and keeping our children smiling is high on the priority list here, a day out to one of our many child-friendly attractions is guaranteed to please. We have Ernespie Farm Park in Castle Douglas, only opened fairly recently and already winning awards. Ernespie boasts indoor and outdoor play, farm animals to see and pet, along with seasonal themed events and an amazing café.

Wildlife

The wildlife around the farm and surrounding areas is amazing we have regular seasonal sightings of roe deer, red kites, black and red grouse, Barn owls, Eagles, Otters, red squirrel masses of birdlife I can’t even begin to start naming however I love it when I can hear the Curlews. Binoculars are a must. Occasionally we have specialists visit the farm, including our guests where possible.

 Wildlife spotting has never been easier with lots to see.  We have lots of wildlife reserves, kite feeding stations, deer parks, squirrel hides and lots of wonderful places to just sit quietly and watch the wildlife pass us by.

We have countless places to watch the wildlife but close by we have

Or you could maybe try out our new walking safari, a mainly grass tracks around and through our fields , with benches at great viewing points to sit quietly and spot the wildlife here at Grobdale .

Activities

Galloway is filled with natural resources that are perfect for outdoor adventures, a relatively new venture Galloway Canyoning is a fun way to enjoy our waterways. https://gallowaycanyoning.com/  Mike and Victoria will take you on adventures and show you some of Galloways, secret and amazing waterway treasures.

Paddleboarding is another great way to see the wildlife and countryside from a totally different perspective. Paddle boards are available for hire from both The Inn on the Loch https://www.theinnontheloch.co.uk/on-the-water  And with The Galloway activity Centre https://www.lochken.co.uk/activities/activity-options/paddle-boarding-lessons 

Cliff climbing is another fabulous way to test your fitness and enjoy a bit of an adrenalin rush, rock face scrambling at Powillimount beach has been tested by our guests and got a big, thumbs up.

Learning opportunities are a big thing here, we have cookery schools, foraging courses, painting days, stargazing, cheese making, ice cream making, bread baking, and wellness awareness. The list keeps growing and the best way to find these maybe is to follow our social media as we promote anything we think our guests might enjoy on their stay with us here at Grobdale.

There is plenty to keep us and our visitors active in the area. Horse riding is a very popular sport here, we keep ponies at Grobdale and we ride every week at Barstobrick . There are riding yards at Barstobrick where you can go for a hack or take a lesson. There is also an amazing charity horse rescue rehabilitate and rehome project just outside Gatehouse . A visit to the 3 manes or 3 R’S as its sometimes known is a must for horse lovers as its horses and scenery are breath taking .

Lycra is rife in the summer months as Cycling takes hold .The 7stanes are world-class mountain biking centres that span the south of Scotland. Their award-winning trails offer some of the best mountain biking in the country and attract riders from all over the UK and beyond.

Taking a walk here is the simplest pleasure , there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the surrounding countryside and wildlife . Many walks are marked and available to download online or buy as hardcopy printout. Everywhere you look there are markers to start a walk , even google can help . We have more details in our welcome pack.

The summer months are the most pleasant to enjoy swimming here , wild swimming is increasingly popular and something we enjoy at the farm in our own Lochen but also at the nearby Woodhall loch or in the sea at Borgue. We have indoor heated swimming pools at Castle Douglas and Kircudbright both of which are lovely.

Loch Ken boasts a fantastic water sports at the Galloway Activity Centre , the most beautiful drive ( about 30 mins ) takes you to a centre that boasts around 20 different activities from kayaking to laser tag to zip lines to sailing lessons to the open water wobbly water park course. Something to keep the most active of us busy.

Birdwatching here is stunning, we have such a varied selection it will keep most twitchers happy. I have a list from our latest enthusiast and it includes goldfinch, stonechat, chaffinch, ravens, starlings (murmaration), red kite, field fare, golden eagles, black grouse, cuckoo (heard and seen) reed bunting and the most amazing Hen harriers! And many more , come visit and add to my list.

Food

Food here is a big deal, every pub, restaurant or café that you will visit are all trying hard to impress ! We are yet to find one that we don’t like ,  Fish and chips is extremely good at Moores in Castle Douglas , the best menu ever in a chippy. The Selkirk arms in Kircudbright is my favourite place to eat Lobster (June) and Steak night at The Masonic arms in Gatenhouse is not to be missed. The Galloway lodge also in Gatehouse has the best lunch menu and on a cold day you have to try their hot chocolate it’s a Legend.. There are lots more I can recommend and we will constantly update our welcome pack as we try out new places and revisit old favourites.  

Because we are so fixated on food here , we have a few food festivals celebrating what is so fresh and fabulous here . Wigtown, Kircudbright and Castle Douglas have at least one food event a year each and there are many more especially in the summer months to look out for.

Each of the towns here are known for something and Castle Douglas ( about 30mins drive) is our Food town with around 50 different food suppliers or providers it’s a foodie heaven. The earths crust bakery , Griersons butchers and lots of other great traditional high street independents.

