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Today, Balkissock Lodge B&B was awarded a Certification Mark from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere “in recognition of high quality standards in delivering environmental and sustainable development benefits to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere

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The award ceremony was held at Culzean Castle and speakers included Dr Beth Taylor (Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO), John Thomson and Ed Forrest both of the GSA Biosphere and the awards were presented by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop who fondly remembers childhood holidays in Ballantrae and splashing about in the river Stinchar.

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Two other micro businesses were also awarded a certification mark today: Adventure Centre for Education (ACE) based in Girvan and Salad Brew based in Borgue in Dumfries and Galloway.

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After speaking to Dr Taylor, I understand that this accolade makes Balkissock Lodge not only the only B&B with a biosphere certification mark in Scotland but possibly in the whole world!

Cordelia Galley 2018 (c)

If you wish to check availability and book securely online direct with the owners please click here.

If you wish to find out more about Balkissock Lodge B&B please click here.

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Have you ever though about combining a stay at a B&B with learning a new skill … or perhaps you and some friends are looking for a relaxing crafting weekend break?

Visit the Silver Daisy page for more crafting options or browse the Stay & Craft theme but here I’m going to highlight one option:

Lampshade making

Lampshade workshop

Chose from a variety of fabrics* and make your own 20cm or 30cm diameter lampshade. The 20cm size is ideal for a bedside or table lamp and the 30 cm would be ideal for a larger table lamp or for the ceiling fitting.

lampshade workshop

If you stay locally and wish to attend crafting sessions with friends, please email me to discuss your dates, numbers and requirements. I’m also happy to arrange crafting sessions with afternoon tea for groups of 4 – 8 people (depending upon the craft) when I don’t have any B&B guests booked in.

crafting workshop

You can opt to do lampshade making as a single session or you could choose lampshade making as one of your options on the Mix ‘n’ Match weekend course.

Details about prices and how to book can be found on the Silver Daisy page.

*If you’d prefer to bring your own fabric so that you make a shade that better matches your decor then you are welcome to do so. You will need to bring a piece of fabric larger than the following minimum size:

20cm diameter lampshade: 645 mm x 220 mm

30cm diameter lampshade: 970 mm x 255 mm

lampshade workshop

Most fabrics can be used but be warned that heavy fabrics and those that fray easily are extremely difficult to work with, I use cotton and polycotton quilting fabrics in the workshops.

You may also be interested in sessions run by other crafters in the area who also make lampshades:

If you’d like to return to the Silver Daisy page, please click here.

If you’d like to check availability for accommodation and book securely online at the best prices available, please click here.

Cordelia 2018

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Balkissock Lodge B&B is currently going through the verification process to become the very first B&B with accredited status in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has been recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature.

The UNESCO Biosphere designation is recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that SW Scotland offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate in a sustainable way.

From the wilderness of the open hills to the Dark Skies of the Galloway Forest or windswept coastline, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has many places to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Biospheres [sic] geography of remote open moorland, serene lochs, quiet ancient oak woodlands, waterfalls and deep gorges and picturesque villages all contribute to its peaceful character, providing opportunities for contemplation and awe.

GSA Biosphere literature

There’s more detailed information on their website.

Balkissock Lodge B&B has been a proud supporter of the Biosphere charter for some time now and we are thrilled and delighted to be considered for certification.

Cordelia @BalkissockLodge

If you’d like to visit us why not find out more by clicking here or to book your 2018 holiday book online here.

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Christmas Present #2

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED AND HAS BEEN WON BY MRS GILMORE.

Another chance to win in the second of our festive giveaways ….

Would you like to stay for two nights B&B at Balkissock Lodge in 2018 completely free?

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Christmas present

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There are two easy ways to enter:

  1. Head over to Facebook, find and like the post “Christmas Present #2” then either tag the person you’d like to share the prize with or share the post with your friends so they can enter too.
  2. Email me and ask to be added to the new monthly e-newsletter (first edition will be Jan 2018) which will include news and information about promo codes exclusively for guests who book direct.

You could of course do both and double your chances of winning!!

T&Cs:

Entries will only be accepted via the two options outlined above.

The prize is two consecutive nights B&B for two people (sharing a double room) OR two consecutive nights for one person only.

No cash alternative is offered.

I’m happy for you to gift your prize however to avoid fraudulent claims the winner MUST book the accommodation.

Closing date for entries: 8pm on Friday 15th December 2017.

Name drawn from a ‘hat’: 9pm on Friday 15th December 2017.

Prize winner(s) must book before the 31st December 2017 and stay before 31st May 2018 (subject to availability).

Once booked, dates cannot be changed.

Additional nights can be added to the stay at the specified nightly rate (subject to availability).

Evening meals can be added at the specified rate.

This competition is not endorsed by WordPress, Facebook, Twitter nor anywhere else you may see this competition advertised.

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GOOD LUCK!!

Cordelia @ BalkissocklodgeB&B

 

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I’ve had the pleasure of attending Linda’s workshops and I can absolutely recommend them. Linda takes an absolute beginner and helps them to produce a simple item such as a felted flower. These are a few flowers that I made in one of her workshops. I embellished one and turned it into a brooch for a gift for a friend and used the others to make greetings cards.

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You can also take one of her felting landscape workshops in which she helps you to develop a beautiful landscape picture. This is the first one that I did which I later embellished on the sewing machine and added beads and hand embroidery too.

