A round-up of Galloway Gossip

GALLOWAY Gossip for edition of Galloway Gazette, Friday 4 March.

Glen of Luce


A SMALLER number of members attended the February meeting on the 14th and were welcomed by president Mrs Lindsay Galloway. The Rural Song was then sung and secretary Mrs Betty McDowall read the minutes of the December and January meetings.

Intimations were then read from the Federation secretary asking for names of those wishing to attend an outing to Glasgow on Wednesday, May 25th, either to see a show at Kings Theatre or spend the day shopping. A four day trip to Donegal was being held from Sunday, September 4th. Classes are also being arranged in patchwork, further details from our secretary. Invitations from two institutes were read out and names taken of those wishing to entertain.

Our speaker for the evening, Mr Keith Muir from The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, was then introduced. Mr Muir proceeded to tell of how the dark sky status had been awarded to the Galloway Forest Park in 2010, the first in the UK. The main goal was to stop adverse effect of light pollution; raise awareness of light pollution, its adverse effects and its solutions; and to educate people about the value of quality outdoor lighting.

Mr Muir then showed slides of various star constellations, the Milky Way, planet Jupiter – the largest planet in the solar system which has 63 moons, and slides of the night sky reflecting on local lochs. Key viewing points are Galloway Red Deer Range car park, Clatteringshaws Visitor car park, The Raiders Road, to name a few.

Having taken questions from the audience, Mr Muir concluded his talk and was warmly thanked by Lindsay.

Hostess Mrs Isobel Guilline, assisted by Mrs Kathleen McWhirter and Mrs Helen Park, then provided a most enjoyable supper.

The competitions for the evening were judged by Mrs Mary Ramsay as follows:- Decorated Valentine cake – 1, Mrs M Stewart; 2, Mrs B McDowall; 3, Mrs S Stewart. Handmade invitation to a picnic – 1, Mrs M Stewart; 2, Mrs S Stewart.

The raffle was then drawn and Mrs K Copeland gave a comprehensive vote of thanks.

Newton Stewart


Friday, February 25th:- Ladies – 1, Margaret L; 2, Nan; cons, Nina. Gents – 1, Susan; 2, Fiona; cons, Pat.

Monday, February 28th:- Ladies – 1, Mary G; 2, Nina; cons, Myra Mc M. Gents – 1, Bill; 2, Betty; cons, Myra R.



On Tuesday 15th February, members of Twynholm Rural gathered for their monthly meeting. The President, Mrs.June Dinnell welcomed the members and the minutes from the last meeting were read and approved, and the majority of the evening’s business was concluded.

Members were then introduced to the evening’s speaker, Sally Eastgate, who came to entertain members with her talk on Broughton House, Kirkcudbright, the former residence of Peter Hornel, one of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ group of Artists. Rather than give a general talk on the house, or the works of Hornel, Sally explained that the evening was to be devoted to the recently digitalised images that had formerly been stored on glass plate negatives. Due to their age, these plates were in desperate need of rescue as they had stated to deteriorate. Members were shown a photograph of a glass plate negative, and its digitalised image. It was easy to understand the need for urgency when the two were compared.

The newly digitalised photographs produced such clear images that visitors have been able to recognise family members when visiting the Broughton House, and have helped some families with their genealogical research. The models shown on the images were later used as the basis for many of the paintings Hornel produced.

Clarification of the images has also revealed the information they contain about social and local history and details of Broughton House at the time. The latter images have been particularly useful in providing guidance for ongoing conservation projects.

Sally’s dynamic, enthusiastic and amusing talk reassured members that the future of Broughton House is in safe hands while she works there!

After the talk, Jo Love gave a report on the recent meeting of the Stewatry Federation of Rurals, and results of recent competitions were given by June Dinnell.

The evening was concluded with the presentation of her certificate to our latest Honorary Member of Twynholm Rural, Mrs. Jean Harrison.

Competitions: Valentine Card, Linda Freidrichson; Flower of the Month, 1st Agnes Watson, 2nd Irene Manson, 3rd Anne McCulloch; Pancakes 1st June Dinnell, 2nd Mary McMorran.

