The invite to Scotland was to attend a celebration lunch with some good friends that we have known for many years. They live in Gatehouse-of-Fleet a small coastal town situated on the edge of a tidal estuary in the Scottish western lowlands.
A secluded garden oasis in the centre of town - Saturday morning and it seems as if time has stopped. There is hardly a soul to be seen and many of the shops are still shut.
We stayed at the 18th century Murray Arms Hotel. In 1793 Robbie Burns wrote 'Scots Wha Hae' in this building. The first panoramic photo was taken from the open skylight in the roof, our en suite. The clock points to 10.30am - the bunting is out, but it is still very peaceful and very quiet - what is everybody doing?
The celebration lunch was enjoyed at the Cally Palace once home to James Murray of Broughton, a grandson of the 5th earl of Galloway and of the 9th earl of Eglinton.
The marbled entrance hall
Something that we really enjoy about this area is the drama of the tidal estuary and the vistas created as the water retreats. The sea appears to vanish to the far distant horizon leaving behind wonderful swathes of grasses growing within the tidal margins of the sand. As the tide returns the incoming waters host many types of wading birds that gather along its edges, scavenging and turning over stones and shells searching for morsels to eat.
The grasses sturdily growing in the sandy tidal margins where they tolerate the sea washing in and out on every tide. We could see the paw marks of otters, and small hoof marks, maybe a deer.