A fond farewell

The Buck

After 22 years of running The Buck Dorothy and Peter have sold the house and café. They would like to thank all their customers who supported them over the decades. It is a testament to Dorothy’s skill as a baker, soup maker and cake decorator that the business flourished with customers returning year after year. Her coffee was excellent and speciality teas delicious.

We wish them a happy retirement in their new home on the west coast.

The new owner will be opening The Buck at some point in the future and we’ll be sure to let you know when that is.

Play football with world champions

The winning team holding up the saltire

Straiton is having a picnic on 25 August and as part of the entertainment you can join in a Walking Football session. You’ll be in illustrious company as no less than three members of the team which won the International Over 65s Walking Football World Cup are from Straiton! You don’t even have to be over 65 to have a go, just turn up on the day and play with some world-class talent.

You can read the full story of the team’s success by clicking here.


See ‘our’ Scott on Countryfile

Scott Watson and Marguerita sitting on back of pick-up eating radishesScott Watson gave a polished performance on BBC’s Countryfile this Sunday. Scott, raised at Baing, a few miles up the glen where his father Geordie was shepherd, moved down south early in his career as a farm manager. The programme focussed on the radish crop and Scott was a natural on TV. Perhaps a new career beckons?

Click here to view the programme.

Saturday is Fun Day!


Straiton’s Fun Day and Hill Race starts at 1.30pm, Saturday 26 August. Come along to the play park early to see the runners set off for the Monument circuit, the winning time is usually well under 20 minutes!

Apart from the Hill Race there’ll be various stalls, the magician Fabulous Fraser, Cream Teas, Hurling Events, a Bouncy Castle, Beer Tent and Carousel. In addition there will be a Fancy Dress competition and the theme this year is Wonderful Wildlife.

A great day out in beautiful surroundings with something for everyone.

Get your boots on


Newton Stewart Walking Festival starts on 5 May for a week. Click here to view their website and to book a place. They range from easy peasy to pretty strenuous and it’s great way to explore a new area without getting lost as all the walks are led by experienced guides. The waterfall pictured is from walk 5-1, a strenuous walk of 13.5 miles around the Clachan of Dalry.
The trail explores the attractive Glenkens landscape around St. John’s Town of Dalry. It’s a new route which combines some attractions visited on previous WalkFests but also includes a host of new additions which makes it an interesting mix of changing landscape, history and natural elements. The walk is led by  Bob Peace, a member of Galloway Mountain Rescue and a local resident who will illustrate the walk with interesting facts, figures and myths!
A finish at the Clachan Inn rounds off the day, with an opportunity for a refreshment or two!

Walkers meet at Newton Stewart, about a 40 minute drive from Straiton, before being taken to the walk start and are returned there after an enjoyable and sociable day out in the countryside.

Whist in the Hall

Grab 3 friends, some sandwiches and cakes and come along to enjoy a fun evening at the McCandlish Hall this Saturday 4th March at 7.30pm. Tables cost £12 (for 4). The object is to win as many antique flags as possible, I think they still have Abyssinia and Southern Rhodesia!

Prizes for those with the most flags, and the least. Get a few tickets for more chances to win in one of Straiton’s famous raffles.

New volunteer for Straiton Stores

Smiling Sanjeev in Straiton Stores

Back behind the counter, Sanjeev in Straiton Stores

Actor, writer and broadcaster, Sanjeev Singh Kohli, was in Straiton recently undertaking research for a new Radio 4 programme which he will be presenting. The show will feature the village’s reaction to Mr Zhou Jing Liang buying Blairquhan Castle.

They discovered that reaction was all positive; Blairquhan was voted one of Britain’s best wedding venues and the new owners have expanded and improved on this foundation established by Sir Patrick and Lady Marguerite Hunter Blair. Their continued and growing success as a wedding and business venue brings benefits to the village, provides employment and support for local businesses. Thousands of visitors come to Blairquhan each year and discover the beautiful scenery, great walks and cycling, Straiton has to offer and plan their return visit.

Sanjeev as Navid in Still Game

Sanjeev as Navid in Still Game

Viewers of Still Game will know Sanjeev as Navid, the droll corner shop keeper in Glasgow. He is now taken on his first serious acting role in River City. Filming takes place a few months in advance and Sanjeev has had to learn several verses of Tam O’ Shanter; ever the professional Sanjeev learnt the whole poem, and proceeded to reel off lines in a perfect Burns dialect. He has also recently learnt Gaelic for a new BBC Alba documentary.

The radio programme will be broadcast in December, keep an eye out for future posts on this site over the coming weeks when we’ll let you know the title, date and time.

We’re proud to support the Biosphere

Biosphere VisionVisitStraiton has become a proud supporter of Scotland’s first Biosphere. The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere covers 5268 squares kilometres and is home to 95,000 people. It was given this status in recognition of its special natural qualities. The boundary embraces diverse countryside surrounding the Galloway Hills. The rivers radiating out from the hills provide water as a common theme connecting the cultural identity and natural environment with everyone living and working in the area.


The Biosphere has three goals:
Conservation: promoting the preservation of wildlife, habitats and landscape.
Learning: supporting a better understanding of nature and global issues.
Development: fostering a sustainable economy and society.

A Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Charter has been developed to identify the values and principles of the Biosphere. By signing up to these 6 simple principles organisations, communities and businesses can demonstrate their support as well as help to increase awareness and recognition of the Biosphere. The six principles are:

  • Help conserve the natural resources of the Biosphere
  • Support the economy to benefit people and nature
  • Promote cultural heritage and local products
  • Contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community
  • Develop knowledge, understanding and promote research
  • Raise awareness of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere

Man cannot live by bread alone, so we’ve also got croissants, rolls and pastries

Organic Brown Bread

There’s nothing better than freshly baked bread, toasted and buttered, or perhaps a croissant or even a danish pastry. Our local shop, Straiton Stores, now do a baking each morning. Hard to resist with the tempting smells wafting through the shop. More bakings are done through the day as required. If you’re staying in the village you can phone through an order for collection in the morning, the number is 01655 770293.

butter croissant

Currently the stores are baking organic white and brown loaves, french sticks, butter croissants, danish pastries, tiger bread, pain au chocolat, small baguettes, harvest grain baguettes and wheaten bread along with mini sausage rolls and small pasties. There’ll be seasonal treats such as mincemeat pies at Christmas as well as changes to the line up from time to time.


Danny doing his thing at the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre

Jumping from carriage to carriage

Industrial Revolutions, Directed by Stu Thomson

The utterly brilliant Danny Macaskill made Industrial Revolutions at nearby Waterside, home of the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre. Click here to view the video. The Centre is open for Steam Days on 28 June and every Sunday throughout July and August.

Apart from experiencing a journey in the brake car pulled by the steam train there’s a museum, shop and café. Only recently the group, all volunteers, have acquired more land and track. In the future they will be offering a 5 mile train journey towards Minnivey in a restored carriage.

The volunteers who run the show are a friendly and knowledgeable lot making a visit here a real pleasure. Even if you’re not into trains the history of this unique industrial heritage site is fascinating. Near the entrance is a large slag heap – complete with preservation order – but not before half of it was removed and used in the making of Ayr’s bypass!


It’s all happening over the next few days!

Galloway Wild Foods

Galloway Wild Foods will be showcasing the very best of Spring wild foods with short guided walks, cookery demos, tasters etc as part of this Food Festival.

We’re spoiled for choice for activities and events over the next few days: the Newton Stewart Walking Festival has started and continues until the 15th, see previous post below for more information. On Sunday 10th the Ballantrae Food and Drink Festival runs from 12 noon – 6pm, Kirsty Wark will be demonstrating her cooking skills, there are food and drink tastings, foraging tours, pop-up restaurants, live music and an array of quality local food and drink suppliers.

boswell-book-festivalThe Boswell Book Festival is being held at Dumfries House this year (8th – 10th May) and writers include Joanna Lumley, international best-selling author Jung Chang, Ian Rankin and Capt Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown. There are talks, performances, music and family fun day. Click here to visit the website for tickets and more information.

Over at the Dark Sky Observatory at Craigengillan there’s a Solar Night on the 7th, 7.30pm – 11pm and on the 15th Dr Iain Hannah will be giving a talk “How’s the Space Weather Today?” after the talk there’ll be tour and, if clear, guests will be shown the night sky through the main telescope. Later in the month is an Astrophotography workshop. To book any of these events click here.

Steaming Ahead

Steam Train

Just over the hill from Straiton is the Scottish Industrial Railway Centre at Dunaskin, Waterside. They’re getting fired up for the season and on Sunday 5th and Monday 6th April they will be welcoming visitors along to the first of their Steam Days.

sira-train-on-platformRun entirely by volunteers, Steam Days are a fun family day out, and offer a great opportunity for visitors to experience a ‘living museum’ where industrial steam and diesel locomotives can be seen working in an authentic setting.

Enjoy a Brake Van ride on a short section of the Dalmellington Iron Company’s main line, view the locomotives, visit the model railway and check out the photographic archives. Opening times are 11am – 4.30pm (last admission 4pm). Adults £5, children under 16 £3, under 3 Free, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £13.

They also have a shop, café and free parking for your convenience.

More information can be found on their website www.scottishindustrialrailwaycentre.org.uk/home
including dates throughout the summer when Steam Days will be held.

Spring Fair, 14th March 11 – 4


Now an established feature in the calendar this year’s Spring Fair promises to be something a bit special. There are many stallholders participating for the first time along with firm favourites. Tea and coffee will be served and entry is free.

Stalls include Woodcrafts, Silver and Handmade Jewellery, Candles, Handbags, Cheese and Chilli Jam, Spa Products, Whisky Tasters and much more!

Cycling the Ayrshire Alps


cyclist picThe latest issue of the Cyclist Magazine features an 8-page article on the joys of road cycling around the coast at Girvan and Turnberry, inland to Barr and into the Galloway Forest Park at Nic O Balloch. It’s a great piece, full of humour, interesting facts and super photos. You can read the full article in pdf format here

Mentioned in the article is the Ayrshire Alps, a group which aims to map and signpost all the routes in the hill roads of South Ayrshire and have created Scotland’s first Road Cycling Park. Their excellent and informative website, www.ayrshirealps.org is well worth a look. It has a piste map showing Black (difficult) routes through to Red (challenging), Blue (moderate) and Green (easy) along with villages to stop on route.