Wee Tam's Review
Being on the Rhins of Galloway is like being on an island – the light has a different quality to it, there is sea all around and different sides of the peninsula have quite different characteristics. While the dramatic cliffs of the west coast are often battered by the prevailing wind, the calmer east coast boasts stunning, sandy beaches and the North Atlantic Drift keeps the climate remarkably mild. All along the roadside we are delighted by the sight of self-seeded garden shrubs growing wild, an abundance of blossom and wild flowers and even occasional palm trees.
As the name suggests, Sandhead is a seaside village which fronts a sandy beach – at low tide the sands stretch out for miles, glistening in the sun and providing the best possible surface for an energetic Wee Tam to charge about, chase a ball and get his feet wet after our journey.
The Auld Schoolhouse, a smart, stone holiday house, is right on the seafront so when we’re not out and about, we can watch the tides turn and the skies change as we relax by the fire or eat in the dining room. Apple trees are in blossom in the lovely old beachside garden – this is a favourite place to sit and read or reflect, watching the waves knowing that Tam can potter about and have a good sniff without disappearing off. There’s plenty of room here for a family or two to holiday without feeling crowded, with a master/family room, a double and a twin and three bathrooms – all are beautifully kept and very comfortable.
The shop along the road has everything anyone could need for a holiday, including buckets and spades and next to the schoolhouse is a good tearoom. For dog friendly evening meals, we only have to walk a few yards along the seafront to the Tigh Na Mara Hotel which serves really excellent food in lovely surroundings and has a special early bird menu, ideal for families. Do be warned that it is very popular with locals as well as holiday makers though and book ahead if you can.
Highlights of our visit here are the many coastal walks and beaches, a visit to Kirkmadrine Chapel, a tiny kirk which houses a display of carved stones dating back to the fifth and twelfth centuries and the stunning display of rhododendrons and azaleas at Ardwell Gardens just three miles from Sandhead (yes - dogs are allowed in on a lead!).