This Easter had a holiday in Dumfries and Galloway. It was a big family together and we were based in a large house called Westerkirk Mains. The whole family was there, my parents, my brothers and their families and it was nice to catch up.
Westerkirk Mains is near a small town called Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway. It is a couple of hours drive from Newcastle. We had a scenic drive to get there, along the A69 towards Carlisle and then along more minor roads. When we found Langholm we followed the directions we had been sent along a twisting road beside woods. We found ourselves in isolated countryside with steep hills and only a few farms. There were lots of sheep and cows on the hills. As we rounded a corner a deer came running into the road in front of us. Luckily we able to stop in time and watched breathlessly as it crossed the road. It was only a small deer but it is the first time I have actually seen one when road signs warn about them. We also started to spot pheasant just standing at the side of the road. After what seemed a long drive we were nearly there. We passed a couple of farms, one of which had a sign warning about moose!
We found the turning into the house labelled with a small sign.The house had a small drive with ample parking for all our cars. We left the baggage in the car and went in to explore. Inside the house was a little bit like a maze, with lots of passages and rooms. Through the hall there is a small annex with a twin room downstairs. Upstairs there is a twin room, bathroom and double room. We took the double room upstairs which had a view of a field of sheep and the hills beyond.
Another door off the hall leads to the main part of the house via a small kitchen. There were a choice of routes. You could go through the main kitchen into the dining room and then into a small living room with a TV and board games. Alternatively you could go via the passage passing a downstairs bathroom and ironing room past the door to the small living room then into another hall which led upstairs. There were two more living rooms, one with the wi-fi router and a larger one with another TV. The house was filled with small welcoming touches like vases of tulips on the table.
Upstairs there were plenty of bedrooms, two double rooms, two twin rooms, two more bathrooms. There was also a room with a cot plus two fold over beds in the hall, there was more than enough room for us all. The rooms were a good size.
The Large Kitchen
After getting settled in we explored the gardens. The gardens are extensive and at the front is a trampoline surrounded by a carpet of snowdrops. There is a games room outside which contains a pool table and table tennis table. The kids had lots of fun in here with ongoing table tennis tournaments. At the back there are large gardens which lead down to the river Esk. If you wish you can go fishing here, but it was still a bit cold for that.
One thing you do notice about the area is the peace. In the city you are used to the constant noise of traffic and planes overhead but here there is very little traffic and few planes. At night the sky is black and you can see the stars with great clarity. The sound of bird song is prevalent and we spotted many different birds. The kids were able to run about without fear of traffic or strangers. The whole pace of lie slows down, there is no mobile phone signal, no shops nearby so you have to plan your shopping trips. If you run out of milk you can’t just pop out and get more.
Days were leisurely, we spent them sightseeing and just relaxing. Evening meals were late and the kids just had fun playing. We enjoyed the local wildlife, as it was Spring lambs and calves were prevalent.
We also encountered some more exotic wildlife
We had a lovely relaxing holiday which we really enjoyed. While we were there we also went on a number of day trips. We found the birthplace of Thomas Telford and also spent a fun day exploring Traquair House which is a gorgeous house with plenty of history and a maze.