Kircudbright boasts a cookery school, where you can take a class, watch a demonstration or just enjoy the produce in the café. However you choose to sample the food at the Station house cookery school Nick will keep your taste buds dancing. There’s always plenty to choose from on the website.

Local produce is available everywhere you look , including the farm. Open every day 10-4 ( unless the track end sign reads closed – rare ) We sell our meat and eggs directly from the farm at our farm shop and through local restaurants. Most of the shops stock a few local suppliers , honey from Quaterlands, jam and chutney from the Galloway Lodge, Bread at The Earths crust ( their quiche is gorgeous too ) . The Galloway Smokehouse on the coastal road at Carsluith is a fabulous place to buy smoked ( or not ) fresh fish , meat, cheese and other items along with a lovely restaurant next door.

Shopping and events

Castle douglas is known as a food town , Kircudbright is the artists town  and Wigtown is known for its bookshops and cafes . Lots of our towns have specialities with lots going on. Each town usually has a website or facebook page that can give up to date details of the various activities going on , lots of the towns have a ‘Gala week’ during the summer (one usually follows another so it’s likely  you will be able to experience at least one of them . The Gala week usually finishes with a common ‘Riding of the Marches’ , a spectacular sight and experience everyone should see if they can , the torchlight procession is also a must in Gatehouse . Common Riding of the Marches is a tradition almost 700 years old where the landowners big and small would once a year ride the boundaries (marches) of the town to check that it’s landmarks (crosses, cairns, wells and streams) had not been tampered with or altered in any way by the English therefore the Burgh boundaries were maintained in good order.

Culture

Galloway is filled with history, music, art and culture there are many attractions and events to satisfy all of your interests here.

CatStrand is a multi-use venue with a fully equipped and adaptable auditorium, a licensed café and gift shop. Open 7 days per week, Catstrand offers a regular range of events including theatre, music, comedy, exhibitions and cinema plus fitness classes and activities for all ages. Their popular licensed cafe is open 7 days for light lunches, home baking and tea & coffee. The Gift shop stocks a great range of locally produced crafts, quality gifts and tourist maps and guides.

Galloway has a rich and varied history that is apparent in many different forms, from the Torhouse stone circle to the Rispain camp and iron age fortified camp to the incredible stones at Cairn Holy close to Gatehouse of Fleet but a visit to Whithorn where they have a variety of exhibits and walks but also includes access to the Iron Age roundhouse reconstruction via guided tour, and the Museum of early mediaeval carved stones.

If Music festivals are your thing then Dumfries and Galloway is the place to come, we have The Eden festival here (in June, near Moffat) and Electric Fields and a World Ceilidh too! It takes place in the stunning landscape of Drumlanrig, just north of Thornhill. It takes place during the last weekend in August each year. The longest running, much loved outdoor music festival in the region is the World Ceilidh, set in the remote uplands of Galloway. Famous for its consistent championing of World Music, the World Ceilidh takes visitors into a remote but magical world, the antidote to the stresses of modern urban life.

Brief History of the area

The local area in general is seen as an area of outstanding natural beauty we have the dark skies park right here and the Fleet valley national scenic area to enjoy . Dumfries and Galloway hosts three of scotlands national scenic areas, one of which The Fleet valley is right on our doorstep in gatehouse of Fleet . An area not to be missed and a must for the walkers and photographers who visit us each year.

Our nearest town is Gatehouse of Fleet, and has a lovely history. Although the town only dates back to the 1760s, the area around Gatehouse of Fleet has been inhabited since pre-history. Nearby Neolithic and Bronze Age antiquities include the chambered cairns at Cairnholy and Trusty’s Hill fort with its Pictish stone carvings, known as the De’il’s Specs (Devil’s Spectacles). Cardoness Castle, the 15th century tower of the McCullochs, keeps watch over the Fleet estuary, while the roofless old kirk at Anwoth yields fascinating insights into Scotland’s turbulent religious past.Gatehouse owes its development to the entrepreneur James Murray of Broughton, whose great house, Cally – now a high class hotel – was completed in 1765. The original Gait House was simply a staging post on the important route to Portpatrick and Ireland, but from 1760-1850 the town grew into a thriving centre.In 1795 gatehouse had cotton mills, a brass foundry, brewery, brickworks, soap factory, tanneries – and double its present day population.Today it is hard to imagine that Gatehouse was once known as “the Glasgow of the South” but traces of its industrial past remain in its buildings and street names.The Mill on the Fleet was one of the factories built by the Birtwhistle family from Yorkshire, and its water-wheel is driven by the eastern lade that flows behind the High Street houses.The Mill on the Fleet is host to events throughout the year ranging from local acts to international artists. Port Macadam, once the town’s harbour, lies on the stretch of the Fleet that was canalised in 1824, and used to receive up to 150 ships a year.

Dumfries and Galloway has an enormous list of both natural and manmade attractions, and can keep all ages and abilities entertained all day every day. We have visitors that come back two to three times a year with a very common comment.

We just haven’t seen everything yet