Home | A Guide To Kippford

A Guide To Kippford

25 Oct 2018

The village of Scaur, as Kippford was previously known, is relatively small and tucked away. It lies about fifteen miles south-west of Dumfries. Nestled on a ledge between the forested slopes of Mark Hill, and the waters of the Urr estuary. The only road through it terminates at the southern end of the village. If you are unfamiliar with this charming spot you may be forgiven for wondering why you might want to use it as a holiday base. Hopefully, the following information will answer that question and have you packing your bags in anticipation.

Local History and Geography of Kippford

During the 1700s a small village named Scaur began to develop, with fishing as a main legal occupation, although smuggling was a way of life for most of the 18th century and many people did quite well from what was euphemistically called the ‘free trade’. By the 1800s it was a busy fishing village and the Victorian era also brought granite quarrying, a paper mill, and shipbuilding to Scaur.

In 1870 a post office was opened and, despite the village name, was called Kippford Post Office. Gradually the name of the village came into line with the name of its post office, although many locals, particularly the older ones, may appreciate the use of the old name.

If you’re looking for Kippford holiday ideas, however, here’s the big news. The Solway Yacht Club was founded here in 1900. Since then, Kippford has become a hub for sailing, and grown from a sleepy village of a couple of dozen thatched cottages to a thriving place with some of the highest property values in the region, earning it the nickname the Solway Riviera.

The road comes in from the north of the village, passing Craigknowes Golf Course on the right, and Kippford Holiday park on the left. There is car parking near the northern end of the village and it is best to park here, as the road ends at a cul-de-sac at the southern end. A footpath continues to the nearby village of Rockcliffe, past the Mote of Mark. The landward side of the village is dominated by Mark Hill, a heavily forested steep hill, which offers excellent walking, and views across the Solway Firth.

Things to do and places to Visit

There’s plenty to do in, or close to, Kippford. Holiday ideas here naturally kick off with sailing. If you have your own cruiser or dingy, the Solway yacht club offers temporary memberships which you can set up in advance of your trip. They also organise regattas throughout most of the year. About 20 miles to the north-west, ‘Galloway Activity Centre’ offers a vast range of activities, including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and powerboats on Loch Ken, as well as laser tag, archery, mountain biking, climbing and zip wires. There’s also the Greenhill fishery in Dalbeattie which has everything to keep anglers happy and even offers teaching sessions for beginners.

If you’re a keen golfer there is plenty for you to choose from. Craigieknowes is a picturesque, nine-hole, par-three course, and for those seeking a full eighteen holes, it is only a few minutes’ drives to Colvend golf club. Indeed, you are within half an hour of half a dozen more golf courses. Well, this is Scotland!

There are ample opportunities for walking, with breath-taking views, on a clear day you can see Cumbria across the Solway Firth, or if you prefer to see the views from horseback you will find several equestrian centres within a half hour drive. However, if you enjoy taking in the scenery on a drive there are plenty of glorious roads, and specific driving routes, including the Galloway Tourist Route, in the footsteps of Rabbie Burns, and if you fancy driving something a bit different, you could rent a Triumph Herald, Morris Minor, or VW Camper from Kippford classic car hire.

Some other ideas for holidays in Kippford include Dundrennan Abbey. It is a ruined 12th-century Cistercian abbey. Mary Queen of Scots came here after the battle of Langside, 1568, and passed through the Kipp estate. Which would later lend its name to the village. There are a considerable number of other abbeys and castles in the region. For those with a sweet tooth, the ‘Cocoabean Chocolate Factory’ at Twynholm is a must. Offering chocolate making workshops, indoor and outdoor play areas, a cafe and an exciting events calendar, it’s a great day out for both adults and children.

Right in the village, the beach is a nice place to relax. When the tide is out, you can walk across to Rough Island which is a bird sanctuary. It is closed at certain times for nesting, and you do have to keep an eye on the tide as you may get stuck there for twelve hours. If birdwatching takes your fancy, there is the RSBP centre at Mersehead and the red kite feeding station near Lauriston. This just touches on a few holiday ideas, leaving you plenty more adventures to discover and explore.

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