Catering is back on 
menu at visitor centre

A business reliant on visitors to the Galloway Forest Park has praised the owners of a local tearoom for ending the catering crisis at the visitor centre next door to them.

Getting refreshments in the forest park this summer has proved challenging after negotiations between the Forestry Commission and Churchill Catering broke down at Easter. It left parched walkers and cyclists without catering. But this week the Forestry Commission said Barry and Jennifer Turnbull from the Stables tearoom were provinding refreshments at Kirroughtree.

Sam Hill from Brake Pad, a bike shop and bike hire establishment near the Kirroughtree centre, said: “The lack of a tearoom was affecting our business but the Stables has jumped at the chance and it’s a massive relief to us.

“This is a very busy time of year, crucial for this region, and after the previous catering company pulled out leaving the Forestry Commission in the doo-doo, we had to scramble together some facilties to give people a cup of tea and slice of cake!”

The Forestry Commission has hinted it is close to competing tendering arrangements for the three visitor centres in the forest park, at Kirroughtree, Clatteringshaws and Glentrool, after upgrading work to them all is completed.

A spokesman said: “Forestry Commission Scotland opens the Galloway Forest Park visitor centres from Easter each year and close in October. This Easter we took a temporary licence with a catering company while the construction continued. But this agreement fell through.

“As a public body, we have no option but to re-tender so we can pull in another company to temporarily provide catering at Kirroughtree. Through that tender, Barry and Jennifer Turnbull of the Stables were successful and opened for business on July 6.

“We have also been working on a full tendering exercise to find catering companies to run all the visitor centres on a permanent basis.”