Port William


PORT William Bridge Results:- N/S – 1, Hugh Paterson and John McCourtney 3600; 2, Anne and Russell McClymont 1590; 3, Barbara Gaw and Lynn Drummond 520. E/W – 1, Alan Williams and Peter Bedford 2540; 2, Margaret Campbell and Veronica Kingston 810; 3, Mary Maxwell and Joyce Kinnear 20.



PRESIDENT Nancy Birse welcomed everyone to our February meeting on the 15th in the McMillan Hall. Business was discussed.

Our speaker for the evening was local freelance photographer Eric Sloan who gave us a very interesting talk and lots of advice on photography. He answered all of our questions. Eric also brought along photographs he had taken of many local scenes. They were very good.

Vice president Joan McKie thanked Eric for coming and Nancy asked him to judge our competitions.

Hostesses for the evening were Margaret and May who provided us with a lovely supper.

Competition results:- Scenic photograph – 1, Joan McKie; 2, Margaret Agnew; 3, Nancy Birse. Heart shaped item – 1, Janet Purdie; 2, Margaret Agnew; 3, Eleanor McCreadie.

We will meet again on March 15th when our speaker will be Carine McClelland.



Our President Sheila Taylor, welcomed members, and as our Secretary was delayed, our January minutes will be read in March.

Sheila dealt with the business and explained that the Federation Trip is fully booked, and it is also proposed to have a day trip to Glasgow to see the Sound of Music & tea at Dobies on the return journey.

In an effort to raise funds two Bingo sessions are to be held, 1. Thurs 25th March in Stranraer, & 2. Thurs ? 21st or 28th April in the Machars. Fed President Sheila Affia proposes a Garden Party in Stair Park in June.

We were thanked by the Boxing Club for our catering at their recent Tournament, which was very successful. Our best wishes are sent to Margaret Storey who is unwell and in Newton Stewart Hospital.

Sheila then introduced Mrs Elma Carle & her Teddies, Elma told us she is an Arctophile ( Bear Lover) and introduced us to Big Ted, who she had been given as a wedding present 50 years age, and was the start of her collection. We were then regaled with stories & teddies related to these, and soon a large table was covered with a great assortment of teddies large, medium & small. Elma was very entertaining & caused much hilarity, it was agreed we had had a great night.

A lovely supper was served plus a warming bowl of soup which was very welcome. Competitions were judged & winners were Gingerbread Man. 1st. Margaret Elkin. 2nd. Margaret Turner. Handmade Toy, 1st. Sheila Taylor. 2nd. Mary Pattison. 3rd. Margaret Elkin.

Our raffle was drawn, and Mary Pattison thanked Elma for a very interesting talk & enjoyable night. Sheila thanked Mary and her helpers for our lovely supper & all other members who had helped.



A bright and sunny morning greeted the 22 ramblers who gathered at Lochnaw Home farm on Saturday, for a walk of castles and coast.

A farm track was followed through woods which were carpeted with drifts of snowdrops, the warmth and sunshine making a welcome change from the weather of recent walks. After crossing the B738 another farm track led straight to the shore at Larbrax Bay, where a beautiful, wide, sandy beach and shining sea delighted the eyes.

Here the path swung around to gain the cliff edges with an Iron Age hill fort.

The coast was now followed northwards, every step enlivened by wonderful views, with Ireland emerging from the distant clouds. The ramblers scrambled down through boggy undergrowth to reach Salt Pans Bay.

Another Iron Age fort is hidden here amongst the rocks but the most conspicuous remains are from the 17th century buildings associated with salt works, which used local peat to evaporate salt water, and which were in operation for about 200 years. Lunch was taken at this sheltered and pretty spot.

The walk now led inland past a fascinating round shelter by Loch More, used by game hunters on the recently defunct shooting estate. Now ducks and cormorants were the only hunters around, enjoying an afternoon fishing on the loch.

Galdenoch Castle, an L-shaped, 16th century tower house in ruinous condition, was the next point of interest with crow steps and commemoration plaque. Numerous eucalyptus trees grew within its enclosing wall, displaying their beautiful peeling bark to advantage in the sunshine.

After following the farm track to the road, the ramblers eventually entered the grounds of Lochnaw estate once more at Kathleen cottage, and took a snowdrop path to the loch side, where two resident swans were serenely drifting about. The castle looked at its best from here, with reflective water in the foreground, and a backdrop of woods, surmounted by the lookout of Kinsale tower.

