We were staying just out of town, up a hill from the Auchencairn road next to a wood from which tawny owls called at night and supposedly red kites patrolled. Alas I never had a certain view of one. The beef cattle on the farm surrounding looked to have had their calving season, while the bull responsible lived alone behind his electrified fence eyeing up any passing tourists.
Sadly the iconic belted galloway cattle of the area had been decimated by the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak, and were not numerous around the town. They seem to be commonest on rare breed farms now.
To walk to the pub at night involved a highly amusing trek down a steep and utterly unlit lane full of neck break potential. Luckily the owners of our cottage left a complentary key ring LED torch that was to prove utterly invaluable getting down, and then more particularly getting back up the hill after a few rums in the Masonic Arms.
This walk back was an eerie one with the call of the owls, and also the cries of buzzards, curlew, oystercatchers and peewits all to be heard, carrying for miles in the still air. The stars were unbelievable in this dark location, the milky way stretching horizon to horizon with the densest part, in Scutum, looking like a thick patch of cloud. The Andromeda galaxy filled the entire field of view in my 10x50s and was easily visible to the naked eye, and the Triangulum spiral was easy to see too.
The surrounding landscape was stunning. As you can see.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.10.15
|Sunset from the cottage|
|Across to the Gatehouse hills|
|The local bull|
|Sun sinking into the hills|
|Manxman bay in the Dee estuary|
|Ross Island, where a lighthouse keeper was murdered, beyond the estuary|
|Gatehouse hills again|
|The cottage complex|
|Kirkcudbright town, with Dee in background|