Following the first official day of spring a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had cracking weather in Dumfries and Galloway. We took the opportunity on Sunday to enjoy the sunny day to the max, we headed to Threave Castle just outside the charming Castle Douglas, which has to be one of my favourite places to visit in the area.
A traditional Scottish keep or tower house, it was built by fabulously named Archibald the Grim and is positioned on its own island surrounded by the River Dee and can only be reached by boat.
The children adore ringing the bell for the ‘custodian’ to give them a ride over the river to the island – it’s a real adventure. And I bet you didn’t know there’s crocodiles in the river – yes, really!
Luckily the custodian wasn’t working on Sunday, otherwise I think he might have been driven demented by all the bell ringing!
Last summer on one of the hottest days in July we visit Threave and we took the boat across and sat on the grass beside the castle and enjoyed a delicious picnic. We eventually retreated back across the river to the shade and walked along the path to the Osprey viewing platform where we were lucky enough to see the Ospreys and their young family. There was an extremely helpful and patient volunteer there to point the nest out and give us a running commentary on what the parents were doing when they left the nest from time to time and circled overhead. It’s a fascinating sight to see – one which I would thoroughly recommend for all ages.
Last Sunday we had a lovely circular walk round the wood and along the river and we past the Osprey viewing platform. I gather the rangers have moved the nest to a slightly lower tree, which offers a bit more shelter from the wind. Everyone is hoping the Ospreys will return again later this spring. You can see the latest news on the Ospreys at this blog.
Here’s an example of an Osprey nest, which you can see at the carpark – it’s absolutely fascinating:
I’m really looking forward to returning to Threave Castle after April 1 when it re-opens for the season – it’s an excellent day out for all the family