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Despite living just five miles from the south-eastern boundary of Galloway Forest Park, we’ve only seen the tiniest slither of this huge open space, namely Cally Woods. On Tuesday we rectified this by heading for the hills to take part in a Red Deer talk at the Red Deer Range near Clatteringshaws Loch. The talk was free and part of the Dumfries and Galloway Wild Spring festival. We saw seven red deer, mostly hinds but a couple of skittish young bucks were around too. At this time of year they are not very red and the stags were still in their winter feeding grounds. It was great to learn more about this native species and also about another deer we’re more familiar with – the roes we see in our garden and field!

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After walking back to the car past some lovely wood anenomes, we headed for Kirroughtree, only pausing to admire the mountain goats and for a quick walk to the Grey Mare’s Tail fountain. The kids loved having a scramble over the mossy banks and the fountain was sparkling in the spring sunshine.

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The new visitor centre at Kirroughtree was perfect for lunch and afterwards the kids spent a good hour in the play park before we headed home for a teatime barbecue. The first barbecue of the year is always a great event and although the wind was a little chilly, hovering by the flames or sitting on the freshly mown grass in the sun was perfect. After all that sunshine and gadding about, the kids were pretty tired but I think their favourite part of the day was actually just mucking about playing an elaborate Narnia-style game on the lawn!

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