Friday, January 01, 2010

Doors Open Days Dumfries & Galloway 26th September 2009

On one weekend a year selected historic buildings in Scotland are open to the public free of charge. Some of these buildings are open to the public anyway, whilst others are rarely open and this is a good chance to see them. We challenged ourselves to view as many of these within easy reach, as we could in one weekend.We started at the far South West of Scotland with the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse dating back to 1828 & the newly opened Lighthouse Exhibition.

Inside the exhibition were displays and lots of dials, pistons etc

Next we climbed the lighthouse and what brilliant views!

The RSPB Visitor Centre viewed from the lighthouse.

The foghorn

Looking north with the car park in the distance

The turf covered Gallie Craig Tea Rooms are well hidden

Sunlight on the water

Great fun for kids!

From inside the lighthouse

The lighthouse tower is 26 metres tall. By the time we came out it was a beautiful day

We all got a certificate to say we had climbed the 115 steps to the top, my poor little legs!

The topograph and lighthouse

RSPB visitor centre, well worth a visit(closed in winter), come and chat to Paul and enjoy the Audio Visual presentation free of charge and the rest of this small but beautiful reserve.

View north towards the South Rhins from the reserve. A great place for wildlife with puffins and many other seabirds and heathland birds such as stonechats.

The Gallie Craig, the foods great and the view is spectacular!

Our next port of call was the Kirk Covenant or Old Parish Church of Kirkmaiden dating back o 1668. there cant be many churches in such a spectacular location.

A very simple church in a stunning location and well worth a visit on a lovely clear day.

Next stop Portpatrick and the RNLB Mary Irene Millar was on view

A longer drive next to The Machars and Monreith House. Built in 1798 and a fine Scottish Lairds House owned by the Maxwells of Monreith.
More recently the House was home to the acclaimed author Gavin Maxwell writer of 'Ring of Bright Water' amongst others.

These bagpipes belonged to Gavin Maxwell and we were told an interesting story about them being stolen and then recoved by the current Maxwell of the house.

The dining room

The front door, thats one hell of a doorbell (on the left)
The back of the house

An interesting house and still very much a family home.

Next stop Creetown and we stopped in Adamson Square to admire the beautiful granite globe sculpted by the renowned Japanese sculptor Hideo Furuta and one of his last pieces made before his death in 2007. Hideo made his home in Dumfries and Galloway where he lived and worked in a nearby quarry.

The globe, made in quarters stands near to the refurbished clock tower and links Creetowns involvement with granite and the sea.

The beautiful carved door of the clock tower.

The Stables Creetown was our next destination. A grade B listed steading converted from a ruin in the last 25 years. Featured in Green Building Magazine the renovation includes many sustainable and green features including solar water heating and sheeps wool insulation. Very much a modest, private home with character.

Skull in the garden

A colourful corner

Not on the Open Doors list but worth a visit nearby is Kirkmabreck church high on the hill above Creetown

The Creetown Heritage Museum was also on the list, unfortunately it was too late in the day to visit so will have to do that another day. End of day one of Open Doors!

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