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Linda has a workshop on the Mull of Galloway (not far from the Lighthouse) and I recommend you stop by and view her work when you’re in the area.

You can find out more about Linda, her work and the workshops that she runs on her Facebook page. 

EIDT: Dec 2017. I arranged for Linda to do a felting session with myself and fellow members of Ballantrae Crafty Bees recently and I made this. I just love it and can’t wait to find the time to get onto the sewing machine to finish it off!

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Cordelia @ Balkissock Lodge (c) 2017

All rights reserved

 

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Guests often ask what there is to do in our local tiny village …

Ardstinchar Castle and War Memorial:

The castle is a ruin and is crumbling so please don’t be tempted to go for a closer look. It greets you on the hill as you approach Ballantrae from the south on the A77.  Turn right just after the bridge and park to get a better view.F

Ardstinchar Castle

The war memorial lies on a steep slope that is not accessible if you use a  wheelchair or have a pushchair.

Old Stinchar Bridge:

The castle dates from 1450 and the stone from the ruined castle was used to build the old bridge which is no longer safe to us but makes for great photo opportunities.

Old Stinchar Bridge

River Stinchar Path:

River Stinchar

The path follows the edge of the river for a few miles although I’ve personally only walked the first mile. There are places to sit and have a picnic although there are no seats. Please be careful … when I took these photos today the river level was very low and it will rise significantly after a storm/heavy rain.

The river contains salmon and trout and we’ve had quite a few fishermen staying with us over the past few years. You’ll need to buy a permit to fish so please do ask when you book and I’ll give you details of who to speak to about that.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the river path today. We met the staff and the pupils of the local Nursery class who were exploring the fauna and flora around the river

The bluebells were out in full bloom too.

Ballantrae Beach:

Despite the sun, we had the whole beach to ourselves today!

It’s a strange beach … some days we have sand … others we have pebbles … and other days we have a mile of kelp!!

kelp on the beach

Ayrshire Coastal Path:

The Ayrshire Coastal Path starts at Genapp Kirk about 10 miles south of Ballantrae. The route take brings you to the south end of the village and over the Stinchar via the A77 then turns left towards the shore.

Ballantrae Harbour

Follow the shore towards the harbour and then out of the village to the north.

You can buy copies of the Ayrshire Coadtal Path guidebook at the garden centre and I have copies for guests to use if they’re staying over.

Ayrshire Coastal Path Official Guide

Garden Centre and Cafe:

The garden centre itself is very easy to find. It’s on the A77 at the north end of the village. We eat there regularly and Maisy always has a peanut ball which she thoroughly recommends to everyone! It has a small children’s play area and some days in the summer they have a narrow gauge railway and train which chugs around the field. There is access to the Ayrshire Coastal Path direct from this field near where the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is held in June.

Ballantrae Food Festival

Although dogs cannot go into the cafe itself, they are dog friendly and there are bowls of water for the dogs.

You can order tea/coffee, light snacks, soup or full meals and it’s all very reasonably priced. There is also a freezer in the garden centre where you can get a range of ice cream lollies.

Old Cemetery and Kennedy Memorial:

Clan Kennedy are associated with Carrick and most especially with Culzean Castle which is about 30 miles north of Ballantrae. A walk around the old cemetery on a beautiful sunny day like today was an absolute pleasure and it was lovely to see how well-kept the area is.


There is another graveyard to the south of Ballantrae and others at Colmonell and Glenapp for anyone tracing ancestors.


I even spotted the graves of former Balkissock residents. Major Onslow’s name also appears on the War Memorial.

Ballantrae Public Gardens:

They’re probably the smallest public gardens anywhere in Scotland but they’re very well kept!

On a practical note, Ballantrae also has a garage where you can get fuel 24 hours a day (via a card machine), a small Scotmid supermarket that the lorry drivers use so it has, hot pies, cakes and a coffee machine and also a cash machine if you need it. For residents, it also boasts a bowling green and tennis courts … not bad for a small village!!

We also have a wonderful thrift shop BRICC. The charity itself looks after elderly and infirm in the community and is a fabulous treasure trove of the unusual.

So why not visit Ballantrae rather than just drive through it!!

Cordelia @ Balkissock Lodge B&B

2017 All rights reserved.

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I’ve been a committee member of the Ayrshire Bed & Breakfast Association for some time now and I was delighted to hear that our AGM this year was to be at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayr.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Our Chair Person has stepped down from the role and I was thrilled and delighted to be nominated and accepted as the new Chair Person for the group.

Ayrshire B&B Association

We are a group of 50 B&Bs located across Ayrshire and Arran that work collaboratively to promote the area. If you’re visiting, why not take a look at our website here and if you own a B&B in the area and would like to join please contact me for details. We enjoy our meetings at a variety of attractions throughout the region and we have always been highly appreciative of the hospitality shown to us. We recently had a wonderful afternoon tea at Glenapp Castle and are looking forward to what 2017 can bring!

 

Ayrshire B&B at Glenapp Castle

Guest speakers at our AGM included Craig Stewart owner of Freetobook, the online booking system that I, and many in the B&B industry use. His input regarding finance was generally agreed to be invaluable.

AB&BA also produce a Restaurant brochure that lists a variety of places to dine throughout the region. Addition to the brochure is limited and all eateries are personally recommended by AB&BA members and their guests.

Why not make your next holiday destination the beautiful rural South West of Scotland?

Cordelia

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