Massive off-road cycling festival planned for Dumfries and Galloway in Autumn 2021

The “Raiders Gravel Galloway” event will be based in Gatehouse of Fleet and could attract hundreds of cyclists from across the globe, as well as many more spectators.

For further information see the Daily Record’s article – here

The event is the brain-child of Esther Tacke, from Galloway Cycling Holidays (who are terrific!!) and has Wheels of Fleet as the event’s designated charity.

Wheels of Fleet is the charity that Dane works as a part time bike mechanic. They salvage discarded bikes and components and do work on bikes for the local community free of charge, or just charging for parts.

This event will mean there will be lots of volunteering opportunities, there would be employment opportunities and it would bring people to the area.

It would encourage cycling in general, and local children can make use of the trails and routes which will be used for the event.

Hopefully The Stables will be full that week 🙂 Although, Dane is hopeful that Covid restrictions may enable hands-on bike maintenance workshops to be run by then.

More information will be posted as it becomes available

Wildlife Camera action

For Christmas, Fay bought me a wildlife camera. I’ve had a lot of fun with it since, and captured many many birds on our feeders. However, the night images are the most exciting. Look what we’ve got visiting the garden at night.

A braw day on The Merrick

Yesterday we took advantage of beautiful blue skies to head up ‘The Merrick’. It’s been nearly a year since I was up there and 18 months since Fay was. Fay has never been up when there has been snow, and I’ve only been up with snow when there has been zero visibility, so it was with great anticipation that we set out.

Glenwhan Gardens

During the lockdown easing and since the opening up of travel and other restrictions, we have visited all of the local gardens. Today, the last one, Glenwhan. Just a short distance along the A75 from The Stables, it’s very different. Small, but a bit of a chaotic layout meaning you can easily explore a smaller area but it seems much bigger. You can end up approaching the same point several times, all from difference angles, meaning you get surprised by where you are, and where you end up 🙂

Open water swimming

Fay decided to get out into deep water when we had a guest who liked a bit of open water swimming. I, however, declined the offer 😂. I’ve not taken my titanium shoulder into the swimming baths yet, so given I have no idea whether I can or cannot swim, thought it best to watch, and take photos .

Culzean Castle Gardens

And yesterday. . . a day out at Culzean Castle Gardens, and beach. Quite busy it was too. This is just over a hour’s drive from The Stables, along the very pretty and very windy A714 Girvan Road.


The other day Fay and I did a cycle/walk/cycle activity, up to RSPB Wood of Cree. We often don’t see much up there, but you hear the birds having a real chatter. They are so invisible when there’s leaves on the trees.

E Bike to the rescue

Sometimes, people are more inspiring than they themselves realise. This last week, we were visited by David and his friend and helper James. David is in his early 60s. He was a headmaster in Yorkshire but is now retired. He used to be involved in all sorts of sports and even used to participate in competitive fell-running.

In recent years he has been diagnosed with a neuropathy that slowly wastes the muscles below the knee. He has a specially adapted car and rides, as he can only do now, an E-Bike.

Whilst here he successfully completed the Big Country Route, a 35 mile cross-country route which is almost all on forest tracks. This is an amazing achievement. Even for an able-bodied person it is hard work.

Although challenging, the Big Country Route is spectacular, with jaw-dropping scenery and a quiet isolation that is only possible in areas like this. There are plenty of ups and downs.

Very well done David & James.

David on his E-Bike
James and the bikes