I remember going to Kirkudbright (pronounced kərˈkuːbriː/ kirr-koo-bree) with my parents over forty years ago, and it was a pleasure to revisit this little town in Dumfries and Galloway a few days ago.
I’m pretty sure that not much has changed in the past forty years, although Kirkudbright now styles itself as a town of artists – in the very broadest of senses, I imagine – and I was very much taken by this bed of roses.
My mother, who, incidentally, is also a fan of murder mysteries, told me that Dorothy Sayers wrote her novel, Five Red Herrings, while staying in the area, so this was very much on my mind. Although I’m not planning to set my next novel in Kirkudbright, I have come back feeling very much refreshed and with some new ideas for the plot, so the holiday has served its purpose!
Apart from the literary connection, Kirkudbright and the surrounding area is great for wildlife enthusiasts, and it is almost impossible to avoid seeing red kites. These magnificent birds were virtually extinct in the not too distant past, but now they have been successfully reintroduced, and there is a route marked where you stand an excellent chance of spotting them. Not quite so predictable is the local osprey family at Threave. We were lucky enough to see the female tucking into her fish lunch (herring??) but she had only returned to her nest on the morning of our visit after an absence of ten days, and the rest of the family was nowhere to be seen, presumably out fishing.