Galloway: a different kind of romance
What could be more romantic than a ferry trip to a ruined castle, moody skies, and wooden swords? Not romantic in that sense – it was our anniversary this week but there were four of us on holiday. Think castles, imaginary dragons, wood stoves, nice wine and pub lunches.
We’ve just had probably our best family vacation yet, with decent weather and a lovely cottage one mile from Wigtown, Scotland’s book town. Pre-kids I’d have illustrated this post with artistic photos of the used books we brought home with us. Wigtown does live up to its reputation and had a lovely selection of bookstores full of lovely old books that I wanted aesthetically. Even with a £5 limit for each book I still managed some Roald Dahl for Duncan, and Angela Thirkell, Elizabeth Taylor, Roberston Davies, Sir Walter Scott (mainly for the gorgeousness of the book), and Winifred Holtby for me.
But even though I did come home with a lovely haul of books, the photos show some of the other highlights of the trip, like the two visits we made to the Cream O’ Galloway ice cream visitor centre (yes, it was that good that we went twice) and post-bath in front of the wood fire. It was a lovely slow week, with lots of time for playing board games in the cottage or riding bikes in the woods, and I feel like we caught up on some much needed family time without a list of things to do hanging over our heads.
In many ways this was the traditional ideal vacation and that’s where the romance of it comes from. Everything we did seemed to turn out lovely and we avoided lines, congestion, grumpy people, and rainy weather as if by magic. We spent time on the beach (in our winter jackets) visiting St. Ninian’s cave and stacking rocks in bright sunshine and visited the Whithorn trust where Christianity first came to Scotland. The mountain bike centre at Kirroughtree is on our list for a future vacation once the boys are big enough to bike with us (instead of us running behind), and a coffee while the kids played in the play park was brilliant. The whole area is suited for families, with kids catered for especially at the Cocoa Bean Company where the boys donned hats and aprons and became chocolatiers for the afternoon. This feels like bad copy from a tourist brochure, but really, it was lovely and exceeded all our expectations.