Well we have had an amazing few weeks of sunshine – at times it has been really warm, and we have tried to make the most of it (though I confess to doing a bit of antenna building as well!). It’s definitely been beach weather for me!

It was a glorious day for our mini Scandi Session, and it’s been more or less like that ever since. The day after was a swimming afternoon with Anne – at the beach instead of the usual Warrender pool. Yellowcraigs in East Lothian was fantastic.

Islands off North Berwick from Yellowcraigs beach

It was a gentle hillwalking day a couple of days later – just as well, because the heat was pretty well on! A glorious afternoon though, in Glenartney which I had looked at on the map and checked out with Google Maps satellite view – we wanted somewhere new to walk.

View from the Glenartney road

There’s a decent road part way up the glen, to where most of the houses are – though there are not very many. On the way it crosses some lovely streams.

From the bridge at Auchinner

Further up the road turns into a track – it’s possible to walk through to Callander if you arrange for transport at both ends. There’s a great view of the south end of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin, once you have trekked over the moor where there were quite a few clegs to chew on me!

Stuc a’ Chroin and Ben Vorlich

The track eventually nears the burn (Allt an Dubh Choirein) in the valley bottom which had a reasonable amount of water in it even after the recent dry period. Very cooling for hot feet!

Anne cooling her feet

It’s a really quiet glen, with superb views and lovely scenery.

View from the bridge where the track goes off to Callander

We spent some time at home as well, doing a bit in the garden, and making repairs to the outhouse, where the mineralised felt put on twenty or more years ago had begun to get holes in it! I have replaced it with stuff that is supposed to last at least fifteen years. After the gardening we sat out with a drink as a reward – in fact, we have sat outside in the evenings this year more times than we have in total over the last few years.

Marwyn with her well-deserved glass of wine (and my beer)

The garden is a lot tidier! 🙂

Our garden – which now contains “mature” shrubs and trees! A bit more lopping needs to be done in the autumn.

We headed off to the south west again after I had painted the outhouse (sorry no photos of that yet). The intention was to go to the Newton Stewart folk festival and get to a few sessions and concerts, but the weather was glorious so we also managed a nice walk and I got in a couple of short bike rides and swims.

Cold food instead of a barbecue, for a change

The weather was glorious most of the weekend, and after the festival we had a lovely trip to the Rhinns of Galloway on the Sunday. We went walking in Torrs Warren (where we have been before) which was amazingly quiet even on a Sunday afternoon.

I like quiet 🙂

At the end of the wood there is a view back towards Glenluce.

This is at the estuary between the Rhinns and the Machairs.

View towards the Machairs

After the walk I fancied a swim to cool off, so we headed to a favourite spot, Killantringan bay. There’s only a tiny car park near the lighthouse, which as I expected was pretty full, but we managed to get in and I headed off down to the beach. It’s just beautiful!

Killantringan beach looking north

It’s just a little walk down from the car park on to the beach over a few boulders, but once there it’s just lovely. For once a few more than half a dozen people were on the beach!

Looking south, parked cars and the tip of the lighthouse just visible

Yes, it was a bit windy, but that made it lovely and cool even in the hot sunshine. The water was just great – I could have stayed in for much longer.

John on the beach – no skinny dipping today!

The air was pretty clear and we had a great view of the ferry from Cairnryan to Northern island, with the Kintyre peninsula to the right. A lot of the Northern Ireland coast was visible further south.

Northern Ireland ferry

After the swim it was time for a quick visit to Portpatrick for an ice cream. It’s a beautiful little place, which gets a lot of tourists in season, including boats coming over from ireland.

Portpatrick harbour – lifeboat

A very picturesque place altogether! The northern Ireland boats used to sail from here before Stranraer was established as a more sheltered port.

Portpatrick inner harbour

On our last full day we had a little trip out to visit Threave Castle which I had seen before, but not visited, when I came to the area with my parents around 1975. To visit the castle you have to travel in a little boat, since it’s on an island.

Threave castle on its island in the Dee river

There’s even a bell to call for the boat.

To summon the boatman …

Here’s the boat unloading before going back to the island.

Threave Castle ferry boat

The castle is an impressive building from the outside, and the central keep dates from the fifteenth century; it was the stronghold of the Black Douglas clan.

Threave castle

The interior was a surprise – it has a fantastic huge vaulted ceiling over an enormous space. We couldn’t visit the upper level as Peregrine falcons were nesting!

Inside the castle

Altogether, most impressive, and a place we will take visitors in future.

From the kitchen floor

After the castle we had a wee trip to Kircudbright, then I managed another little bike ride in the evening. A great trip to the south west of Scotland.