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Archive for the ‘Local Attractions’ Category

Dark Skies

27th February 2017

Dark Skies in Galloway Forest Park

Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe and Galloway Forest Park is one of the darkest places in Scotland, which is why it’s the UK’s first Dark Sky Park. So few people live within the Forest Park that the nights really are inky black, making it a brilliant place to enjoy the stars – and we’re working with local people to keep it that way.

A stellar spectacular

Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye from the Forest Park, and the bright band of the Milky Way is usually easy to see arching across the sky. There’s a new show every night because, as we travel round the sun, we’re getting a constantly changing view of the stars. Which seasonal celestial displays will you spot?

Limited light pollution

Galloway Forest Park has around 75,000 hectares of land, where limited numbers of buildings means we can keep light pollution to a minimum. In addition, we have some control over development of this land, making it easier to control sources of light.

How dark is dark?

The Forest Park has a Sky Quality Meter (SQM) scale reading of 21 to 23.6. The SQM scale runs from 0 to 25 and, to put it in context, in the middle of a major city such as Glasgow or Edinburgh, you would get a reading of around 8, whereas a reading of 24 would be measured in a photographer’s dark room. Based on this scale, the Forest Park’s score gives us as near to total darkness – meaning clear, starry skies for all to enjoy.

Visiting the Dark Sky Park

You’ll get a great view from any of the three visitor centres – particularly at Clatteringshaws, which overlooks the unlit heart of the Forest Park. There are Dark Sky information points at the visitor centres and at a series of sites across the Forest Park to help you identify the constellations and planets you can see, and there are panoramic viewing points at either end of the Carrick Forest Drive in the northern part of the Forest Park.


27th February 2017

Kirroughtree – Walks and cycling trails for all

There are way-marked walks and cycle routes including the exciting 7 stanes mountain bike trails and an easy access trail around the pond.


The forestry visitor centre with tea room is the start point for several woodland walk options which are separate from the popular mountain bike trails.


The Bruntis trail is 1.5 miles, The Viewpoint Trail is 2.5 miles and the Larg Hill Trail is 4 miles. The Papa Ha Trail, follow the woodpecker signs, is a long 4 miles which includes short sections on minor roads. A 3.5 miles easy flat tarred and forestry road route around the Palnure Burn is also a quiet route for a stroll.


The extended and improved adventure play area and picnic sites will appeal to the younger visitor.


Kirroughtree Visitor Centre opening times: 10.30am – 4.30pm daily.
The welcoming tea room serves light meals & refreshments. You can browse around the gift shop for that special souvenir.
Visit the centre for fun for all the family. The friendly staff offer information on all forest facilities.


An indoor forest classroom is available by arrangement for schools and groups.

Glen Trool

27th February 2017

Glen Trool

Loch Trool is renowned as having some of the finest scenery in southern Scotland. Lying in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park it offers the visitor a perfect example of the unspoilt and untamed nature of Galloway as you circumnavigate the loch on the Glentrool Trail.
Sitting in an elevated position above Loch Trool lies the evocatively named Bruce’s Stone, commemorating the famous battle of Glentrool between the Scots loyal to Robert the Bruce and the tyrannical English forces. Also towering above the loch is the highest peak in southern Scotland, the Merrick. Popular with climbers and hikers alike there is a clearly defined pathway to the summit by way of Benyellary. Those who make the effort are well rewarded on a clear day with full 360 degree views of Galloway and Ayrshire.
Some three miles from Loch Trool is the Glentrool Visitor Centre which acts as the trailhead for one of the world famous 7stanes mountain bike trails. Also nearby are the small hamlets of Glentrool Village, a village created to house the once many forest workers and their families and now a popular provider of holiday homes and self catering properties and Bargrennan, home of the famous House o’ Hill Inn a welcome halt on the 212 mile Southern Upland Way.
Glentrool Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Galloway hills, where you can pick up maps and information on the hill ranges. The Merrick, South Scotland’s highest mountain at nearly 2,800ft can be climbed from Bruce’s Stone.

Sample the Highlands of the Lowlands and sit by the stunning water of Minnoch and falls, beside the visitor centre which offers information, refreshments and gift shop.

There are waymarked trails, cycle routes and picnic areas.

Glen Luce Abbey

24th February 2017

Glen Luce Abbey.

Founded around 1192, Glenluce is situated in a beautiful and peaceful valley. Visitors can see an exhibition of objects excavated on the site

The location in the secluded valley of the Water of Luce, easily conveying a sense of the isolation and peaceful tranquillity that was so important to the Cistercian way of life.
The south transept isa well-preserved fragment of 13th-century Cistercian church architecture.
The chapter house built around 1500 and still roofed and entire, with fine architectural features and a wonderful acoustic.
The museum of monastic life is a fascinating collection of artefacts found during clearance work.

Ailsa Craig

24th February 2017

Ailsa Craig.

This distinctive dome-shaped island-rock lies 10 miles (16 km) off the coast of South Ayrshire and rises sharply from the Firth of Clyde to a height of 340m (1114 feet).

Ailsa Craig, which comes from the Gaelic for ‘Fairy Rock’, is 1200m (1300 yards) long and 800m (900 yards) wide, with an area of 100 Ha (245 acres). It is also known as Paddy’s Milestone owing to its position as a landmark en route from Ireland.

The island was the heart of an ancient volcano, its rock exhibiting fine columnar structure and was renown as the source of a superior micro-granite used to fashion curling stones. Indeed, most curling stones still in use today were made from Ailsa Craig granite.

By the late 19th Century the island had a population of 29 people, working in the quarries or the lighthouse, which was built in 1883-6 by Thomas Stevenson and his nephew David.

However, since the closure of the quarries and automation of the light, Ailsa Craig has been inhabited only by a sizeable and important colony of seabirds. The dramatic seacliffs are home to the third largest gannetry in the UK – comprising 36,000 pairs – with a supporting cast of guillemots, razorbills, black guillemots and increasing numbers of puffins.

It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area because it supports 73,000 breeding seabirds.

The island is accessible by boat from Girvan.

Martyrs Tomb

24th February 2017

Martyrs’ Tomb Walk

In 1665, by the side of Cross Water in Barrhill, John Murchie and Daniel Mieklewrick were found by soldiers to be in possession of Bibles and assumed to be Covenanters and shot to death. They were buried on the spot, and a memorial was built, known as “The Martyrs’ Tomb”.
A modern inscribed monument erected in 1825 within a walled enclosure marks the grave of John Murchie and Daniel Meiklewrick, two Convenanters who were shot and buried here in 1685. Three fragments of an earlier tombstone, inscribed on one side “Here lys John Murchie and Daniel McJlurick martyrs by bloody Drummon they were shot 1685”, and on the other “Renewed by Gilbt McIlurick in Alticonnach 1787”, lie within the enclosure. The former inscription must have been on the original stone, as it appears in the “Cloud of Witnesses”, published in 1730.

“The Martyrs’ Tomb Walk” is now a popular scenic walk which follows the banks of Cross Water for 600 metres from the bridge in the village centre to the tomb itself.