The story of how Dundream came to be is quite a romantic one – for those who don’t know tell us about it.
A couple spent their honeymoon staying in the one bedroomed cottage called “Honeymoon Cottage” in the 1950’s. Dundream was built on this previous site in 2011, which latterly had become a derelict cottage. The name Dundream is also romantic as it was named after an iron fort located in the North Rhins of Galloway 1849 OS map.
So as you marvelled at ‘honeymoon cottage’ as a little girl did you really think your dream would become a reality?
No my late husband, father and I imagined a house on this site but did not dare think this could actually happen until the farm was sold in 2010.
How long did it take to realise this dream? How did you find the process?
I started to think about it before I sold the farm and consulted with an architect to work with on key features of design and location of house relating to the orientation of the sun, moon and stars. I knew these positions so well having visited the site during various seasons and times of the day over the years. It was good not to rush the planning process and be open to ideas and change if necessary during the planning. As I was an organic farmer in the neighbouring farm and currently a homeopath I was interested in promoting Dundream as eco-friendly and integrating it with the beautiful natural landscape.
The site is exposed so planting trees was important for shelter and privacy in the future. A native country hedge was planted in lane and fence surrounding Dundream and the following trees: red oak, Japanese larch, silver birch, lime, hazle, sycamore, nordman fir, blue spruce, crab apple in organic meadow and as shelter against prevailing westerly winds.
The Japanese Garden was created within the original stone-wall and natural fuschia hedge that my great uncle planted. I planted shrubs, small trees and plants according to the bagua map and brought in the five elements in a design feature. It was designed to create an area for quiet contemplation and suitable for unassisted wheelchair access.
What do you enjoy most about running Dundream? And Least?
I enjoy preparing Dundream for guests and meeting as many of my guests as possible. Dundream has a lovely ambience and it’s a joy preparing it for new arrivals and having pride in its presentation in making it unique and welcoming. It has stunningly beautiful views but can be exposed in windy weather so having the wood-burning stove lit is essential in the winter for a toasty welcome.
The Dundream philosophy is all about creating balance and harmony in the environment to promote well-being and relaxation. How do you achieve this at Dundream and how does the house contribute to achieving this?
Dundream which, has been painted calming mellow heather, nestles against the majestic heather clad Glenapp hills, which is what you see first on driving up the private lane. On arriving at Dundream this view opens up to Loch Ryan and Isle of Man on a clear day and to the fore is the expansive area revealing Northern Ireland, Atlantic, Mull of Kintyre, Ailsa Craig and Arran.
The views and the décor are the art-work both inside and outside merging colours and natural materials and landscape which promotes balance and harmony in the environment. There is increasing evidence that green or natural environments are positive for physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Is this something that you try to incorporate into your own everyday life?
Yes health is linked to balance and harmony in the environment and individual and I try to incorporate this in to my daily routine paying attention to a wholesome balanced diet, regular exercise and mindfulness practice.
How many of your guests come to create balance and harmony for themselves?
I am amazed that guests read and like the Dundream narrative and atmosphere portrayed on website. They arrive with an air of curiosity and anticipation and at the end of their break despite the weather feel the benefit of the “Dundream experience”
In addition to holistic retreats, you also cater for more active holidays such as cycling, walking, and golfing and even gourmet experiences. Please tell us a little bit more about these and why they work so well at Dundream.
The Rhins of Galloway if perfect for cycling and walking with its unspoiled, stunning, rugged coastline and quiet country roads. The golf courses have stunning sea views and are challenging. Being a predominantly rural farming area, surrounded by coastline the area boasts fabulous seafood, beef, lamb, cheeses and whisky for gourmet lovers.
It’s nice to see that you’re carrying on the 1950’s tradition of catering for honeymooners. I bet there is quite a difference between the honeymoons of days gone by to those that you offer? Do you have any comparative tales?
Dundream caterers for honeymooners, who wish a romantic hideaway location, with the added attraction of the following: our inhouse caterer Maria providing a romantic meal for two and complimentary therapist Catherine with a relaxing massage or some reflexology.
You have been awarded Visit Scotland 5 star, Green Tourism Gold what does this mean?
It means that guests can be assured of a specific standard in terms of quality, cleanliness and service. I think Green Tourism is the future for tourism and having Green Gold is inspiring and an education for guests to hopefully if not doing so already think more about caring for the planet. Adults and children are encouraged to contribute to wildlife diary and switch off the lights and look at the stars! Sampling the delicious cool spring water obtained from a well that was built post war for a school that was never built is also unique for guests.
So down to the practicalities:
Transport:Car via A 77 or A 75 routes, Ferry from Belfast or Larne, Train from Glasgow to Stranraer route. Alternatively to driving from the south of England it is possible to take the train to Carlisle and then hire a car from Carlisle.
Do people need to book well in advance? Yes for high season school holidays and Christmas and New Year although there are a few dates still available. Low season short breaks (minimum stay 3 nights) can be accessed more late availability
Ideal for: couples wishing peace and quiet, family reunions and groups of friends
Approximate costs: Low season from £ 120 per night (min stay 3 nights) to £1400pw Christmas and New Year. Sleeps 8
t: 07517 373470