Recent work on the walled garden, with fruit bushes and trees planted up, were viewed through gates, before the castle itself, with sunken garden and renovated stonework, rose magnificently before the walkers. Built in the 15th century by the Agnews, the most recent owner is doing a splendid job, refurbishing this building and the surrounding estate.

Only a short walk remained, past the old laundry, and a building which used to store the game shot on the estate, before Lochnaw Home farm was reached again. An interesting, varied walk enhanced by the warm sunshine had been enjoyed by the ramblers, who now decamped to Kirkland tearoom for welcome refreshments.Next week’s walk is a strenuous trek up the Merrick . Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer 9.00am (Note:-the wrong time of 9.30 am has been printed on the programme), Riverside , Newton Stewart, 9.30am , and Bruce’s Stone car park, NX416 804, 10am . Please phone walk leader if going straight to the start. 01776 870441. New members will be made most welcome.


Three visits to Iceland have given Alan Wake time to explore the wonderful landscape and to study and photograph some of its amazing wild flowers.

Iceland has been shaped by volcanic activity, ice and savage winds. Around the coast there are sea stacks, caves and arches, wide estuaries and many islands. Inland there are huge lakes and fast flowing rivers crashing down high, rocky waterfalls. Glaciers are never far away but in places the ground is hot with a whiff of sulphur in the air and there are geysers spouting plumes of warm water. Dominating the landscape are the lava flows and cliffs displaying magnificent basalt columns, all the result of recent or long ago volcanic activity.

This would not appear to be the most welcoming environment for delicate flowers, ferns and grasses but in spring and summer there is a profusion of beautiful plants. Many of the flowers are found high up in the mountains of Scotland, alpine moss campion, fleabane and rock speedwell for example. The oyster plant found along the Galloway coast and the sea-pea, native to Suffolk, both grow happily in Iceland. There are many rare and beautiful plants, coral root, spotted and frog orchids, trailing azalea and lovely little cassiope seem to thrive .The list is long and even includes plants not native to Iceland, blue poppies, for example, in the Botanic Gardens.

Iceland is about the size of Ireland but very sparsely populated. Agriculture is difficult, a few sheep and cows and very small areas of arable land, so it has masses of open country. Alan delighted in the wonderful accessibility of the place. Plants found on the tops of mountains elsewhere in Europe grow at ground level in Iceland and the lack of ‘keep out’ signs, fences and barbed wire make it a paradise for botanists and walkers. The small villages are delightful, quirky church architecture and often a small café. And for evening entertainment there are the beautiful and awesome Northern Lights.

No visitor to Iceland can ignore the volcanoes. Alan showed a photograph of the volcano of last year’s dust clouds, taken before the eruption, it looked remarkably benign. Another volcano, Hekla last erupted in 1947 after 21 previous eruptions. All the volcanoes are notoriously unpredictable. Somehow the population has learnt to live with the constant threat.

Alan’s talk was enlivened by many interesting facts and amusing anecdotes. A great way to cheer up a dreich afternoon.

The next speaker on Tuesday the 8th of March is Ian Dewhirst from Yorkshire, his subject is The Home Front in World War ll. Followed by Andy Nicholson on the 15th of March who will talk about the Vikings in Galloway.

Both meetings in the Wigtown and Bladnoch Golf Clubhouse at 2.30

For more information call Bill Stuart 01988 403494


WIGTOWN and District Bridge Club results Wednesday, February 23rd:- N/S – 1, May Cowan and Ann Mactier -1440; 2, Margaret Baird and Mary Sharp -1900; 3, Margaret Erskine and Madge Vance -3360. E/W – 1, Margaret Campbell and Hugh Paterson +3340; 2, Fay Halliday and Margaret Parker +3190; 3, Lesley McNaught and Betty Marshall +1430.


Laughter, signs of frustration and lots of puffing and panting were the sounds which reverberated around the Millenium Centre in Stranraer when rural members from all over Wigtownshire competed in the federation round of the Ruralympics. Indoor curling target, badminton shuttlecock into a bucket, relay through the hoop, kiwi and spoon, netball shoot and a puzzle were all attempted with varying degrees of success by teams of four. The six teams with the best scores will represent Wigtownshire against Stewartry and Dumfriesshire at the annual match to be held this year at the Millenium Centre on 2nd April at 1.30pm. Supporters and spectators will be welcome.