Today marks our second anniversary of being the tenants and caretakers of Rigg House, and therefore two years of running a Bed & Breakfast.  Two whole years!  If this were a wedding anniversary then it would be our cotton year so I will fittingly begin today’s celebrations by changing lots of cotton bedsheets!

It has been a truly great two years, but I think year 2 has been even better than the first.  The first year was incredible because it was the year that we made a dream come true by moving to Scotland, but this second year feels more like we really live here.  I think during most of the first year I was still kind of ‘recovering’ from a tough previous couple of years where I was living a life which wasn’t right for me; I was still in “this time last year…” mode a lot of the time, whereas now all the unhappy, tough times feel further in the past.

During the last 12 months I have had more opportunities to really explore the area in which I now live which is something I never really had time to do in my ‘old life’.  I love nothing more than reading about a remote place, plotting out a route and having a mini adventure to find it.  I think that, in some ways, I perhaps have more freedom than I have ever had at any other point in my life and it is pretty ace.  This whole part of Scotland that I have somehow found myself in is my One True Wonderland.

When we were looking for somewhere to live, we were prepared to move literally anywhere in Scotland; I initially favoured the idea of moving to The Isle of Lewis or Harris – which I perhaps would have done if I only had myself to consider, but we really weren’t fussy – as long as it wasn’t in a city or big town and as long as life wouldn’t be as expensive and exhausting as it was for us in Manchester then I knew things would be fine.  In the end we just opted for the first available opportunity that presented itself to us, which happened to be in Dumfries & Galloway.  And without a doubt, the most unexpected bonus of our move here is finding out just how incredible and varied D&G really is.  We truly had no idea.

In actuality, the really wonderful thing is that there is still so much of this county which we haven’t yet seen; in fact, we have only really explored a fraction of it – and mainly, because of B&B commitments, really just places within an hour of Kirkconnel/Sanquhar.  Although we have toured a little bit of the coast around Kirkcudbright and Sandyhills, much of the Dumfries & Galloway coastline is still an exciting mystery to us so I really hope we can find an opportunity to get to the west coast towns and beaches soon.  There lies a whole new wealth of places to explore and interesting stories to learn.

But for now I will continue with my adventures around Upper Nithsdale: the forests and their hidden lochs, the remote graves from long ago, the ruined castles and cottages and the secret beauty spots.  I will continue to make the most of the sunny days and the star-filled night skies until I have climbed every one of the hills and paddled in every burn within a 20-mile radius of home.  There are enough adventures here to last a lifetime and I will never stop feeling grateful for all that we now have on our front door step.

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